Alton Cedar Greenhouses - Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: What size Alton greenhouse do I need?
- Q: Where should I locate my Alton greenhouse?
- Q: What type of base is suitable for my Alton greenhouse?
- Q: Can I insulate my Alton greenhouse?
- Q: Can I have electricity in my Alton greenhouse?
- Q: Are Alton cedar greenhouses better than aluminium?
- Q: How do I clean my Alton greenhouse glass?
- Q: How do I maintain my Alton sliding doors?
- Q: What is the choice of greenhouses available from Alton?
- Q: How can I get rid of my old greenhouse or shed?
- Q: What access is required to deliver my Alton greenhouse?
- Q: Is my Alton greenhouse suitable for DIY assembly?
- Q: Is planning permission required for my Alton greenhouse?
- Q: Is building regulations approval required for my Alton greenhouse?
- Q: What is western red cedar?
- Q: How should I maintain my Alton greenhouse?
- The space will always be used, so buy the biggest Alton greenhouse you can afford provided that it fits comfortably in the space available. There are no precise guidelines regarding the size. Often the size of the greenhouse is dictated by the space available. Alton Greenhouses are available in a wide range of sizes to suit every space. If you are replacing an existing greenhouse, you should consider whether to have the same size again or perhaps larger. You should also consider what you will be growing. The most popular size for a small greenhouse is 8'x6'. Sizes for the more dedicated gardeners range from 8'x10' to 10' x 12' and larger.
- Ideally your Alton greenhouse should have a clear space at least 18" wide on all sides, if possible. This ensures easy access for both installation and future maintenance. In reality this is often not practical and at many sites it is not needed. A reduced clearance is often possible on one or two sides. You should cut back or remove any nearby shrubs and trees. Remember to allow for future growth. A greenhouse needs maximum sunlight so it should be sited in a sunny spot outside the shadow of nearby buildings and trees. We recommend a sheltered position which is not exposed. Ideally the ridge of a freestanding greenhouse should run from east to west. A lean to greenhouse should be sited against a south facing wall. Plants need plenty of water so your greenhouse should be close to a water supply and the site should be well drained.
- Alton greenhouses need a substantial base. The base should be solid, square, flat and level to ensure the stability of your greenhouse. Greenhouse bases can be laid on any hard flat surface including well compacted soil but paving slabs or concrete is best.
- Inexpensive bubble insulation can be easily fitted to the frame of your Alton greenhouse. Heaters are also available. Some Alton greenhouses are available with internal partitions to provide for warm areas. Most Alton greenhouses are available with shading kits to protect plants from scorching.
- Although providing an electricity supply to an Alton greenhouse is normally a straightforward task, for safety reasons we recommend that you consult an approved electrician first. Since January 1st 2005 all electrical work must be completed in accordance with IEE wiring regulations and BS 7671. Notifiable work must be either notified directly to the local building control department or completed by an operator who is approved under the Part P Electrical Competent Person Scheme.
- In scientific tests the performance of a cedar greenhouse was compared with an aluminium greenhouse of the same shape and size. The tests confirmed that cedar is the best material. Not only did the cedar greenhouse produce healthier and larger crops, it also used less electricity and less water. The tests included specific heat experiments. There were tests on frost sensitive plants such as french beans and tomatoes over a 3 month period in which both greenhouses were unheated. In another test both greenhouses were heated to a constant 65 degrees Fahrenheit using thermostat controlled blower heaters with electric meters across the power source to measure consumption. A series of plants were grown and at the end of the experiment a detailed analysis was available for both greenhouses together with electricity consumption figures. Crops were grown and detailed records were kept of all plants in the greenhouses which were treated identically in terms of heating, water and ventilation. The cedar greenhouse was shown to use 20% less electricity for heating purposes than aluminium. Comparing the crop from the tomato plants in both greenhouses the cedar greenhouse produced a higher yield by over 10%. More water was required in the aluminium greenhouse, mainly due to radiated heat from the metal drying the plants and soil rapidly. Moisture deficiency produces leaf curl which was more apparent in the aluminium greenhouse. The plants produced in the cedar greenhouse were on average 9 inches taller, largely due to the moisture level reducing more rapidly in the aluminium greenhouse. The temperature fluctuated less during the day in the cedar greenhouse. On sunny mornings at 8.30am the temperature was 6 degrees Fahrenheit when it was minus 2 degrees in the aluminium greenhouse. On colder mornings without sun the aluminium greenhouse was 7 degrees lower.
- The outside of your Alton greenhouse glass can be cleaned using a mild detergent in warm water. All surfaces should be cleaned using a soft cloth, a sponge or a natural bristle brush. Cleaning the inside of your Alton greenhouse can only be done outside the main growing season, probably in late September or October. For the plants sake use a mild disinfectant cleaning fluid as this will kill off any pests which could harm the plants.
- Alton sliding greenhouse doors have a nylon glide which runs in a channel which often gets blocked with grit and dirt. This will cause the doors to stick and wears out the nylon. The glides should be cleaned regularly to stop this happening.
- The Alton range of cedar greenhouses includes the Alton Amateur, the Alton Traditional, the Alton octagonal, the Alton Alpine house, the Alton Popular and the Alton cedar lean to greenhouse. More recently the superb high specification Alton Victorian range of greenhouses has been added to the range. A wide range of Alton accesories is also available.
