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The scoop on 'Sturdi-built Greenhouse Mfg.'

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  Company Profile  
Sturdi-built Greenhouse Mfg.

Mailing Address:
11304 SW Boones Ferry Road
Portland, Oregon 97219 (United States)

Phone: 1-800-334-4115

Catalog Order Page: Hyperlink
Paper Catalog Cost: Free

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  Company Comment, posted on October 14, 2002:  
For 40 years Sturdi-built Greenhouse Mfg. Co., a small family-owned business, has been making high quality, All Clear Heart Redwood (along with some Cedar) and glass greenhouse kits for the homeowner. A wide variety of sizes and styles are available. Fiberglass and double-wall polycarbonate glazing options are available also. Custom modifications are possible. Visit our web site to see many photos of our product and order a catalog. We work with each
customer to design a greenhouse to suit their individual needs.

  Feedback History and Summary  
4 positives
No neutrals
2 negatives

Comments:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative vernmotz
Milwaukee, WI
(1 review)
June 26, 2014
Posted on June 21, 2014, updated June 26, 2014
I bought the Sturibuilt Tropic model greenhouse 10 x 14 feet. The workmanship on the pieces was good and it was a good working greenhouse. We grew flowers in it for about 10 years until it started to rot away. Every place there were iron fasteners installed by their factory the redwood rotted first. The door started sagging and eventually the whole roof line started to droop. The redwood was so completely disintegrated that it could not be repaired. It became an eyesore to the neighborhood and had to be replaced. The experience was very disappointing and Rick at Sturdibuilt was not helpful. This time we are going with aluminum so it will last more than just a few years.
On June 26th, 2014, vernmotz added the following:

I talked to Sturdi-built back in 2000 about buying individual pieces to repair the places where the wood had started to rot. I was told that they would not sell me anything to repair the greenhouse. I would have to buy an entire greenhouse, or at least a new top section and supply my own basewall. At this point the greenhouse was only 12 years old and the structure was starting to fail. Sturdi-built was unwilling to help. Soon after this the roof bars began to come loose and sag because of the rotten wood. The glass started to break and replacing it was futile because it would just break again. The broken glass made the greenhouse unsafe to be in and we were afraid that broken glass would fall on us when we were inside it. All of the broken and missing glass made it impossible to heat during the cold Wisconsin winters. We patched the holes where the glass was missing with Reflectix insulation. This caused the building to turn into a real eyesore because of all the aluminum colored patches that were stapled onto it. Meanwhile, the sagging of the roof got even worse. The walls stated to bow out. Neighbors started to say things about it and the city ordered us to fix it up. In 2010 I talked to Rick at Sturdi-built and got a price from him for a new greenhouse. It was full price-$7000 for just the top (where the glass is) and I would have to supply my own basewall (the first 32” from the ground up). He also would not guarantee me that the new structure would be free of iron (steel) hardware, the reason the greenhouse failed in the first place. The redwood reacts with the iron in the fasteners and it rots the redwood away and also causes the iron to rust rapidly and fail. The instructions that came with the greenhouse were very explicit and said NOT to use ANYTHING other than stainless steel hardware or else this rotting problem would occur. I adhered to this instruction when I assembled it in 1988. ALL of the iron (steel) screws, nails, eye bolts, hinges, etc. that Sturdi-built used to assemble the prefabricated assemblies WERE INSTALLED BY Sturdi-built, so I could not remove then, nor did I ever dream that they would do such a thing because they were so adamant that iron (steel) fasteners and hardware NOT be used. This is truly a disappointing experience for me. For the last 10 years we have not been able to use the greenhouse because of the problems it has. Now it has to be razed and be replaced. I am truly disappointed that Sturdi-built refuses to assist me in any way other than to sell be a new greenhouse. This building should have lasted for decades and instead I had the use of it for only 12 short years. All told I have $14,000 in this project.

