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building a greenhouse out of old windows

Posted by tbranan Oregon (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 11, 06 at 3:02

so my mom is having all the windows on her house replaced with storm windows. she likes to garden and lives on a large piece of land. currently she has a tiny hobby greenhouse made out of plastic and pvc tubing thats starting to fall apart.
so I got the idea of building her a new greenhouse out of the old single paned windows off the house. there's about 460 square feet of window and I figure if the first 3 feet or so are some non window material and the roof is polycarbonate sheeting, she could have a good sized greenhouse to work with.
so I figured it would be a good summer project but I was wondering if anyone has tried this option before and is aware of any pitfalls to be aware of or to watch out for.

I figure to put it on a concrete block foundation. pouring a foundation seems a little extreme.

I'm guessing with a lot of different sized windows it'll look a little funky but I'm trying to find a design that'll account for that so it doesn't look like a hobo shack.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

  • Posted by kudzu9 Zone 8b, WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 12, 06 at 3:38

tbranan-
I think that's a cool idea. If I understand correctly, you're wanting to use the entire window: glass + frame. Is that correct? I'm also assuming these are single pane windows. Are these wooden frames or aluminum? If aluminum, I'd recommend framing them and trimming things out so that the aluminum is pretty much concealed and the greenhouse frame looks like it's all wood. Since you're only using them in vertical positions, I don't think you need to worry about rain leaks, but you should consider using caulking to reduce air infiltration for winter. If these are operable windows, that's good, because it's nice to have some side vents in summer. The main issue I see is that it's also a good idea to have roof vents, so you should think about how you are going to accomplish that.
If you're looking for a plan, send me an email: I can direct you to a good site online that might fit your needs. I purchased some plans there for a wooden greenhouse, but then ended up seeing a great deal on a commercial kit greenhouse and ended up buying that. If I hadn't gotten a deal on the kit, I would have used these plans. They have quite a few construction details that might be helpful to you.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

yea, I figured only for vertical walls, trying to do a roof seemed beyond my limited carpentry abilities. I figured polycarbonate sheets for the roof to keep the weight down and to keep things simple, with some of those automatic risers for venting. the windows are in aluminium frames and I was plannign to caulk once they're framed in the structure.
and I'd be more than happy to have any source for plans.. I've poked around the internet and the library has a few books as well. I don't plan to actually stick anything together until I've got a design and plan firmly in hand.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

  • Posted by javan 9b n. coastalCA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 12, 06 at 18:15

Here are some pics of the hothouse/greenhouse we built two years ago. We used windows our neighbors gave us, and built to fit the windows. We didn't use plans, but my wife did a great job of designing and building. We have plans to paint the structure but haven't gotten to it. We grow tomatoes, climbing cucumbers, and peppers in this hothouse. It has 3 sliding windows for ventilation, and while we would do a few things differently with the roof, I think your plan of using polycarbonate sheets is a good one. Just remember to angle them so the rain runs off. All the best, Jim

West facing (with slider)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

South facing (with door) and slider on lower right
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

West facing (with slider)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Yesterday, we had our first tomato of the year (a Stupice) from the hothouse.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

yea, it looks like you did a good job of fitting them together, I don't see too many empty spots you had to fill.
luckily I'm a 3D artist by trade, I do 3d modeling for a living so I can re-arrange all the windows virtually until I've gotten the best fit I can manage before a single screw goes in, as long as I have the sizes of the windows entered right, that is.
I'm shooting for something thats reasonably visually interesting as well as functional. as well as avoiding what one of my uncles has termed, the "hobo shack" look


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

  • Posted by javan 9b n. coastalCA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 12, 06 at 21:31

We did '3d modeling the old fashioned way - with graph paper. Having software should be a definite advantage. However, you are right, getting the actual dimensions of the windows in correctly is the trick, along with allowing for how they will attach to the structural pieces (2x4s are not really 2"x 4", etc) If your windows have the usual flange mount, you need to decide whether you will frame with the flange inside or out or inset as they are on a house. I would really spec out the angle of the roof, particularly if you have to lap sheets of polycarbonate - leakage is a drag and we didn't give it enough slope...(response is by Illijana, the actual builder, ed. Jim)


