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Dismantling a wooden glasshouse

Hi all, I'm looking at buying a second hand very large glasshouse (10 x 5 metres). It is in fairly good order but is in excess of 50 years old. Anyone done this sort of thing before? My first job would be to remove all the glass and then attempt to break it up in such a way that it isn't damaged and can be rebuilt. Any tips appreciated.


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    You may have trouble with that to be honest especially if it's wood. Back then GH's were made of wood with joints and very few screws. Usually craftsman work at that size and built to order. If it's painted strip the paint off first after removing the glass and take off everything you possibly can. Then take a look at each joint for nails or screws. You'll have to be careful taking any fixing out, and not damage the surrounding wood. Once the joint looks clear start tapping with a wooden mallet with a block of wood between the joint and the mallet. This'll save damaging the structure. Be careful to tap in the right direction so note how the joint faces. Some may come away easy others will be tough, so don't get heavy handed. Be prepared for breakages it will probably happen.

    If you can afford it employ a good carpenter instead of doing it yourself, there's likely to be less damage that way.

    Mind you none of this applies if it's metal!

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    We have dismantled and re-built our wooden greenhouse four times. It is quite a simple job if it is the right kind of greenhouse.

    Is it from a commercial firm like Alton? If so your task will be simpler.

    Do not remove the glass unless you have to. If it is a branded greenhouse you can move each section with the glass in. Which will make rebuilding simpler.

    Your first move is to go round every bolt and apply oil. Not WD40, it is not suitable. Use 3in1 or somesuch. Leave for at least one day.

    I have lots of further tips, but I see little point in writing them out if the greenhouse is not a branded one but a bespoke one constructed by a carpenter on site.

    Work out before you start how many panes you will have to replace. You are bound to break some.
  • Thanks for the advice.

    I was thinking of bidding on this:

    Although to be honest its getting a bit high on price now and i'm not sure I can get it taken down without breaking it to pieces!!

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    I think you'd be buying a nightmare Bluebaron. Unless you have very deep pockets that is.

  • We have a 40 year old Patton oak greenhouse that is still going strong. My dad bought it in kit form off the manufacturer. It is 16' x 8' . It was delivered in ready constructed 2' sections . We laid the founds out a few months beforehand. The glass is 3mm. We built a low breeze block wall on top of the founds and my dad had  4 special 2" forged metal straps made for each side wall . So, if you are thinking of buying such a greenhouse, you must check for any rot ( I had to replace a section of gable end two years ago with wood filler.), check the nuts and bolts have been put in with copper slip, and that it is built in sections that can be easily dismantled. I would also think about transport. If it is oak, they will be heavy. Removing the glass panes would be wise but difficult as in those days, they used putty and copper sprigs which , I have found, are rather awkward to remove using small pliers. Any  replacement glass will cost you about £5 a pane for 3mm , 2' x 2' square . 

    Good luck!

    P.S. Since wood is now more expensive than aluminium, I would go for a second hand al. greenhouse  - ask your neighbours of friends, they are easier to dismantle with help  - best to just unscrew each corner and handle whole sections.


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