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Comments regarding Sturdi-built Greenhouse Mfg.

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4 positives
No neutrals
2 negatives


Negative vernmotz
(1 review)
On Jun 26, 2014, vernmotz Milwaukee, WI wrote:

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.

On Jun 26, 2014, Sturdi-built Greenhouse Mfg. responded with:

"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."

Negative pjreed
(1 review)
On Oct 17, 2007, pjreed Kankakee, IL wrote:

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!

On Oct 17, 2007, Sturdi-built Greenhouse Mfg. responded with:


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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