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

my DH built my GH out of windows & a sliding glass door he took out of a house he was renovating. He designed it around what we had to work with. The lumber came from the cull cart at lowes & the entry door was our old back door.
These pics were taking before it was 100% done but you get the idea.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

that looks quite cosy.. :)
and about the size of the little el cheapo one she's using now. I'm hoping I can go 10x10 on the new one, or so, to give enough room to move around, storage, etc. there's a lot I don't know about building things but luckily i don't plan on this being a solo venture. I just want to make sure that its built to last a good long time so I'm not going to rush the planning or design. I'd hate to see the walls sag or the roof leak in a few years.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

does anyone have any plans for a greenhouse specifically made to look rustic and 'hobo-ish'?...that's exactly what I want to have made.
I've been gathering old windows for more than a couple of years and have them in old white, pale green, pink and nearly no paint on the frames...
I want it as large as the windows will allow, since it's going to be all free supplies..except the nails and other things that need to be new.
I have more than 25 of them..from 2x4' to 4'x4'..lots of variations...I didn't plan on them being on the roof, though...too likely to break in our winters of fluctuating temps and rain..
the last thing I need to find is a glass panel door, with a glass doorknob...I have a door knob, but still need the door.
I also want the door on the long side of it, rather than the end...easier to face the rest of the yard and be able to have a picnic table outside of it, with an umbrella....


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

  • Posted by kudzu9 Zone 8b, WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 17, 06 at 23:09

tbranan-
Do you have a design yet? If you send me an email I'll send you a photo of the one I have detailed plans for.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

This is a great thread! Now I know what to do with some old windows I have in storage. Thanks.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Hi all,
What a great thread! I've had a bunch of old windows stored, thinking I'd do a greenhouse, if only I could get some design help. Just love the pictures of these! Now I'm inspired. Kudzu9, would you be willing to share those photos with me, as well? Thanks a lot!


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

awsome thread!What about used patio doors?They are almost at every window and door contractors yards?They might even pay you to take them?Whai I did was take all the vynal and aluminum trim off of them then cut the thermal panes in half so you get 4 slabs of tempered glass from one old junk patio door set.Take a table saw and cut a 1/4 inch cut in a bunch of 2*4's and put the glass in the slots you just cut.Then you have a complete frame made of wood.I am in the middle of finishing my GH this very same way.Could somone tell me how to post pics and I will share with all!!!!


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

I have a windows installer saving patio doors for me to build a greenhouse with. Some of them are single pane instead of double so I'm going to try to take the glass out of the metal frames and double them up in 2x4 frames that have a rabbet for the glass to fit into with a space between the panes. I hope that will provide insulation in the winter season. tfb4me, I'd love to see your photo's. Upload your photos at Photobucket and copy the "HTML tag" and paste it in your message.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Unfortunately I had replacement windows installed in my old house, so all I've got are the sash and will need to build frames for them. Also the installer's helper and a renter's son broke the panes in a number of them, so I will have to have many of them reglazed. The ones I have to reglaze would I be better investing in the retrofit double glazing that is now available or just use shatter proof glass? Also, due to the humidity in a GH, should I use treated lumber for the frames or can I get by with well painted regular lumber? I am planning on setting this on a concrete block foundation with a poured footing, and a concrete paver floor over gravel. Any and all tips will be appreciated, thanks!


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Help me please.

I have just found a bunch of 3'x6' aluminum framed windows
I need a greenhouse.
Some direction/instruction/input as to how to make a greenhouse out of old house windows would be much appreciated


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Okay huzzah, here is my basic recommendations. 1) Figure out how many feet of windows you have. This will give you an idea as to how large a structure you could build, some of this will depend upon if you want to use some the windows for the roof, or if you are going to use a tougher material, like PolyCarb. (Figure the total running footage by multiplying width by total number.) 2) Figure out your desires for the design. (Do you want it attached to your house, or another structure or do you want it to be a free standing building. Then based upon this decision, decide what design do you want to use; gable end, salt box or lean to.)
3) If you live in a city or county that has planning and zoning and building codes check with the code enforcement office to see what restrictions you might have to deal with. (This can affect you design and location on your property. This will involve everything from set backs to required permits to construction methods.) 4) Look at the location(s) for your utilities. (This can affect where you want to put your foundation. Depending upon your need for water, sewer, electric or gas you may not have available the best location without bringing them to the site.) 5) Look at the solar orientation to your desired site, also look at any other buildings and vegetation that could affect the amount of light you will be getting in a day. 6) Decide if you want to use wood framing or steel studs. (You can use PT wood, or painted wood, or galvanized steel studs. Each has advantages and disadvantages.) 7) Based upon your available capitol decide if you want to use a carpenter to put in the foundation and build the frame. (If you do not have the skill you should take a short course through a local vocational school or community college on construction. Most carpenters will be familiar with code requirements, but it will be up to you to get the required permits, set up the inspections and make sure that you make whatever changes the code enforcement officer requires.) Or is this something you feel like you can handle on your own.