I also need to spell out what went into the building of this greenhouse. It is supposed to be a PERMANENT structure and I had to take out a building permit for it before I built it. It has a foundation. I had to contract out the plumbing for it because it has heated running water and a lift pump for wastewater to carry it back to the house for disposal. The plumber also installed a gas line going to it for the through-the-wall furnace to heat it. I had to contract an electrician to wire it for electricity. It has its own circuit breaker box, outlets and lighting. I had to have a contractor install a sidewalk between it and the patio because the city would not allow a grass or stone pathway to an outbuilding. I also get assessed on my property tax bill for it because it IS a permanent building, I sure wish that Sturdi-built would help with this.

Company representative comment on June 27, 2014:
On Jun 23, 2014 8:43 AM, Sturdi-built Greenhouse Mfg. responded with:

This greenhouse was purchased in 1988. Up through 1999, all reports from Vern about his greenhouse were positive. We only recently learned that the owner began having issues in 2000 but he did not contact us until 2010 when the greenhouse was 22 years old and according to Vern had sat unused for 10 years. Any structure, left unused, can age rapidly. When he called us in 2010 we were not able to help him repair or replace the greenhouse to his satisfaction. We always try to provide good customer service but the customer needs to play a role as well. Asking for help in a timely manner makes resolving problems much easier.


On Jun 27, 2014 11:59 AM, Sturdi-built Greenhouse Mfg. added:

It is clear that Mr. Motz is very upset. Our records show that we had only one conversation about his greenhouse and that was in 2010. Clearly he did not like the options suggested at that time. We regularly help customers with repair parts for their older greenhouses, and our instructions (then and now) say nothing about the use of stainless steel or iron materials in our greenhouses. We will not be responding to any more of his comments.


On Jun 27, 2014 11:59 AM, Sturdi-built Greenhouse Mfg. added:

It is clear that Mr. Motz is very upset. Our records show that we had only one conversation about his greenhouse and that was in 2010. Clearly he did not like the options suggested at that time. We regularly help customers with repair parts for their older greenhouses, and our instructions (then and now) say nothing about the use of stainless steel or iron materials in our greenhouses. We will not be responding to any more of his comments.

Positive olygardener
Olympia, WA
(1 review)
February 28, 2013
In 2004 we purchased a Sturdi Built deluxe 9' x 12' greenhouse. My husband and I put it together ourselves in a couple of weekends and I fell in love with it! In 2005 we were faced with moving from Washington state to Tennessee for a job change. In the contract for the sale of the house, we noted that the greenhouse would be disassembled and would travel to our new home. We stored the greenhouse in the walk in basement with the hope that one day we would return home to WA. Here we are in 2013 in our new home in the evergreen state and getting the HOA documents ready to reassemble the greenhouse. We will bring in family for a long weekend and have a barn raising ceremony! The greenhouse construction is excellent and will be no great difficulty putting it back together. Soon I will be sitting in one of the best greenhouses on the market in the winter rains watching over my lemon trees. This is a quality product made in Oregon by a family business. I am proud to own their greenhouse.
Positive trospero
Corvallis, OR
(16 reviews)
September 28, 2012
I give the Sturdi-Built folks five stars for superior greenhouse design, quality of craftsmanship (outstanding!), and their communication and customer service.

I met with Rick Warner at the Sturdi-Built showroom in PDX and we discussed my greenhouse needs. It was clear that Rick knew his stuff and had a solution for all of my specific requirements. I was promised a date for delivery of my greenhouse, and that date was met; Rick delivered my new greenhouse in person, and discussed a number of the finer details about the assembly process. (I was also mailed a very thorough set of instructions a few weeks before the greenhouse was delivered, in order to acquaint myself with the job at hand)

Although the Sturdi-Built products do fall into the category of "pre-fab kits", this is well-crafted building that requires some carpentry skills and an ability to read and interpret the instructions intelligently. If you expect a simple "part A fits into part B like so" assembly project, you are likely to find this challenging. As Rick says, this can be a fun project for any handy person, but it will take several days to complete properly, and does require some construction skills. (You will need to cut a few panes of glass to fit, for example, and build your own foundation for the greenhouse, which means cutting hefty timbers or pouring concrete; this isn't some "Little Miss Green Thumb" greenhouse out of a box, this is a building that will last 10 - 20 years if you do it right!)

