Gear Review - Building a Greenhouse, a Vitavia "Zeus 2" #8100

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I have purchased a greenhouse which I will erect.  It is called Vitavia "Zeus 2", Model 8100, manufactured by E.P.H. Schmidt u. Co. GmbH (, available from a home improvement store in my area.  I'll post pictures from time to time to show my progress. 


It was delivered to my home, 4 boxes on a single pallet that was too small for the boxes.  Upon receipt, I immediately performed an inventory of all the parts according to the Parts List and the Parts Substitutes List.  This greenhouse has many many individual parts, and it seems that it will be a rather complicated assembly.  We shall see.


There were some pieces damaged as a result of a forklift accident related to the pallet being too small; the manufacturer did provide replacements upon request.


I decided to pour a concrete foundation instead of using the optional steel frame foundation.  In the first week of August, I dug out the area for the foundation and built the form for the pour.  Mannn, was that hot work.  Heat wave combined with sun-baked dried-out soil containing thousands of round river rocks makes for some difficult digging.  But it is done.


The concrete will be 150mm wide and 200 to 250 mm deep, including the gravel bed.









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Using scrap pieces of wood, scrap pieces of plastic sheeting and styrofoam, I closed the gap to the ground for the inside and outside surfaces of the form to prevent the liquid concrete from escaping during the pour.  This will reduce the amount of concrete waste.


I installed 32 pieces of re-bar creating 4 continuous rings of steel running through the form.


I also placed a 20mm plastic conduit for a later-to-be-installed power cable.  I plan to have power available for optional lighting and water-flow controls.


The red object under the form is a piece of piping insulation through which I shall later run a freeze-proof, flexible waterpipe.  I plan to additionally protect the waterpipe with a pipe heater wrapped around the pipe in a spiral fashion, to be seen later.







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Yesterday, I purchased 8 buckets (136 Liters) of unwashed crush-n-run gravel from a nearby gravel dealer, poured it in up to the level of the lower re-bar ring.  I then leveled it out by hand and tamped the gravel down using a stick so that the lower re-bar will be suspended slightly above the gravel, therefore fully in contact with the concrete during the pour.




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After the concrete is poured and cured, I will want to remove the wooden form.  Removal of the form is easiest performed if one can first remove all the screws that hold the form together.  Experience has shown me that during such a concrete pour, concrete gets all over everything, including the heads of the screws on the outside of the form, making it virtually impossible to remove them.  To prevent the concrete getting into the heads of the screws, I oiled the heads of the screws and covered them with duct tape.


The big white boards shall be used as a pseudo-runway for the concrete mixer.  The stones placed in the middle help to support the boards at a slight angle so that concrete spilled on the board can easily be shoved into the form without excessive waste of concrete material falling directly into the inner soil.








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Saturday was a good day to pour.  Temperatures were milder and sky was partly cloudy. 


Each time the mixer was moved to a new position, to prevent a major accident (the mixer falling into the form), I installed a screw to hold the forward foot in place and another screw to prevent the wheel from falling over the edge of the white board.  Each time I covered the head of the screw with duct tape to prevent concrete splashing onto- and fouling the head of the screw, so that the screw can be easily removed.


It's really good to have good help when pouring concrete.






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To ensure a stronger foundation, we used a concrete vibrator.  (Not vibrating would result in a weaker foundation with air pockets that would be visible after the removal of the wooden form.)


Vibrating the concrete while it is still fluid/plastic helps the concrete to find more of the hard-to-reach air pockets under the loweredge of the wooden form.  It also helps the concrete to fill-in deeper into the gravel on the bottom of the form area and to fill-in more completely against the inner surface of the wooden form producing a better look of the surface of the foundation.    The Aggregate(solids) become more compacted, and air bubbles and excessive water are forced upwards and out of the concrete.  This causes the concrete to slump further downward, meaning that we must often transport an extra bucket or two of concrete to re-fill areas that have been compacted.


After the form is completely filled, vibrated and re-filled, using a straight piece of wood, the concrete was screeded to create a reasonably flat surface. 

There, finished after 3 hours of mixing, pouring, vibrating and screeding.  Now just a bit of cleaning the Tools and Yard, and waiting a couple days for the concrete to cure. 

Before sundown, the top surface was already hardened.  It rained later that night and the entire next day, but luckily it was already hardened enough that no damage occurred.







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The screws were removed with no trouble and the outer wooden form is now removed.  I donated the waste concrete and excessive rocks to a local farmer for use on his wet tractor trails. 


My assistant did a great job with the vibrator; the concrete is compact and looks very good; one sees very few bubbles and can even see the grain of the wood in the surface of the concrete.  I shall remove the inner wooden forms today, then I will have access to the power cable pipe.








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It might not look like it, but a lot of hard work is occurring in the background without pictures.