I know my list is not probably what you thought you wanted, but it is pretty close to what I can give in a short answer. The main thing about building anything is planning. If you fail to adequately plan the project you will be disappointed in either parts or the entire project.

If you want specific information on foundations, framing, plumbing, and electrical I would recommend you purchase and read some books available at most lumber yards and home improvement centers. They cover many of the subjects you will need to know about in order to do your project.

As far as telling you, "you need to do this, this and this", it is almost impossible without knowing more than just the dimensions of the windows and how they are constructed. Building codes vary so widely that what I can tell you will be acceptable here, might not work in your city.

Sorry I couldn't be of greater help.
Kevin


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

I teach high school biology and have a student who would like to build a very small "greenhouse" out of old windows. Since he'll be working with the construction teacher on the project, I'm wondering if anyone has ever seen step-by step instructions for putting the thing together. I'm afraid if I can't supply plans he may be out of luck working in that particular class. Thanks!


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

I'm recycling "junk" from the farm and salvaged glass to build a greenhouse this fall. I think it'll be about ten feet by fifteen.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

  • Posted by javan 9b n. coastalCA (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 16, 07 at 2:37

My greenhouse pictured above has been going great again this year. It has been producing tomatoes since May, and still has nice tomatoes and cucumbers in it now. We plan to rebuild the roof at some point (for better drainage in winter), but I'm sure glad we did build it. I encourage everyone who is considering the recycling of old windows into a greenhouse to go for it. All the best, jim


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

I'll be tackling my own window greenhouse soon so it was nice to review this thread. I'm unsure of what my roof will be at this point and I may purchase a clear plastic corrugated roofing material for that if I can't salvage enough glass. This description is long but hopefully detailed enough to give you a good idea or what I have in mind. If anyone has their own ideas, suggestions, constructive criticisms they are welcome to post. When it comes down to it though usually I have to try something for myself even if others say it won't work. Sometimes it proves to be foolish and other times I am rewarded for it.

I intend for this greenhouse to have year-round use in one form or another. I have collected many many old wooden windows in good condition over the years (FREECYCLE IS A GODSEND! -- yardsales and salvage yards are good too). Some match and some don't. I am a stickler for symmetry in buildings. I like a somewhat rustic look but I still want it to look like an inviting retreat, not a thrown-together mismatched pile of this and that. I had initially thought I would be building a polycarbonate greenhouse but no matter how much I shopped around the cold hard truth is that I can't possibly afford what this stuff is selling for and the shipping on it is pretty darn pricey too. I want something pretty permanent and don't want to have to be putting up new plastic film every 1-2 years.

The size will be roughly 18 ft wide by 20+ long with a gable post and rafter style and shape. Sidewalls will be a little over 6 feet high with the roof being 9-10 feet high down the center. Structure will have a roughly 3ft. high wood siding kneewall all the way around with a row of 8 (16 total) matching 6-panel windows running the length of each sidewall above the kneewall. I purchased two sets of six ft. wide exterior French Doors from a salvage yard to go on both end walls for easy access and they are mostly glass to allow maximum light through the doors. Matching larger 9-panel windows will be mounted in both endwalls on each side of the doors. I am learning how to cut glass with a glass cutter and I plan to fill in the gaps around these primary doors and windows with custom cuts made from additional large salvaged glass panes and frame them in accordingly.

