How to Build a Greenhouse Out of Old Windows

How to Build a Greenhouse Out of Old Windows

We’ve all seen them…discarded windows from remodeling or structural demolition. They may be in your neighbor’s yard, near a construction site or even in your own garage, but these old panes still have a purpose.

The intrepid gardener should swoop on these solar attractors and use them to build a greenhouse. The project takes a little planning, and it may take some time to amass the number and sizes of panes you require, but the result is nothing short of miraculous and saves a bundle on greenhouse kits and professional builders.

The goal is to have four walls worth of panes so first you should decide on the size you will require and how many of each pane. You don’t necessarily have to have windows of all the same size but you do need to have the same size walls. As you gather panes, lay them out in the driveway, garage or lawn and arrange them until you have equal sized panels. There will need to be room for a ventilation grate or fan and a door. Doors can be found in the same way as the windows. Most people will be happy to have you take the items off their hands and save a dumping fee.

Get the site ready once you have enough panes. Rake the area even and remove any stumps or other debris. Then build a basic frame with 4x4s for the supports and 2x4s for the studs. Make sure measurements are correct and the window fit between the studs. Raise the frame using supports and level as you go. Brace them with support beams and secure the frame to the base. You can use cinder blocks or cemented in posts to secure each side. If your windows are just panes without frames you will need to install framework around each one so you have something to fix screws into.

How to Build a Greenhouse Out of Old Windows

Affix the windows to the studs, using horizontally installed wood as the underpinning. Any windows that have hinges should be installed so the window opens outdoors. Next, attach a roof. You can be as sophisticated in this area or as simple as your skill level allows. A sturdy rafter with ceiling beams is the first step. Then you can lay plyboard over the roof frame in at least a 4 degree pitch and screw it into the beams. The choice of overlay is yours. Tar roofing, an old tin shed roof, or even shingling are appropriate. Again, it depends on your skill level and available materials. If you still have extra windows, a glass roof with support struts will allow even more light into the building. Some of the panels may be installed on hinges to allow the roof to vent on hot summer days. Use a chain affixed to the roof panes to allow easy access for opening.

Inside the nearly finished greenhouse lay weed barrier fabric and then pea gravel, sand or even bark mulch. Fix the door to the frame and you are nearly finished. The addition of a fan will help with ventilation, as will any electrical or water piping you want to run into the greenhouse. You can also keep it rustic and simply open windows for ventilation and hand carry water to the plants. Paint, stain or just leave the walls bare and caulk around the windows and door to prevent drafts in cold weather. Build a potting bench or shelves to house your plants and make activities inside easy and comfortable.

The average greenhouse kit may sell from $800 to several thousand dollars. You have now saved yourself a pretty penny and done some good for the environment by recycling and repurposing old building materials. Your greenhouse is now ready for you to introduce your tender and high maintenance plants to the environment.


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