I suggest talking with Rick in person before you buy, so he can give you a clear idea what you should expect to complete the assembly of your greenhouse. Know what you are taking on, and set your expectations accordingly!

I hired a carpenter friend to build the foundation for me and to assist in the assembly of the wood frame, and I'm glad I delegated this part of the project; it made the rest of it much less challenging for me. In total, I would say that it took seven days of work to complete the construction, which includes the two full days required to stain all of the wood. (Lots of small pieces with nooks and crannies to cover!) I allowed four days for the stain to dry completely before starting assembly: definitely allow your stain/paint a few days to dry!

Am I glad I chose a more labor intensive kit from Sturdi-Built? Absolutely! I chose this greenhouse to replace an inexpensive (approx $3000) aluminum and polycarbonate pre-fab I bought in 2011, a product I found disappointing the moment I had it assembled. It had many design flaws and some of the materials were quite poor. As they say, you get what you pay for, and spending a bit more for my Sturdi-Built has been well worth it.

Check out the results for yourself ( photo shows my greenhouse before I moved my plants in): http://nitrogenseekers.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/20120921-...

Thanks to Rick and his staff; you do outstanding work and I couldn't be more pleased!
Positive fwfarm
Lebanon, OR (Zone 7b)
(18 reviews)
January 17, 2012
We got a greenhouse from Studibuilt in late spring 2010. They worked with us to provide some customization, since we wanted a lean-to style that was longer and higher than their regular models. Very easy and pleasant to work with them, there was quite a lot of back-and-forth on details. To install, we had their guy Gary come down (we are 90 miles away from their offices) and do that for us.

We are THRILLED with the greenhouse and couldn't hope for better, it was exactly what we wanted.

The first winter, we had some problems with roof leakage on the joint between the roof and sloping side (it faces south into the wind). Gary came down, no charge, soon after we called and fixed most of that problem. There's some minor nits... but the tomato starts thrived there in the spring, and we don't heat it and still it's keeping the citrus plants fairly happy over the winter, and it's a wonderful warm place to sit with a beer on a cold but sunny afternoon.
Positive PabloVerde
Canton, GA
(11 reviews)
October 23, 2007
I spent several months researching various greenhouses, including visits to a few of the manufacturers. I was looking for a top-notch greenhouse that also added a nice focal point to my garden. I also needed something that was nice enough to get approval from my home owners association. This was going to be my once in a life time project. In the final analysis, I selected a redwood greenhouse from Sturdi-Built.

As a newbie to owning a greenhouse, I was grateful for the countless hours of valuable assistance from Sturdi-Built both before and after my purchase. Sturdi-Built’s Rick Warner saved me hundreds of dollars and lots of headaches by providing me with solid advice and preventing me from making mistakes. In the end, Sturdi-Built customized a 12'x16' greenhouse for me that is based on their “Nantucket” design.

My greenhouse was shipped from Portland, OR to Atlanta. Everything was carefully crated and meticulously numbered. I worked together with a friend who is a pretty versatile handy man. (I needed him as I am severely challenged when it comes to anything construction oriented). The greenhouse I ordered is Sturdi-Built’s top of the line and its most complicated: Lot’s of arches and detail. I don’t know about their other greenhouses, but this is *not* a weekend project and it is not a project for someone without some reasonable skills. I could not have completed this project without my helper.