Unfortunately these windows are not double paned however I believe I can double-pane them myself overtime by custom cutting additional panes that match the size of each panel in the windows, fir them in on the interior side of the window with wood strips and use silicone to mount the glass, hopefully creating an airspace between each old pane and new if I seal it properly. However I would like to see what kind of temperature protection (if any) the single pane windows provide this first winter. I can do my double-paning project at my own pace next summer.

This is largely an experiment for me based on many other posts and forums so I am excited to try. Will probably be a work in progress for some time but I can envision it very well in my head and I love the idea of using as many recycled and free materials as possible. I have salvaged some treated 2x4s, 2x6s, 6x6 posts etc over the last 3 years and have access to culls from a log home mill so I think I can get away with this cheaply considering its size and hopefully relative permanence. My husband draws houseplans for a living so he's drawing up an accurate plan and materials list for me taking into account the items I've already collected. We built our cabin together 5 years ago so I have some experience with construction as well as installing large custom window panes. These smaller ones should be easier.

I am going to attempt passive heating and natural ventilation but may upgrade to mechanical methods and install a heater if this proves ineffective for my structure, location and climate. I do want vegetables, daylily seedlings, etc... actively growing inside and not just hovering above freezing. In our zone I believe a structure like this, even with single pane glass will get pretty warm inside on most of our mild winter days. However we do usually have a few cold snaps that dip into the teens and frequently have nights in the high twenties, low thirties. I am going to incorporate thermal mass in the form of water storage containers inside the greenhouse though it will be interesting to see if it makes any noticeable difference. I'll caulk/silicone/weatherstrip the heck out of it and make sure everything is sealed tight then see what I can get by with the first winter. For those few extremely cold winter nights I am going to attempt to design the benches in such a way that I can literally wrap an insulating plastic or blankets, etc...around the different bench zones if need be kinda' like putting them in a tent or possibly purchase some large solar pool bubble blankets to cover the exterior in. Maybe a combination of both, just depends on how much trouble they're worth and if it proves to be too much of a hassle for me to cover everything at night and uncover the next day.

I understand the drawbacks of using old windows, especially windows that aren't double paned or tempered glass. Breakability is always a risk but there are no children or large animals here and I do all of the yard/garden stuff myself so I won't be allowing any tractors, mowers, etc... or anything that could kick up debris close to the greenhouse site. The framing lumber will all be pressure treated and it as well as the wooden windows and the exterior wood siding will be either painted or stained and then sealed. The benches will probably be treated lumber with a reinforced 2x2 slat bench top. I already bought a stainless steel double sink at a salvage yard for $5.00 but haven't decided if it would be more practicle to place it in the center row bench or on the sidewall bench.

The interior layout will be a roughly three foot deep bench (actually multiple 3 ft deep X 4 ft long benches side-by-side forming one long 3 ft deep row) running the length of one side wall. It will also have a center row of back-to-back 3 ft. deep benches in the middle creating in effect one 6-ft wide bench top running almost the length of the greenhouse. I prefer back-to-back 3 foot deep benches as opposed to 1 6ft deep bench so that 1 person can easily move things around and reconfigure the design without having to ask for assistance. The other side wall will probably not have a bench in order to place larger potted shrubs/veggies at ground level or possibly have an in-ground planting bed. There will be a 3-foot wide aisle between the 6-foot wide center bench and each sidewall bench/planting area as well as a cut-through aisle in the middle of the center bench to connect the two main aisles. I will try to leave it adaptable so I can add a wall fan/vent, roof vent, etc...in the future if I find I need them. This greenhouse will have water, electricity and lighting and I plan to incorporate an adaptable zonal misting system that can be easily moved around to a different bench or removed altogether if need be. I have a similar set up in a homemade outdoor propagation box and a nursery bed.

If I can actually get it erected, sealed, at least 1 row of benches made and run the water and electricity to it by this winter I'll be happy. The moveable misting system, lighting, and the rest of the benches aren't as critical and I can work on those through the winter and Spring. I'll tackle the double-paning project next summer if I think I need it as well as add any additional heating or ventilation I may decide to add by next winter.

So....am I crazy?
Sincerely, Danielle


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Danielle, I'm not able to comment on your plans since I'm too new to greenhouses. I just wanted to say how impressed I am with the level of thoughtful detail you've already put into your plans and materials gathering. I daresay when you bump into your first challenge or problem it won't slow you down a bit (as mine have slowed me down.) You will probably already have three alternate solutions lined up! Good for you.