I am sieving Kilos and Kilos of rocks and clay out of all of the soil, one wheelbarrow after another, alternatively mixing excellent compost into the refined soil.  All that while I wait on some wooden glue-lam beams to be fabricated for me.


Finally the beams are completed.  Now I have to cut them as exactly as I can to fit the outer dimensions of the concrete.  They will be affixed to the concrete foundation using 12 of these bolts, washers and nuts, and a 2-part concrete epoxy.


The wood will be counter-bored and through-bored, and the concrete will be bored according to the Diagramm.  


To even-out any uneven spots in the concrete surface and to insulate between the wood and the concrete, I have installed sheets of construction foam onto the concrete before installing the wooden beams.  Here are some Pictures to follow. 


This is my pet sabre-tooth long-hair panther, named Meekesh.  If you rub his belly nicely, he will happily sink his long teeth deep into your arm.  If you touch your nose to his (one of his favorite games), he will make it easier for you to breathe.













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I used a construction Silicone to fill the gaps between the beams.


Looking closely one can see construction foam against the wooden beam followed by a first layer of Vinyl siding on the inside of the beams.  These were installed as fillers to even-out variations in the surface of the concrete in preparation for the next layer of Vinyl which reaches 30cm deep (the approximate depth of the concrete foundation).


Corner pieces were also installed, and then the second layer of Vinyl on the inside. 


The inside Vinyl installation is now finished, then of course I covered the outside with Vinyl, also 30cm deep.


Each piece of Vinyl is held in place with screws installed at such a height that they will eventually be covered by the metal flashing.


I used construction glue to affix a layer of 5mm thick 8,5cm wide construction foam on top of the beams.  The metal flashing will be glued onto this construction foam in upcoming steps.  I forgot to take any pictures of the foam in place on top of the beams, but one can see a little of the foam in the last picture.  As you can see, I am thinking about my friends while I work...

















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hey Bud, I'm a bit confused. What kind of floor will that greenhouse have. Will it be a soil bed or a proper floor?

EDIT: Sorry i see now it will be a concrete floor.
Looks well built mate, im sure it will be the envy of many garden ladies and home fixers in the area ;)=


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No No, Mate.  It will be a soil bed.  I might put in some stone squares to provide a walking surface, but not a concrete floor.

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Rain, rain, rain, rain.  Rain delays...


But finally I had a break in the weather.  I cut, bent and glued-down the inner set of flashing on top of the 5mm thick foam.  I'll let the adhesive cure overnight and I plan to glue the outer set of flashing directly onto the inner flashing tomorrow using a silicone sealant.






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Now I am installing the outer aluminum flashing.  It is glued down using clear construction silicone.  One has to work very exactly in order to make the cuts and bends work out for an attractive result, as well as ensuring that rain and condense water won't be able to leak under or between the layers of flashing to get to the wooden beams.


I set the bricks on top of the flashing to hold the two layers tightly together while the silicone cures.  I ended up setting many more bricks on the flashing as is seen in these pictures.  That turned out to be a wise choice.


That wonderful cat is named Pogo, so-named because he reminds me of the Opossum character in the American newspaper syndicated cartoon of the same name.  Pogo is THE Dominant Cat of our Menagerie.


The next step will be the installation of aluminum rivets to hold the aluminum corners steady and fixed against the possibility of being kicked- or knocked out of position by the lawn mower.






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You make me curious, how much does this project cost?




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It burns a big hole...


If you really want to know, I'll need a little time to compile a list, and then send it to you via PM.

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It burns a big hole...


If you really want to know, I'll need a little time to compile a list, and then send it to you via PM.

Yes amigo i would love to know and if you add that list as well i could compare and see how much it would cost in Sweden. I'm in the need for a good grow house for my veggies and i got plenty of space to build.

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Installing rivets to strengthen the corners of the aluminum foundation cover.  Later the gaps will be filled with aluminum-colored Silicone sealant.


All four corners done.  Stones removed and the surface of the aluminum wiped free of dirt and cat paw-prints. 


Finally, I can begin the actual assembly of the growhouse.







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Here is the next diagram for the assembly.  But before I begin, I had to take care of a problem.  Actually, I had discovered this problem about 2 months ago, and I designed and fabricated the improvement back then.


Look closely at the diagram.  The kit comes with only 4 mounting angles.  One can see them in the circled area labelled 1.2 in the overview, also in Figures 1.2, 1.3, 1.4.  These mounting angles function also to hold together the two pieces of the bottom frame, and therefore can be located only in the center of each wall.  That means that there is nothing except the weight of the house holding down the corners of the house.  Not enough security against wind, in my opinion.  I couldn't imagine that that would pass any building inspection, and I certainly don't want to take a chance with one day after a storm, finding my growhouse smashed into a neighbor's house or car.  I wished to install 2 more mounting angles for each wall.


I visited the home improvement center where I had purchased this kit to ask if they would order for me 10 extra sets of mounting angle hardware ("Why 10?", you may ask.  At that time, I had been considering building a different design of foundation, which would have forced me to cut the bottom frame away in the area of the door, thus the count would be 10 extra sets.)  


