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dianagt

HFGH Panel Failure and Fixes- Updates?

DianaT
13 years ago

Hi, I was wondering how everyone's panels and various fixes were panning out. I believe Lazerfan bought new 8mm panels and mudhouse was going to try the Top Secret coating stuff. Is there an update on either of these? Anyone?

I am in the middle of putting my 10x12 hfgh together and am worried about panel failure here in the south. I didn't realize they didn't hold up well until I googled it :(

Comments (50)

  • funnylady
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have 2-10X12 HFGH's put together back to back. One of them is 4yrs old and the other one is 3yrs old. Both are still in good condition, but need to be cleaned. I have been ill so somethings aren't getting done. There is alot of things on here to read. When I put my greenhouses together I put some this stuff on the polycarb, it's called Brillianize. I usuall do this once a year. I have shade cloth on it year round because, I grow orchids hanging from the roof. Had to put extra suport across the middle of the the greenhouses so the sides would not bow out from the weight. All of the orchids are in clay pots. But everything is still doing well. I want to add another greenhouse but don't want to take down a dogwood tree. If you have any questions e-mail me. cries@cfl.rr.com

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you for the reply, funnylady. I was getting really nervous about all of this after reading the stories of panel deterioration. I have the bottom part assembled and will start putting together the roof next weekend and then work on getting the emt conduit added for strength before weatherstripping and putting in the panels. I want to protect the panels from the outset and try to avoid deterioration if possible. Will try the Brillianize and shadecloth for sure.
    Thanks again!

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  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bumping...in case Mudhouse or Lazerfan should pop in. Really interested in hearing how their respective fixes turned out.

  • phebe_greenhouse
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We build a Harbor Freight greenhouse kit. I was forever chasing panels across the orchard in any sort of wind.

    So we gave up and hubby buiilt a real greenhouse, with pressure-treated lumber and greenhouse plastic bought locally. We were able to save the door and the windows from the kit.....

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Before you gave up on it, did you install extra clips, screw down the panels add emt for strength to the frame?

    I've bought 200 extra clips and enough emt brace all the way around plus across the middle. There will be at least two screws in each panel, more where I can. Hopefully that will keep me from chasing any panels down the highway.
    But if yours flew apart anyway after doing all of this, I might as well give it up because we do get winds from the occasional hurricane that comes ashore. Not often bad winds this far inland, but every 10 years or so it blows pretty hard if we are in the direct path.

  • mudhouse_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm sorry for the delay Dianat, I'm not able to check in here as often as I used to (or as often as I should!)

    I agree with your comments to Phebe Greenhouse regarding modifying the kit with extra clips, screws, and EMT bracing for strength. If we hadn't done those steps, I seriously doubt our greenhouse (yes, it's a real greenhouse, wink!) would have survived our strong New Mexico winds. 40-50 mph gusts are quite common here, unfortunately. I'm sure the panels would have blown out, and eventually the soft aluminum frame would have been damaged.

    Instead, I'm completing my third year of keeping it happily stuffed, 12 months a year, with hundreds of succulents. It has been a terrific way for me to find out if I'd enjoy having a greenhouse, without investing a lot of money (relative to other greenhouse kits.)

    Sorry to say, I never applied the Top Secret clear coating, due to some medical problems, and an extensive remodel of our house exterior. My sun-exposed panels have yellowed now to such an extent that I don't think there's any point in trying to coat them.

    About a month ago I finally discovered the start of small holes, about 1/8" to 1/4" in diameter, in the outside wall of some of my poly panels. They fit the description of what others have mentioned in this forum. These occur randomly across the panels, but not on panels that have been protected by shadecloth. I don't need shadecloth on my east end (love that morning sun) and a few of my south panels remain in place when I exchange the others for summertime screens. These panels have never had shadecloth protection, and they are the ones that have badly yellowed, and now have holes.

    My roof panels remain covered year round with 60% Aluminet shadecloth. I don't see any holes in the roof panels, so my conclusion is that shadecloth will indeed help protect the Harbor Freight polycarb panels against the premature deterioration that some of us have experienced. Note, I do say SOME of us, since some Harbor Freight owners in this forum have had their greenhouses longer than mine, and they don't report any problems with panel deterioration.