I'm really looking forward to hearing how things go for you, and I'd love to see pictures when you start building. Best of luck!
Sheri


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Thanks for the encouragement Sheri, I will definitely be posting some progress pics as it goes along. Right now the land for it is cleared and leveled and I hope to start construction this week.

Can you tell I was a little wired last night from the length of my previous post lol? No more caffeine for me.

Sincerely,
Danielle


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Wired? No, I was thinking energetic, determined, detail-minded and (perhaps) a bit stubborn. I am learning the stubborn part is invaluable in this process, and the rest can't hurt!

I'm a thinker-outer too. I flopped the position of the sink (in my mind) from the center to the outer bench in my little house about twenty times. Which is silly, since my GH is so small it's a move of about 3 feet. :-) The size of your greenhouse sounds wonderful.

Your courage to learn how to cut glass and to tackle recreating double-pane surfaces sounds like something I'd consider (and something that would make my patient family roll their eyes.) I felt right at home in your post. ;-)
Sheri


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Hello this is a great site i just hauled in a bunch of old windows they are 3 foot by 4 foot im looking at building a green house looking for some ideas dont know if i leave them in the frames or build a differant type of frame.these are real thick glass any ideas would be welcome thank you Ray


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Ray, whether to leave them in the frame or construct your own is up to you. I can tell you from experience getting them out can be EXTREMELY difficult depending on how the frames were constructed. What looks like 4 pieces of wood (assuming they're wood) nailed together are probably interlocking and strongly glued too and those types often have to be "torn apart" to remove the glass. It's not just a matter of pulling out the nails and prying the pieces apart. In doing so it's easy to break 1 or both glass pieces comprising what I'm assuming is a double-paned window by your description if you're not very careful. It doesn't take much pressure or a slip of whatever tool you're using and you've just damaged your glass. But it can be done....it's just alot of trouble. I've never tried to take apart an aluminum framed one before.

I finally got my planning done and I have all of the windows I need to complete the two long sidewalls and two gable end walls of my greenhouse as well as some on the roof if I choose to use windows up there too. They are heavy and it will be difficult so I haven't decided yet. Because of the window count my structure has expanded from an 18'x20' to a 21'x26'. I decided I'm too chicken to try to make the glass cuts myself so I'll be taking my pieces to a professional to make the custom cuts for the gable ends.

The wooden windows I collected have very thick frames 3-4 inches all the way around and I wanted as much light to come through the walls as possible. The glass only extends into the frame about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. So, I will be trimming off at least 2 inches all the way around with a power saw (CAREFULLY). Make sure you know how deep your glass is imbedded into the frame before doing something like this. If they're all the same the surest way is to take one apart for yourself even at the risk of damaging it. Then you'll know how the others are constructed, where the glass ends and how much room you have to play with. From what I've seen most wooden windows like mine are pretty standard and have the glass embedded no more than 1/2 an inch into the frame but it pays to be sure.

Good luck with your project!
Sincerely, Danielle


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

thanks danielle for your input one nice thing the glass can be taken out without cutting the frames


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

That's very cool ray7010....wish I had found windows that easy lol!

Danielle


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

i have about 20 old sliding glass doors. Does anyone have an idea or plan on how to make a green house out of these?
Any comments would be great!!


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Danielle,

Just wondering if you got a start on your project and if so, how it was coming along.
I am very impressed with your details and motivation for your greenhouse and would be interested in knowing how everything turns out.
Hope all is well!
Christie


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Hi Everyone-What a great thread! I live in on an island in SE Alaska and am desperately wanting a glass greenhouse. We have unbelievable winds here, and tried one of the vinyl ones last year, but after about the 5th time of it breaking loose from its tie-downs and rolling down the road (imagine a 50ish woman running down road chasing greenhouse), have decided it must be glass. Found a great deal at the local hardware store on some windows that did not fit, so were returned. very heavy, double paned windows, very heavy. They are all about 6 x 6 feet. Have about 10 or more Haven't got all the cases open, as they are heavy thick wood, and have been wanting to wait until we actually are ready to use them before taking off their protective packaging. We had one that we had opened to be broken this past winter by a rock thrown up from the snowblower as it passed (also took out my car window). Anyway-before I open them I want to be close to using them, but guess I will have to open to get their true sizes. I was so impressed with Danielle's thought process. She sounds a lot like me, except I have all these great ideas, but limitations with my body prevent me doing much of it myself... so I'm at the mercy of convincing my husband and son to do it for me. And, I'm VERY used to the rolled eyes. They just couldn't see things through my eyes. Anyway-I'm looking forward to future posts and will send mine, too! Sharon