That said, everything fit perfectly. I couldn’t believe how well everything came together within such small tolerances. The directions that were provided took some getting used to (especially for a guy that doesn’t know a sill from a rafter), but they were always dead on. Every item was carefully marked and they even provided several samples of how various pieces went together. We had the frame done in just over 3 days and spent another 2 days installing the glass. (It would have gone quicker if I had chosen one of the other glazing options. Glass is a pain!). I completed the benches myself on a weekend. All redwood.

No doubt, construction is a challenge. But we took our time, no hurry. In the end, it actually turned out to be fun. The greenhouse is beautiful and I could not be happier. The detail and engineering is all there. These guys have thought of everything. They were with me through the whole project as if they were an expert friend who lived up the street . I would absolutely recommend them.
Negative pjreed
Kankakee, IL
(1 review)
October 17, 2007
We just finished putting up a 12 x 18 Tudor style greenhouse. I should first say that the ordering & shipping process was excellent. Rick Warner was incredibly helpful in determining specs for our area (zone 5) & advising on proper (but not too many) accessories. It arrived beautifully crated, well organized, & promptly.

The big HOWEVER (which earns the negative rating) is in the representation of this greenhouse as a "kit". We had hired a guy to put this up and every step of the assembly process involved extensive knowledge of carpentry & building in general. First off, the dimensions for the site plan provided by Sturdi-Built were incorrect, resulting in a foundation that was slightly too small. Our guy had to retrofit the concrete foundation (which had already been poured) to accommodate the structure. (Sturdi-Built's response: "Oh, I guess we'll have to correct that on the plans".) Many, many of the wood pieces were mismarked, requiring our guy to remeasure (and there are lots of pieces!). And the pieces holding the glass in place were too deep to accommodate the double-pane glass, requiring our guy to shave each one to fit (Sturdi-Built's respose: "We must have pulled the wrong ones").

What was represented as a project for "a couple of weekends, maybe 3 guys", per the company, turned into a 2 1/2 week construction project by (fortunately) 2 knowledgeable builders. What was supposed to be a $4500 job (including the foundation) turned into a $7000 ordeal of skilled carpentry & construction. I post this negative rating as a warning to a "weekend warrior" who thinks that this "kit" will be simple. It's not. Perhaps the smaller models on a less permanent foundation could be assembled quickly (though I doubt it, given the number of errors).

Overall, the result is gorgeous. But only the credit for the raw materials can be given to Sturdi-Built. The actual construction needs to be done by a professional. Sturdi-Built should advise customers accordingly, as well as correct their errors in measurement!
Company representative comment on October 18, 2007:

On Oct 18, 2007 7:47 AM, Sturdi-built Greenhouse Mfg. added:

It is always unfortunate when a project does not go as planned. This particular greenhouse is one of our larger units and one of our more intricate designs, so it was, from the start, a project that was going to take longer than average to complete.

Regarding problems with installation; as part of our instruction package we include an 800 number to call with questions. I received one call from the contractor regarding the foundation dimensions. I made a one inch dimensional error. I talked him through a simple fix for the problem, and offered to pay for the additional angle flashing that I suggested using. I did not receive another phone call until the project was done, so I was not given an opportunity to help with any other issues. In a business where each greenhouse is customized, mistakes can sometimes happen. Instead of denying them, we try to acknowledge, clarify and fix the problem. It is hard to make things right for the customer when you learn about issues after the project is done.

We have been making the same basic kits for about 50 years now. I know that it can be put up by home owners and professionals alike usually in a week or less. I also know that in either case, carefully following the instructions and calling with questions is required to install the greenhouse properly. The following is a quote from a customer who installed a smaller version of the same greenhouse himself, without professional help.

“In my 57 years no other weekend project has given me more satisfaction or pride as our Tudor style greenhouse. Your design, engineering, dependability and follow through have been exceptional. We can’t congratulate you enough nor thank you enough.”

In any case, I apologize to my customer for the problems her carpenter claims to have found with this particular kit. We have already taken steps to eliminate these issues in future kits.

Rick Warner
(2nd generation owner)
Sturdi-built Greenhouses

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