    The wall panels on my north side are completely protected from sun since they are only a few feet from my house, and I insulated the whole north wall with opaque foam insulation. Those panels look as clear-blue as the day I installed them. It's definately the sun exposure in my case that has caused the problem.

    I think (I hope) I'll be able to limp through the winter with some patches over the holes in my wall panels, since they don't go all the way through to the inside layer, to get me through till spring. Then I'll likely buy some new polycarb panels from a greenhouse supply (not Harbor Freight) and cut them to fit. It won't be cheap, good UV-protected polycarb is expensive (especially when you add the shipping.) But, I've gotten three years from my HF kit, and I'll still be money ahead over the more expensive kits. I remain a dogged fan of these kits...IF you consider them a starting point for your own creativity, and modify them for strength!

    My structure has never been tested by a hurricane, and I won't place a bet on that event. But, I will bet that your greenhouse will do well for quite a while with the modifications you describe. Best of luck!
    Sheri

    My blog (I'll try to update it soon with photos of my poly carb panel holes...hopefully!)
    Building our Harbor Freight 10x12 Greenhouse

  • mudhouse_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Funnylady, hello again and so sorry to hear you have been ill. My schedule is crazy too with a family member needing help, and I know all about things not getting done. You are still my hero for putting together two Harbor Freights end-to-end (I love what folks think of doing with these kits.) Hug those orchids for me.
    Sheri

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my post, Mudhouse! I know what it's like to be way too busy for forums.

    To be honest, I'm more worried right now about acorns popping holes in the panels. I didn't think about that when I started putting it together and now they've started dropping all over the place. Some branches are close to where I've put it and it won't be long before they're above it probably. If the panels get brittle they'd be peppered with holes from them.
    So...I saw some white shadecloth on a site somewhere and I think I'll get a piece and keep it stretched across the top of the gh and held down with bunjee cords in hopes it'll break the fall of acorns enough to keep them from putting holes in the polycarb. I can leave that in place all winter and then switch to dark shadecloth in the summer. Or maybe try the alumnet year round like you have. I think I may need something not quite as soft though because of the acorns.

    I'm going to try putting the Top Secret coating on and see how that helps keep it from yellowing as well. But I won't be able to do that until March/April most likely, due to a tight budget right now with the holidays coming up and not much time afterwards with tax season right around the corner.

    If we get winds hard enough to knock it down after the mods are done then I think I'd better worry more about my house blowing away ;-) Chances of those kinds of winds here are fairly slim though. The last big 'un that came this far inland was Hugo years ago and while it tore some stuff up a couple of towns east of us, we were lucky and didn't get much damage. 60 mph winds would probably be the max by the time it gets here and I have this frame screwed down to within an inch of it's life. Hopefully it will be enough.

    Now if Lazerfan would just pop in and let us know how he managed to put the thicker polycarb on his gh roof I'd be completely satisfied that I haven't wasted hard earned money :) Knowing that you have options for repair in the event of deterioration goes a long way imho.

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow, two hfgh end to end...now that's a mod I would love, LOL!
    If this one works out for me I may try that too.

  • mudhouse_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    For future inspiration, here is a link to Funnylady's past thread, with pics of her end-to-end HF 10x12 greenhouses:
    Two HFGH 10x12 Greenhouses Joined Together
    And, rosepedal also joined two of them together:
    We're Going Saturday!

    I don't think falling acorns will cause damage, unless the panels have deteriorated quite severely. And, maybe you'll be one of the lucky folks without deterioration problems. If the panels are so fragile that an acorn could hurt them, they will definately have reached the end of their useful life anyway, and a good hail storm would do a lot more damage than acorns.

    I found I couldn't keep plants in the GH without shadecloth anyway, even though most all my cacti/succulents are tough sunlovers. I'll bet you'll find the shadecloth on the roof is helpful for more than one reason. I'm not sure if acorns would get stuck in the soft weave of the Aluminet...guess I will have to throw some up there, to see if they stick? ;-) My only oak tree is too far away to be a good test lab for you!