Here is a link that might be useful: Sharon's Cabin on The Sound


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

This is a great thread, I just wish there were a few more pictures. We recently renovated our house and got all new windows. After some convincing my dad and I are going to build a greenhouse (I am still in graduate school so no house of my own yet) out of all the old windows. Two problems: yard nazis (village construction ordinances) and the site. (That story is another post).
However, I was putzing around in the garage the other day and came accross some old stained glass windows that were given to us from a friend. Anyone ever use them in the greenhouse? Some are pretty thick but no where as thick as the double pane glass of our old windows. I was thinking of using the windows for the sides of the greenhouse and triple wall poly for the roof. I thought some of the stained glass pieces for the odd-shaped areas would look kind of cool since I may not have a window for corners or above the door. Any ideas?


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

  • Posted by zachslc 6 Salt Lake City (My Page) on
    Thu, May 8, 08 at 18:31

Well, it's a start.

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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Thanks Zach (and kelly and javan too). Pictures are worth a thousand words. Zach, I don't notice a pitch to the roof.. will that be ok with snow cover? That cold frame is exactly what I wanted, to build, by the way if I have leftover windows. Do keep us posted as you progress, thanks


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

  • Posted by zachslc 6 Salt Lake City (My Page) on
    Wed, May 14, 08 at 23:37

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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Great info and such encouragement to me!
squirrellypete's info was just what I am looking for and hope you can post some pictures soon!

I have a bunch of aluminum windows that we took out last year, that I plan on using by framing them with 2x4's.

There was a program, on HGTV that showed a greenhouse this gal put together using old windows and framing them. It was really rustic and darling.

Thanks everyone for all the info!

It's hot here in the Dallas / Ft Worth TX area .. this spring / summer. I hope to have the Greenhouse up by fall so that I can grow all winter ...
Taking cuttings right now from tomatoes for that as well as
planting in ground!


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Great info and such encouragement to me!
squirrellypete's info was just what I am looking for and hope you can post some pictures soon!

I have a bunch of aluminum windows that we took out last year, that I plan on using by framing them with 2x4's.

There was a program, on HGTV that showed a greenhouse this gal put together using old windows and framing them. It was really rustic and darling.

Thanks everyone for all the info!

It's hot here in the Dallas / Ft Worth TX area .. this spring / summer. I hope to have the Greenhouse up by fall so that I can grow all winter ...
Taking cuttings right now from tomatoes for that as well as
planting in ground!


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

  • Posted by javan 9b n. coastalCA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 21, 08 at 18:52

Here is a bit of encouragement from the greenhouse pictured above: picture of ripe tomatoes taken on 6/20. Reuse those old windows! Jim

1st tomatoes of 2008 (Stupice)


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Nice Javan! Would love to see update of Zach's GH.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

  • Posted by zachslc 6 Salt Lake City (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 26, 08 at 16:15

I'm afraid mine looks about the same. However, the pergola on the other side of the yard is finished.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

  • Posted by javan 9b n. coastalCA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 4, 08 at 12:03

Okay, here is an update. One of the mistakes we made when constructing our greenhouse pictured above was with the roof. We used old windows like the rest of the greenhouse, not realizing that they would not drain properly. Consequently, we had water pooling on the roof, and leaking through despite every attempt at caulking. We decided we had to re-roof. Here is a picture of the original roof we did.
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When chatting with our new neighbor one day, we talked to him about the project of re-roofing. He is a general contractor, and he offered to do the job for us. We had 4 panels of what we thought were plexiglass to use on the roof. They did not quite give us the required length but we figured we could use fiberglass which we had to finish it off.

To make a long story short, our neighbor did the work, and does his work look more professional than ours! Here are some shots of the work as it progressed.