- The easiest way to remove your existing greenhouse or shed is to sell it. There's a very healthy trade in old second hand greenhouses, sheds and other garden buildings. You probably won't earn much money from the sale, but you'll get rid of it for nothing! The usual arrangement is to sell the old greenhouse or shed for the buyer to dismantle at a time which is convenient for you. Ideally you should insist on full payment and immediate removal. If you settle for a deposit, perhaps with removal at a later date, make sure it's a significant deposit. You need to be confident that the buyer will return when agreed! You can normally place a classified advertisement in the local newspaper for a few pounds by phone or online, with payment by credit card. Typical draft advertisement: "Aluminium greenhouse 8' x 12' double doors, good condition, buyer to dismantle, £50 for quick sale. Phone 01234 567890"
- Your Alton greenhouse will be delivered by prior appointment with you. Access through the house may be possible if there is a straight route. Alton greenhouses are normally delivered in flat panels and a clear access route is required from the lorry to the storage area, with no access restrictions. Possible restrictions include archways, narrow passages, sharp corners and flights of steps. Access through the house may be possible if there is a straight route. Please advise us if there are any access restrictions at the site.
- Alton greenhouses are suitable for DIY assembly. Assembly is a straightforward and satisfying project for any DIY enthusiast. Even large Alton greenhouses can be installed with only basic tools, such as a hammer, a screwdriver, a power drill, a spirit level, an adjustable spanner, a knife, a stepladder and safety goggles. Particular care is required when handling glass and good quality gloves should be worn at all times. You should not attempt to lift heavy sections without a helping pair of hands. Remember that extra time spent preparing a good base is normally repaid with time saved later on during the installation. Our low cost installation service is available in many areas if you prefer to have your Alton greenhouse professionally installed.
- The majority of Alton greenhouses do not require planning permission. However, permission is required for any greenhouse which covers over half the garden, which is not for domestic use or which is over 3 metres high with a pent roof or 4 metres high with an apex roof. Larger greenhouses which are within 2 metres of a boundary and over 2.5m high (8'2") require planning permission. The Alton Victorian range and the larger Alton octagonal greenhouses are generally over 2.5m high but other Alton greenhouses are normally lower than 2.5m. Planning permission may also be required for any greenhouse which is nearer to a public highway than the original dwelling. For planning purposes a public highway includes any road or footpath with a public right of way. If you live in a Conservation Area or a Listed Building permission may be required for any greenhouse over 10 cubic metres in volume. This brief summary is not intended to be a comprehensive guide. Contact us for further advice or contact your local planning department. Please note that planning regulations apply to any building whether temporary or permanent including greenhouses.
- The majority of Alton greenhouses do not require approval under the building regulations. However, approval is required for any greenhouse with an internal floor area of more than 30 square metres. The standard Alton greenhouses are less than this size. However, it is possible to exceed 30 square metres internal floor area if you add extensions to the standard Alton greenhouses. Please note that the building regulations apply to any building in excess of 30 square metres whether temporary or permanent including greenhouses.
- All Alton greenhouses include a cedar frame made from Western Red Cedar, an attractive timber with an unrivalled reputation for durability. It is ideal for use in the construction of wooden greenhouses. The superior qualities of Western Red Cedar are summed up in this extract from the grading rules published by The Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau:
- "The largest and finest of the cedars produced anywhere in the world, the Western red cedar is famed for its extraordinary durability and resistance to decay. Western red cedar is a distinct species, possessing all the desirable qualities of the other cedars, and additional advantages besides. It can be finished to a smooth, silky finish; it is free from pitch, it takes and holds stains and paints excellently, and has superior glueing properties. Its colour is extremely attractive, varying from almost pure white of the narrow sapwood to the light straw shade of dark reddish-brown of the heartwood. The wood of Western red cedar has a vey low coefficient of expansion, so that it does not shrink, swell or warp excessively, even when subjected to changing degrees of temperature and moisture. It has prime insulating qualities and its pleasing aromatic odour is repellent to moths, insects and vermin. The wood is saturated to every fibre with a natural preservative oil which renders it virtually immune to decay and gives it extreme durability without artificial preservative treatment. It is not necessary to paint cedar to preserve its surface, as it does not deteriorate appreciably even under severe climatic changes."
- Most Alton greenhouses are made from cedar which will last a long time even without regular treatment. It is not necessary to treat cedar which is a naturally resilient timber and does not deteriorate appreciably even under severe climatic changes. If untreated cedar will gradually fade to a silvery grey. We also recommend that you regularly oil the door and window hinges as required to ensure continued smooth operation. Although not essential, if you treat the external timber with a good quality wood stain every year this will prolong the life of your Alton greenhouse. All major wood stain manufacturers offer suitable products in a choice of colours, available from good hardware shops. We also offer a wide range of microporous wood preservatives in a choice of colours. Although normally offered with a new building only we are always happy to supply any of our microporous preservatives separately at any time to an existing customer who purchased one of our buildings.
What size Alton greenhouse do I need?
Where should I locate my Alton greenhouse?
What type of base is suitable for my Alton greenhouse?
Can I insulate my Alton greenhouse?
Can I have electricity in my Alton greenhouse?
Are Alton greenhouses better than aluminium?
How do I clean my Alton greenhouse glass?
How do I maintain my Alton greenhouse sliding doors?
What is the choice of greenhouses available from Alton?
How can I get rid of my old greenhouse or shed?
What access is required to deliver my Alton greenhouse?
Is my Alton greenhouse suitable for DIY assembly?
Is planning permission required for my Alton greenhouse?
Is building regulations approval required for my Alton greenhouse?
What is Western Red Cedar?
How should I maintain my Alton greenhouse?
Summer Greenhouses is a leading UK retailer of greenhouses including Alton greenhouses and other top brands. Established in 1981, our show centre in Norwich, Norfolk is open every day.