Over 90 percent of all questions we receive are answered here, so odds are yours will be too.
Heater, Anchor, Hookups
No, it doesn't come with a heater and yes, you will need a heater anytime the weather drops below freezing. The greenhouse catches a lot of heat in the daytime – 30-50 degrees over the outside temperature, if the sun is out – but gradually loses it over the night. Exactly how fast that happens depends on a lot of factors, like wind exposure and speed, ground temperature, and just how cold it is outside.
For most of our greenhouses, a small 1500 watt electric heater is plenty on all but the coldest nights. Any electric heater will do, but one that comes highly recommended from my customers is Heat Storm, available through this link: Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX-WIFI Infrared Heater. It has wifi capability and remote thermostat controls. Regardless of which heater you choose, we recommend a separate floor fan to help circulate the air inside the greenhouse to make sure the heat gets to all the cold corners – any fan will do. (Not the exhaust fan that comes with the greenhouse, of course)
We also recommend a separate wireless thermometer, such as this one SensorPush HT.w Wireless Thermometer , so you can monitor the temperature from your phone and get alerts if the temperature in the greenhouse drops dangerously low. If you use your own electric heater, you might consider plugging it into an automatic thermostat which will turn it on if the temperature drops below 40 degrees; a very simple and inexpensive one is here Farm Innovators TC-3 Cold Weather Thermo Cube
Do bear in mind that the heater and the misting system cannot, for obvious reasons, be used at the same time.
We use berkshire stakes, which are a flat plate attached to a cable. The flat plate is driven in the ground vertically, about 16" deep, then when we pull on the cable the plate turns sideways. It's the best way to anchor the greenhouses that we've found, and since we've been using them we've never had one blow away. That's not to say it can't happen, but they're anchored very well.
Yes, we drill into the concrete and install concrete anchors to bolt the greenhouse down. If you're going to pour a special concrete slab, mention that in the questionnaire after paying the deposit and you'll be given a link to a drawing showing the exact size you'd need to make the slab.
The fans only require about 2 amps each, and have a simple 110v electric plug on the end, which will be in the center of the back wall of the greenhouse. Most customers simply run an extension cord, although of course you can run an electric line and put a proper box out there if you prefer.
Bear in mind you will also need to have power to your heater at some point. What kind will depend on your heater, of course, but most can run off of a good quality extension cord. The timer for the misting system is battery powered (2 AAs, included).
The misting system has a female water hose hookup; so just run a water hose to it and screw it into the timer and you're good to go. The water hose will have to be on all the time, so think about dedicating a hose to the job. Of course, you can also run a proper water pipe and put a faucet inside the greenhouse, but you don't have to do so.
Installation, Strength, Maintenance
Depending on the size of your greenhouse, how close we can get to the site, and how big our crew is that day, typically between 1-5 hours. We do all of the prefabrication at our shop, so when we get there everything is cut to fit and ready to assemble.
The polycarbonate we use for the roof is single-wall 1mm (very thick, for this product), and made of the highest quality we can find. It has a 5 year manufacturer's hail warranty, but it's real lifespan should be anywhere from 10-30 years. What typically happens is that somewhere during that range, it gradually starts to become brittle, and eventually some large object (tree limb, baseball, hail, etc) hits it and breaks it. When it is young, you can hit it with a hammer and not hurt it, but like all of us it gets more fragile with age.
When that happens, the polycarbonate can be replaced without replacing the whole greenhouse structure, although a large part of the cost is in the polycarbonate and the labor to install it, so if the time comes that it needs a complete reskinning, expect it to constitute a significant chunk of the original investment. If a single sheet were to get damaged (say, if someone pokes a hole in it with a forklift), one sheet can be replaced fairly easily.
I don't have an exact number I can give you, but I can tell you that we bring the greenhouse ends fully assembled with the polycarb on, and they travel down the highway at 70 MPH; I can tell you that I've had customers with greenhouses survive Harvey, Laura, and other super-storms. I can't promise nothing will ever happen, but unless you install it at the top of a hill with nothing to block the wind, you have very little to worry about from wind. If you're concerned about it, the best way to anchor it is with concrete; if you can't afford a slab, consider pouring a concrete footer.
Short answer: you don't. This comes as a surprise to many people who have never owned a greenhouse, but they are not a 4-season structure in Texas. See, the point of a greenhouse is to trap heat. We have plenty of that in Texas, all summer. It's usually 100 degrees outside, so if it's ANY hotter inside than it is outside (and it will be), then it's generally too much for a plant to be happy.
Yes, we have fans to cool the greenhouse, because the greenhouse, on a sunny day, might be 50 degrees hotter inside than outside. And the fans are primarily there to cool the greenhouse in the shoulder seasons, like October-November and March-April; because even in mid-winter, we can get 80 degree days which will be toasty inside, without the fans running.
But think about it; It's 100 degrees outside most summer days in Texas. So you're trying to cool 150 degree air, by bringing in "cool" 100 degree air. What you wind up with, is something in the middle – briefly put, hot enough to make a plant melt.
The fact is, it's not quite impossible to use your greenhouse year-round; but it's a difficult, expensive, uphill battle and it's so much easier just to move your plants outside in April, and put them back in in October.
If you want to try to do it anyway, I'd recommend getting our 12x24 which comes with two fans and inlet and outlet shutters, for maximized airflow. You can also request an upgrade to larger fans ($300 extra) to double the volume of air moved.