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On the last panel, when he was going to drill the plexi to fit it on the edge, it completely shattered into a million pieces, and we all realized we had tempered glass and not plexi. What to do? A sheet of glass of the correct size would have cost over $100, with plexi even more, so we went with a piece of fiberglass. Here is the completed roof.

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So that is the saga. We have a bit of caulking to do, but I think we will have a non leaky and draining roof in the future.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Looks good Javan!


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

This is such a fantastic thread!! I think I've read through it twice.

Issue with my Zone though, when I put in my zip code it says that I'm zone 5. But when I read about zone 8...about the Rain Forest in Washington...I knew that was my zone. I'm only 20 miles from the Hoh Rain Forest!! Interesting.

I have been collecting windows through freecycle.com. They have been aluminum (sp?) framed, out of modular/trailer homes that were getting replacements. I have been removing them from their frames to reframe in wood. They are double pane, but have stayed together rather well after removing them. Once I get enough I will then plan out where each window will go. I have an issue with thing not being symmetric so there will be that to deal with. And when I have a matching pair and I break one...oh the profanity that comes out of my mouth! Just gotta make sure the kids arn't around to hear old mom at her worst.

I'm lucky I get power tools for gifts, the table saw and router have been a blessing with the reframing.

I have no idea how to do the main GH frame to put all these wonderful old windows in. Any detailed photos of those that have been built would be greatly appreciated. I'm a visual sort of person. I guess that's why I've read this thread twice, still trying to compute all the information.

All of you builders in progress and those of you done, PLEASE post picture!!! They are wonderful to look at and great motivation for the rest of us!!!

Jennifer
Forks, WA


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Here's a photo of the greenhouse we built from salvaged windows and other materials 6 years ago.
It has stood up to the weather and conditions of south western Ontario very well and only required some recaulking and staining just this summer.
I keep heat in it all winter long to store a lot of tropicals, cactus and do a lot of propagating.

Here's a link to a long thread on how we built it with many photos.

Here is a link that might be useful: Greenhouse Built from Windows


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Well rats, I forgot to load the photo! Here it is...

Greenhouse, coldframe and veggie garden.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

This sounds like a great project. Green and fun! I would think a replacement window company would be a great way to get a decent selection of older windows for next to nothing. You could save them money from disposal and have a huge selection to sort through. In maryland, you could go to Thompson Creek Window Company in Landover, they do a lot of volume.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thompson Creek Windows


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Found this on my searches for ideas on how to build my GH from salvaged materials. I found it very inspiring and thought you all would too!

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Wise


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Here is a link to my blog with pictures of the greenhouse I built almost exclusively with recycled, reused or repurposed materials. I hope it is helpful. I also posted a similar link under "recycled greenhouse"- I hope it is not a problem to double post links.
David

Here is a link that might be useful: Salvaged material greenhouse pics and info


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

  • Posted by kudzu9 Zone 8b, WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 23, 09 at 17:42

I love your paint job...it looks like a greenhouse interpretation of a Mondrian painting!

Here is a link that might be useful: Mondrian


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Those who have reframed glass, has anyone had an issue with slots or rabbets either loosening and glass falling out or wood expanding and breaking glass? about how deep should I make slots and how much room for wood expansion and contraction, my area has very cold dry winters and hot very humid summers wooden structures go through a lot of punishment but looking to try it with some old glass I've gotten my hands on.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Sorry if I'm a newbie changing the subject here or jumping in, but I could use some help. I almost threw away 12 80x36 cedar framed single pane glass storm windows this morning before I coincidentally came across this thread and thought, "what an awesome idea!" After quickly driving across town to grab them from the refuse pile before the trashman did, I shared the idea with my wife who told me she had mentioned it to me about a year ago, so I guess it was one of those things I selectively chose to not hear. Anyway, we've recently moved into the country from town and have always wanted, but never had a GH. The previous owner left these windows in my way, luckily, because now we can have one! If anyone could answer a couple of question I'd greatly appreciate any help.

1) These things are glass, is this safe-assuming I build it right? It seems a little dangerous for some reason. (This is apparently the excuse I gave my wife for not doing this a year ago...he, he, he.)

2)What kind of venting do I need and where...i.e. roof?