    I'll probably look for 4mm poly again, when I go shopping, to avoid the roof panel problem that Laserfan discussed in other threads. That little channel up there at the roof peak does present a challenge for thicker poly panels. In our warm climate, 4mm seems to work fine, and it would at least save me the headache of dealing with that problem. At one time, Charlie's Greenhouse supply told me they could special order 4mm for me, although it wasn't a standard item. I haven't looked for quite a while, but I'm sure I can find a source.

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I wonder if 5mm Solexx would work. They have 3.5mm but I wouldn't want to go thinner. It has an 8 year warranty. You can get 60 ft rolls and 100 ft rolls of 4 ft wide material with free shipping here:

    http://www.advancegreenhouses.com/solexx_panels_and_rolls_from_adv.htm

    I think I will bookmark that site just in case.

    Well you've relieved my mind about the acorns. They are hitting the ground like crazy, whap! whap! whap! Like the squirrels are shooting them out of the trees with slingshots. I haven't unpacked my panels yet but 4mm sounded pretty thin and I was worried about it.

  • mudhouse_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We tend to think squirrels are evil, as they steal our pecans. I would not be surprised to find them carrying slingshots.

    Thank you for the link; I have been lazy about research. I just did a rough calculation, and if I replaced all my panels except for the 6 wall panels on the north wall (which seem to be fine) a 100 foot roll of 4' wide Solexx should do the job.

    I did some reading, and was surprised to find that the Solexx may be a better insulating material than polycarbonate, even in the thinner 3.5mm thickness. Here are some specifics I found. For R values (insulation value) the higher the better; for U values (heat loss measurement) the lower the better.

    3.5mm Solexx R value (insulation) = 2.10
    4mm polycarbonate R value (insulation) = 1.43

    3.5 Solexx U value (heat loss) = .48
    4mm polycarbonate (heat loss) = .70

    The Advanced Greenhouses site currently lists a 100 foot roll of 3.5mm Solexx at $707 including shipping and handling. For comparison, I figure I'd need to buy 14 sheets (4' by 8') of 4mm polycarbonate (again, not replacing my north wall.) That would currently cost me about $629 from Growers Supply, but that's without any shipping or crating fees. I've emailed them for a price quote including all fees (I'm bracing myself.)

    I prefer the clear color of polycarbonate to the "milky white" color of Solexx, but it might allow me to eliminate some of my shadecloth, since Solexx diffuses more light than clear polycarbonate.

    Stuff to ponder over the winter.

  • mudhouse_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I received a prompt and courteous reply from Growers Supply (Farmtek) regarding my total with shipping and crating fees for fourteen 4'x8' 4mm polycarbonate panels. For my address, the total would be about $800, for enough 4mm polycarb to replace all but my north wall. That's pretty comparable to the $707 total for the Solexx, so I'll have to do some thinking. This polycarb has a 10 year warranty.

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Yeah that's one to think on. Two more years warranty for an extra hundred bucks vs better R value with the solexx.

    I wonder if the warranties are prorated or full repacement?

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I just noticed that the Solexx website (www.solexx.com) states a 10 yr warranty. Wonder why the descrepency at Advanced Greenhouses as it's the same material?

  • mudhouse_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think the warranty for Solexx used to be 8 years, but has now increased to 10 years (according to one seller I emailed.) I've emailed Solexx for clarification.

    The 4mm polycarbonate sheets sold by Growers Supply (Farmtek) is Palram Sunlite, and that Limited 10 year warranty is here:
    PDF of Palram Sunlite polycarbonate 10 year warranty
    Looks like Palram will replace the product if a claim is approved in the first three years, and after three years they have the option of refunding, or offering a replacement purchase to the buyer at a prorated, reduced price.

    I'll post the details of the Solexx warranty here when I find it, in case it helps anyone facing a similar decision.

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    If they have the same amount of warranty time I think I'll save my pennies for the solexx. Mostly because the uv protection is integrated into the sheets instead of being applied to the outside...sounds like the better product.

  • mudhouse_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have to admit the Solexx looks pretty good, in spite of the white coloring I don't like as well (purely cosmetic fussiness on my part.)

    Solexx replied to me:
    "...We recently expanded our warranted from eight years to ten years. The new extended warranty went into effect September 1st, so dealers are just now getting their websites changed. They just received official notification last week. The good news is that the life expectancy is proving to be even longer. So far, we have not had any warranty issues for UV degradation."