OK, (10 angle pieces#7095, 10 nut-plates#7061, and 40 screws#7080).  They called and got prices.  All told, the manufacturer wanted approximately 75€ for the requested parts.  "OK, please order them."  To my horror, the home improvement center wanted me to pay them ~258 € !  That's a 350% mark-up!!!!  I rejected their offer and told them that I would fabricate my own mounting angles; additionally as a result of their insult, I informed the sales lady that it was my intention never again to buy any major system from them again.  (This was not the first time that they had utterly disappointed me.)     (15-2-9)


So, Picture 2 is of the original mounting angle from the manufacturer. 


I cannot seem to get the Strain Hunters' Editor to display my pictures in the right order, so I will have to continue the pictures in the next reply.



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Picture 3 shows the four original mounting angles at the center-point of each wall's bottom frame-piece.


I was able to purchase the necessary hardware for around 30€. (Alu-angle stock, Stainless Steel Pan-head Phillips M6 x 10mm, SS-washers, SS-M6 nuts which happen to fit perfectly the width of the groove where the manufacturer's nut-plate would have been.  Because the M6 nuts presented a smaller surface-area against the inner surface of the groove and they were a bit thinner in height than the nut-plate, I decided to also cut pieces from a roll of metal hole-band to fill the gap a bit and also to help to present a larger surface-area against the inner surface of the groove, for stability.)  Thankfully, I decided on the current configuration; my engineered solution works wonderfully and is even quite a bit cheaper than if I had been able to buy the hardware, even directly from the manufacturer.


Pictures 4 and beyond show my modification of the hole-band to make it fit the screws and the groove.  The hole-band, therefore, determined the distance between the holes of the Alu-angle.  It works fine as can be seen in the last pictures.  Because I have decided not to cut away the frame at the door opening, I only needed to fabricate 8 sets.

(By the way, I now understand the problem with the Editor.  The Strain Hunters Editor doesn't work well with Internet Explorer.  It seems to function better with Mozilla Firefox.)







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Picture 1 in this post shows the end of the profile for the bottom railing of the frame.  The manufacturer did not provide any means of sealing the gap underneath the rail, but I noticed that the 5mm construction foam fits nicely there. 


Picture 2 shows that the foam is just slightly thicker than the height of the gap, but not too thick...


Picture 3, I am cutting the foam exactly in half (also a coincidence that it is exactly twice the width of the gap; just can't believe my luck...).


OK, all 4 pieces are cut.  Now glueing them in place in the gaps of each rail.


Foam insulators are installed.


The assembly continues on page 2...










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The corner pieces are a hollow black plastic (I really hope that they are also UV resistant.  Oh well, can't stop now.)


Each corner piece is open to the hollow on one side, but closed in the other direction.  That means that the foam can run into the hollow on the open side, but that the foam must be cut flush with the end of the aluminum on the closed side, thus providing no air-tight seal under the corner piece.  In these pics I have cut the foam accordingly.  After the full weight of the growhouse is on the rails and corners and the growhouse is tweeked to its final resting place, I shall seal the rails and corner pieces to the aluminum flashing using an aluminum-colored sealant.


I used packaging tape to ruggedize the corner pieces in place until the assembly can be fastened securely together using the corner upright railings and the appropriate nuts and bolts.


The last picture here shows the sill bars and corner posts completed according to the diagram.









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Next Step, diagram:  Middle Bars and Eave Angles


Things are moving along rapidly now.


The manufacturers instructions are very well written.  I have not made photos of all the instructions.  The instructions says that this step will require 2 to 3 people to assemble, but I had no trouble alone.


OK, this step is done.


I began the next step - Installation of more Middle Bars and Eave Braces and Diagonal Braces, but it became too dark to continue or even to take pictures, so I plan to continue the next day.


When the next day started, it was raining.  Another delay...



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By the way, Tokage and Hary420,

I appreciate your interest in my project.

Thank you.

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OK, late this afternoon, the rain let up, so I got back at it.


Next step, diagram: more Middle Bars, Diagonal Bars and Eave-Angle Braces


Got 'er dunn...


Started working on the next step (assembling Ridge Bars), but it got too dark again.  I'll continue sometime tomorrow or in this week.  Gotta go to work tomorrow.










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Strain Hunters is a series of documentaries aimed at informing the general public about the quest for the preservation of the cannabis plant in the form of particularly vulnerable landraces originating in the poorest areas of the planet.

Cannabis, one of the most ancient plants known to man, used in every civilisation all over the world for medicinal and recreational purposes, is facing a very real threat of extinction. One day these plants could be helpful in developing better medications for the sick and the suffering. We feel it is our duty to preserve as many cannabis landraces in our genetic database, and by breeding them into other well-studied medicinal strains for the sole purpose of scientific research.

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