You should also use shadecloth, which definitely makes a difference; it can help extend your season by a month or two, spring and fall. A few that you might use are this one e.share 70% Green Shade Cloth, which is more affordable, or this one soclerg 70% Aluminet Shade Cloth Fabric, which is aluminized and reflects a lot more light instead of absorbing it (thus, will cool more) – but it's more expensive.
You can also try swamp coolers, but remember, those work by evaporating moisture into the air; this evaporation causes cooling. The problem is, on a typical summer day, East Texas air is already saturated with moisture; we call it humidity. So there is nowhere for the water to go when it evaporates, which means it evaporates very slowly, and the effect is very little cooling. This is one of those things that work well enough on an industrial, acre-sized greenhouse, but it just doesn't scale well into a backyard.
The greenhouse is a great tool, if you work with it's strengths. So my advice is, work with the seasons, not against them. Keep your plants in the greenhouse when having them warmer is a good thing, start your seedlings in the greenhouse in January and plant them in the ground in April, keep your plants in pots all year and move them inside when frost looms, but move them out again when it gets too hot.
No, but it does a very good job of blocking most of them. Some types of grass, such as nutgrass, shoot up a needle which pierces the fabric and then spreads above it. Bermuda grass has very fine blades which can creep through the lattice and form a plant on top; if you pull the plant promptly, it won't spread far. Nothing is completely weed proof, short of concrete, but the fabric we use is the best quality available used by all the professional greenhouse growers, and will do a great job with occasional pulling/poisoning of a stubborn plant now and then.
Delivery, Discount, Kit
Due to difficulty keeping up with demand we have had to shrink our service area this year; our current delivery range is in the area shown on this map; Basically DFW and NE Texas. We have in the past gone farther to central/east Texas (Austin, San Antonio, Houston, etc) and the nearer half of the nearby states (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana). However we are currently not taking commitments to those areas.
We are however making a waiting list, as we will occasionally go there from time to time, but cannot commit to doing so (so don't put down a deposit). Just contact us and give me your name, address, phone, and the type of greenhouse you'd be interested in, and we'll contact you when we are able to come to your area.
If you're not on the picture nor in the larger "occasional" range, I'm sorry but no we will not be able to build your greenhouse; and no, we don't know anyone who builds greenhouses like ours as we designed them from scratch.
Yes, we come to your site and install the greenhouse, which is included in the price. Free delivery is available only to the immediate Tyler/Longview/Mineola area; beyond that delivery fees range from $50 to $400.
If you have your greenhouses installed at the same time, I can offer you both a discount on delivery. Typically you share one delivery fee between the two of you, or else I waive it altogether if you're not too far away. Mention that you're doing this, and the name of your friend, in the comment section during checkout.
Unfortunately no. Our prices are already so far below our competition for the product we offer that we usually have a waiting list of several months. In fact, everyone who knows how hard we work tells me that we should raise our prices. And from a strictly business standpoint, I probably should; but I don't want to sell greenhouses only to the wealthy.
Many of my customers have wanted a greenhouse for years and many truly can't afford more than we charge. So for now, instead of raising our prices we are limiting the customization we offer and limiting the distance we travel so we can keep up with demand.
No. They are too tricky to set up, and we do it so quickly that you wouldn't be saving hardly any money anyway.
Different size, Lean-to Design
No, we focus on smaller residential greenhouses like 10x12, 12x16, and 12x24.
No, the polycarbonate material for longer greenhouses is enormously difficult (and expensive) for us to order, have shipped, unload, handle, deliver, and install, and we have had to scale back in order to keep up with our orders for smaller greenhouses. So we will not be able to supply anything larger than 12x24.
We are not doing custom sizes presently due to so much demand for our regular sizes. In the past when we have done unusual sizes, the price was not cheaper since the customization cost more than the materials saved.
No. Anything taller than our normal greenhouses would present huge difficulties in construction and delivery, so we can't. The only thing I can suggest is digging a hole to bury your pots deeper, which might buy you a foot or two. Or, of course, trim your plants back.
No, we only do free-standing greenhouses. And we are unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) far too busy doing our standard designs to tackle new designs.
Height, Wall, Door, Fan
The wall height is about 6' (it curves in, so it's hard to be precise), and the center height depends on the width; for the 10' wide, it's 7'6". For the 12' wide, it's 8'.
No, ours is all single wall. The twinwall helps to insulate the greenhouse, and that's really useful in areas where you need a lot of heat to get you through the winter; however, Texas isn't one of those places. It really don't make that big of a difference for us, so it's not really worth the extra cost in my opinion; and it is not compatible with the design of our structure in any case.
Our standard door size is 36". The actual opening is about 34.5". On our smaller custom greenhouses (4'-6' wide) we have to use a 24" door due to the space requirements of the frame.
We can do a larger 48" door, but only on the 12', and it is an additional $250. If you want this, you can request it during check out in the comment box and we'll add it to your order.
No, we cannot build one larger than that; nor can we put two doors side by side. There isn't space in our greenhouse design. And we cannot build a 4' door in a 10' frame, for the same reason.
Yes, it's an additional $400; mention it in the comment box during checkout and we'll add it to your order.
No, it doesn't work that way as the sides aren't tall enough nor framed for that.
Question not answered? For more information or to schedule an install, just call ETex Greenhouse at 903-576-6800
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