    They also sent statistics citing an R factor and U value similar to triple-wall 8mm polycarbonate. We do have some winter nights in the teens each winter, so that's something to consider.

    Since Solexx is flexible and not rigid like polycarbonate, I might need to add more clips to each panel to make sure I get a good edge seal everywhere (depends on how wavy the stuff is when installed in the openings.)

    I remove four south wall panels each year and replace them with screens, so the more floppy Solexx might be a bit less convenient to handle and store than rigid poly panels. (Depends on how "floppy" the 3.5mm is.) For a short time each spring and fall, I take the solid panels in and out daily, when days are still warm but nights fall below 45°. I can remove or add the rigid poly panels in just a few minutes (back out the self-tapping screw and pop off the 10 clips.) But for most folks this wouldn't be a consideration.

    In any event, I appreciate your starting this thread, dianat, since it caused me to get busy and do the research I needed! If I do go with Solexx, I'll be sure to document any differences I find and post them to this group.

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    'k cool, I'll be keeping an eye out for any updates :)

    As far as storing the solexx, I think I'd just roll it right back up, put it in a bag and hang it somewhere in the storage building or garage.

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "They also sent statistics citing an R factor and U value similar to triple-wall 8mm polycarbonate."

    Is this for the 3.5mm or the 5mm?

    I have to agree about the color. I don't much like that either but it would probably be better for the plants in our blazing southern sun.

  • mudhouse_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The 3.5mm is apparently comparable to triple wall 8mm polycarbonate, here's a chart: R and U values compared

  • mudhouse_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The 3.5mm is apparently comparable to triple wall 8mm polycarbonate, here's a chart: R and U values compared

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't know why I didn't notice that chart before lol must've had tunnel vision looking at prices :)

    The 3.5mm would be quite sufficient then. Better numbers than the 8mm triple wall...I am *very* impressed.

  • laserfan
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Better late than never? No, I never installed my (what, 8mm) solar panels to our GH, but came back here cuz I'm fixin' to, although I haven't decided exactly how yet. The upper channel is the problem, and my latest idea is to grind-off the top of that upper channel, so the panel can fit against the top ridge, and then fabricate some sort of new peak flashing for the top, to protect of course the top edge of the 8mm panels given I'll have ground the protection away.

    Our existing roof panels are completely shot; full of holes, ridiculously brittle, and just plain awful.

    The only words of encouragement I can offer to you dianat is that I note that HF is advertising "UV protected" for their GH panels these days, so you can HOPE anyway that they are shipping better quality panels. Indeed, I might buy another GH at $549 (latest sale price I saw) just for the panels if someone here would confirm they are of high quality w/UV protection.

    Good luck w/your HFGH!

  • jlgarden53
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    One time, I went to a local business to pick up some plastic sheets for my project. This was the place where my sign company got their supplies from. At the place, I saw they had small pieces of sample size polycarbonate on display (single, double and triple wall). My guess is, if you can find out where your local sign companies buy their supplies, you can buy the polycarbonate penal there and save the shipping cost.

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi Lazerfan! Thank you for chiming in :) We're very interested in how your panel replacement turns out so please keep us posted...and include pics (pretty please lol)

    I am at the weatherstripping and installing panels stage. This has been a study in pain for me so far...mostly because I'm doing it alone on weekends and I'm a petite lady who can't reach ANYTHING. Plus stuff like not knowing what kind of drill bits to use (cobalt, ha!) and power tools scare the bejeesus out of me but I've sucked it up and done it anyway. All I can say is thank the lord for Mudhouse's blog and everyone's pics.

    Weather permitting, I'll finish the panel installation this wseekend and then concentrate on benches and shelves.

    I hope the panel quality has improved but I'm not counting on it. I actually bought this kit last summer and after waiting all this time for help decided to do it by myself. It's doable, if I can do it anyone can, but it is sloooow. (It took me an hour to figure out how to install the panel clips, no I am not kidding, lol)

    And thank you for the well wishes!

    jlgarden, that is something to keep in mind. I would never have thought to check anywhere other than a greenhouse supply company. Thank you for the suggestion!

  • laserfan
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hmmm I can't imagine how you can be taking more than a few hours to install the panels--any wind at all can blow the GH apart if panel integrity is gone!?

    Be careful when using panels from a sign company i.e. not (necessarily) made for a GH or outdoor use. They have *got to be* UV protected, preferably on both sides.

  • DianaT
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It's tape the panel ends, put the holes across the bottom tape, up the ladder, measure and cut the weatherstripping, oops forgot the scissors, down the ladder, get the scissors, up the ladder, find somewhere to put everything, get the frame weatherstripped, down the ladder, move the ladder outside the greenhouse frame, get the panel, up the ladder, put the panel in, put the clips in that I can reach from there, down the ladder, move the ladder inside and over so I can put the rest of the clips in, down the ladder, get the drill, screws, and neoprene washers, up the ladder, put a screw in the middle of the panel, etc, etc etc. Dropped this, forgot that, up and down the ladder a bazillion times per panel and it's a wonder I haven't snatched myself baldheaded in frustration LOL

    I'm doing the top first so there won't be much wind resistance until I can get to the sides. I'll do the two long sides before I do the ends for the same reason. Last weekend I got the doors put together and mounted, also the vent windows and just a couple of the roof panels done...but I was only able to work on it one day. This weekend I'll spend both days on it and most likely it'll take them both. If I can get the roof done (hardest part for me) the walls should go pretty quickly.

    I hope.

  • texazgal
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Came here also wondering how everyone's HFGH was holding up. Ours was put up right after Mudhouse's. We have had some nasty storms here in central TX during this time. Lost one of the roof vents to a gust(the bungree cord broke) and it went sailing, damaging the frame badly. It is now duck taped and looks ugly, but is on the backside away from the road. Recently, I went out and one of the doors had blown off, luckily it went back on ok. But the little holes on the roof are disturbing. Think it is from the several hailstorms we had. Hope we don't have to replace the panels, as DH & I are not young anymore.

    Dianat, hats off to you for doing this alone. We had 4 of us, for the roof part, and the 2 of us took a couple weeks to do the rest. Thank you Mudhouse, for your site on building it, it was a lifesaver at times. We did do all the bracing and screwing panels that was recommended, and it definitely helped in the windstorms.

  • buyorsell888
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My 6x 8 HFGH is either going on four years or five years old. Can't remember. I have no problems with my panels in Portland OR.

    I have had a few blow out in windstorms but DH put in a bunch of extra clips and none blew out last year.

  • knotbored
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My first blowout- one door blew 50' but remained solid except for a missing screw and roller (I found the roller but not the attaching screw.) I remounted the door temporarily but suprisingly it now slides just as well (or better) without that second roller.
    We have had several 60+mph gusts and a couple all-night winds and my reinforced GH held up just fine. The extra clips, added conduit, panels screwed to conduit with rubber washered screws, reinforcement over the door opening all worked better then expected.
    I had two vent opener failures (out of 6 I purchased) so I bought several spares for $20each-couldn't maintain temperatures without them- wouldn't build another GH without them, cheap insurance against baked veggies.

  • nativewines
    13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have been lurking and reading this thread for a couple of years and thought I would now take a few minutes and tell of my experience.
    At first I was nervous about the hfgh panels but decided to go ahead with them with some variation. If you look carefully at the prices for all of the triple wall, 6 and 8 mm panels you will notice that the price for two 4 mm 2x panels is less than one of the thicker triple wall panels and the r value for two double wall 4 mm panels is way better than any other panel!
    If you can't follow that math then here's another factor: the crating and shipping to central Utah where I am is as much as the panel itself unless you buy more panels.

    So, what I did was to buy twice as many 4 mm panels as I needed for the greenhouse and built a four layer wall up thinking that if the outer panels ever fail I could use the inner without having to replace or pay more freight.
    Built the greenhouse two years ago and haven't had a lick of trouble and in fact, regardless of several nights in the minus teens this winter and none above freezing, I haven't had to use the heater and this morning I picked seventeen tomatoes out of there.
    The critical factors I think are the four glazing layers and also the two foot thick stone south facing wall that keeps the place from getting too cold at night.
    I'll see if I can get a camera and post a pic or two.
    Bob

  • skyebleu
    12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Finally got the greenhouse up. I have spoken to a local plant grower here who brings in plants to sell from April to June. He told me not to put any shade cloth that has saran in it which is most shade cloth on polycarb or it will eat through it. He has 6 acres of greenhouses and some are the polycarb. Has anyone else heard of this? I am wondering if this is causing some of the panels getting ruined.

  • oakhill (zone 9A, Calif.)
    12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My greenhouse is covered most of the time with both polyethylene and polypropylene shade cloth panels, the most common materials. After 7 years of use, my non-hfgh polycarbonate panels show no negative effects.

  • tim_group
    12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I noticed on the Solexx site it said the R value for the material was with the flutes sealed with caulking. Is that what you are supposed to do when you install it? Wouldn't condensation form inside and be trapped in the panels?

  • mudhouse_gw
    12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    In my dry climate condensation/trapped moisture isn't a problem, but I don't know about wetter climates. Initially I used solid aluminum tape on the top of my Harbor Freight panels, and pierced aluminum tape on the bottom, based on recommendations from others. That didn't adhere well after years in our sun, so on my new HFGH panels I used 3M clear duct tape from Lowes, top and bottom, and sealed both ends completely.

    I just replaced my HFGH roof last weekend. After researching prices I caved and ordered more Harbor Freight panels, although I now know they will only last 3-4 years in my strong sun (even under 60% Aluminet shadecloth.) Price for 12 roof panels with shipping was only $135. No crating fee, they just shipped by Fedex Ground in a cardboard box for $12.99. They arrived in about a week in good condition. Price for enough Solexx to cut twelve roof panels would have been about $300 (including shipping.) Price for high quality (10 year warranty) 4mm twinwall polycarbonate would have been about $435 from FarmTek.

    I think Solexx is a great material from what I've read, but I figured the translucent white would also mess up my percentage of shadecloth I use on my roof...causing me to have to replace that to less than 60%, since the Solexx admits less light. That plus the difference in price pushed me back to the less than reliable (for me, anyway) Harbor Freight panels. (I basically just kicked the can down the road a ways.)

    I'll make a second order for replacement wall panels, most of the south and east walls needs to be replaced too, but they are not in as bad shape as my roof. The roof panels were very yellow and peppered with 1/4" size holes about every inch or two. The holes didn't pierce through to the inner layer of the twinwall yet, but I didn't want to risk total failure during the winter months.

    Maybe others will have better answers about your question regarding the potential for condensation; but I don't worry about that here.

  • PRO
    Nell Jean
    12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hail took out most of our 4-year old panels last spring. the panels were yellowed and brittle. The frame is in good shape. We ordered new panels for the whole structure. It took a long time to get the door panels, the rest came fairly quickly. Since we had everything else in place it made sense to replace them. All things considered, I'm satisified with replacing the panels every four years as compared to costs of other kits. We left off the tape this time.
    {{gwi:306299}}

  • lauriann2
    11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I just bought a HFGH, and was wondering if anyone had tried putting on the clear adhesive UV film before assembling the panels as was suggested in another thread? I was thinking this might be a good preventative measure.. Also, thank you to all the contributing members for the informative posts on how to improve the stability of the HFGH, I am so excited to get started!

  • mudhouse_gw
    11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hello lauriann2,
    I checked into UV blocking window films that are sold at our local box stores, made by Gila Film Products. Although the product description sounded promising, I emailed their support staff and asked about using it on our polycarbonate panels. They said the films absolutely cannot be adhered to any plastic product, including polycarbonate. They said the film would turn turn milky and bubble, and will become embedded into the poly surface itself.

    I don't know of anyone who has tested this. The company's answer was so certain I didn't try it either.

    To date, I don't have a solution I know will work. We replaced our roof panels one year ago. I ordered more panels from Harbor Freight; I swore I would not, since I now know that the roof panels will only last (3 plus) years in my sunny New Mexico climate. However, the price difference between the Harbor Freight panels and other (truly UV protected) polycarbonate panels was so great that I decided to just order Harbor Freight again.

    I did coat my new roof panels with a clear coating that I purchased from Top Secret Coatings (TS-100 One Part Epoxy Marine Coating.) My roof panels are always under Aluminet shadecloth as well, so unfortunately I think it's too early to tell if this product is truly helpful. I did also apply this same Top Secret product on one-half of a scrap I had left over from installing our exhaust fan, and that scrap has been exposed to full sun for one year now. The uncoated half has developed one small pin hole, and looks a tiny bit more cloudy. The treated side still looks clear with no holes, so I am starting to be a little optimistic that the coating has helped.

    However, I stop short of making a recommendation, simply because I really don't know yet. The frustrating thing is that it takes time for these panels to show problems (among those of us who experience the early failure.) So, tests take a long time too.

    The product was about $100 per gallon (I bought one gallon.) It doesn't seem to have hurt anything; no obvious yellowing or hazing from applying it with a roller. I'll post back next year (and update my blog) when I have more of a definite opinion on the product.

    Perhaps you live in a climate that will help you avoid or delay this frustration...people's experiences seem to vary. Maybe you'll have more luck than some of us!

    My blog: Building our Harbor Freight greenhouse

  • mudhouse_gw
    11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Howdy back at you John. Nice blog!

  • Textea
    11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Mudhouse, I have been reading your blog and I think all your post here for over a year. Thank you for all the info. you have posted. I live about 70 miles down the dry stream from you in El Paso County below the city. I have been debating for at least 3 years about getting on of these HFGH. Just will have to wait till Holidays and first of year pass (TAXES) and see how far the dollar goes. Once more thanks for all the input you all have added here.

  • mudhouse_gw
    11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hello Textea, nice to hear from a neighbor (sorry I didn't find your post sooner.) I hope you'll post back here and keep us posted with your progress. "Dry stream" is right (please send rain, we never have enough.)

  • funnylady
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I still think this is a good green house if you take the time to do the add ons. I loved it with the two greenhouse together and went and added the 3rd one to it. Love the 10X36 size of it. Can't add on anymore no more room. Hubby says no mater how much room I had I would want more. He is probably right.

  • treed1304
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just purchased a 10 X 12. Tried to order on-line and they are out of stock till August! Found one in Mpls. Waiting for the weather to dry up enough to allow building the foundation. Mudhouse, thank you for your excellent blog- very informative. Nativewines, I am curious if you were able to double up the panels on the roof? The Mudhouse blog indicates thicker panels will not fit into the roof peak channel.

    FYI, they have changed the item number for this unit for new orders per their phone support. The store in Mpls where I found one had one of each so I took the newer model. Hope there have been improvements. Old # = 93358. New # = 69893.

  • mudhouse_gw
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hello treed1304, I would have chosen the newer kit too. It will be interesting to see if you notice any changes, compared to info posted online, or in your manual.

    "Waiting for the weather to dry up" sounds great to me. Such a drought here I am considering changing my name to dusthouse...

    Good luck with your build!

  • BearBryant
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm preparing to build my HFGH (foundation of railroad ties is done), and wondering if anyone has tried coating their poly panels with the Krylon UV-Resistant Spray. I think I will sporay a few panels just for comparison. Definitely planning to do the structural mods recommeded her - plus some additional vertical supports so I can build my NTF hydraponics along with my aquaponic grow beds.

  • mudhouse_gw
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hello BearBryant (Roll Tide!)
    I haven't come across anyone yet with reports of how the Krylon spray product might work. I met one person who planned to use it over a year ago, but when I contacted him for an update, he said his build had been delayed.

    Since this thread, another HFGH owner posted to the thread linked below. Rtyu said he'd applied the Top Secret TS-100 coating mentoned above, three years ago, and was still very pleased to see no deterioration. You will find his posts close to the end of this thread:
    HFGH Polycarbonate Panels Failing, Part 2

    Between the two products, I'd probably bank more on the Top Secret coating, because it's roller applied, and that will likely allow a thicker and more consistent protective coating than the Krylon spray product. Just a guess on my part, though.

  • Lisa Mongeau
    7 years ago

    hello I am looking for HFGH extra parts if there is anyone that ihas one blow away id like to get the panels and hard were in Michigan

  • PRO
    Nell Jean
    7 years ago

    You can go on the Harbor Freight web site and find a parts list. Once you have the part numbers, you can call Harbor Freight and order the parts you need. It may take a while, but they are available. We've successfully replaced parts.

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