3)Also what kind of heat? We live in NW Ohio and had temps as low as negative 20 this past winter. Is it possible to adequately heat a cobbled together glass house in that kind of temps without breaking the bank? I do have one of those oil radiator looking things...will that work?

4) Some people mentioned insulation. Are you talking the actual pink panther type stuff?

5) Potting bench, racks for storage..........I'm not sure what I need to include in the plans.

Thanks in advance and sorry for any amateur questions. My wife is the green thumb and I'm the black and blue one.......from hitting it with the hammer when I think I'm Bob Vila.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Ohioblackthumb,
Here are a couple of great references that will have the answers to all your questions, and much more.
"How to Build Your Own Greenhouse" Roger Marshall
"Greenhouse Gardener's Companion" Shane Smith
"Four Season Harvest" Elliot Coleman

Good luck!
David


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Well, I made a screen room from old windows, you can modify my design for a greenhouse...lol I will build a greenhouse the same way soon.
new palms
I used 2X4s and screwed all the windows to that, and installed it under a metal carport. Would work with clear roof too, I suspect. Might be easy to remove the metal top and install clear plexi or similar. Very cheap, and kinda of pretty.
curtains 2

Picked up all those windows (33) on ebay for 30$ total.. Had to drive to Atlanta to get them, but worth every penny.


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Excellent Idea

Did you say that you have the garage top AS the top of this. That's an excellent idea, the best use of windows so far. I have an exposed carport in my backyard that would be excellent for this idea. Do you have any pics of how you attached this to the carport structure? Did you joist it or did you just drill?

Here is a link that might be useful: greenhouse kits


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Hi,
Yes, its a carport roof...lol We measured the windows so they would fit into each opening between the "legs" of the carport. Then we attached them with L brackets screwed into the legs and the top of the window. Yes, we had to drill before we used the self-tapping screws. The hardest part was the long opening, but it affixed the same way. Lots of L brackets, and we then trimmed out around the screened opening. It is easiest if you can use some support in the middle of the wide opening. We used a mail box pound in the ground 4X4 suppport, and just ran the 4x4 all the way to the roof on both sides. This also supports the door. I can get better pictures of whatever you need. We love our Garden room, and it was done reasonably cheaply.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Most likely my criticism will be unpopular with most here, but I am simply in total awe and cannot control myself.

Aside from windyacre and kellyfg's greenhouse design contributions, the window selections and resulting fenestration of the other examples illustrated here, are simply . . . terrible! Just because the sash units are available (read - free and cheap), doesn't allow excuses for bad design decisions.

If a window is originally intended to be installed vertically - re-use it in that manner. It's OK to adapt and reuse salvaged windows - it's done successfully all the time. But - mixing units together with both horizontal and vertical aspect ratios - IMHO, lacks design continuity and recalls visions of third world shanty-towns.

To each his own, I suppose. Incoming . . . !

;-^)


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Yes, I think it will be...lol
I for one, prefer something a bit more "organic" than one design perfect. I have no problems with reuse of windows in any configuration that works. It isn't glamorous, it has a job to do.
Can't wait for finished photo's Zachsic. Looks to be a dandy greenhouse, Windacre thats just beautiful, I would be proud to have that Gh. Javan, that looks wonderful with the new roof, I see lots of green stuff growing in there. Great stuff, I want a GH!!!


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Hello,
My husband and I are building our greenhouse out of old windows and doors(yes they were free).One of my goals is not to have it look like a third world hovel (as archdiver states above).The other goals is to have a place to overwinter my outside plants and get a jump on spring plantings. It will be a small lean-to (5x7) built against our house. The sun exposure is so-so. After checking with our state extension office, they say the main concern with greenhouses in central Arkansas is overheating,even in the winter, so we feel we there will be enough light, plus heat from the dark brick house wall and we will have vents on both ends.I am showing a pic of the first wall in progress and will post others later.We are open for ideas.
greenhouse wall


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Im just at the start of my project and am collecting old windows now. Hurray for Craigslist and Freecycle. Yesterday I scored a gorgeoous old wood door with a glass pane in the center. Almost wish I had an old house for it.
Going to take my time collecting, researching and planning.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

A lot of beautiful work has been done! Especially by Wyndyacre.

Here is my own greenhouse. The blog link is at the bottom. I wish I had read a lot of this advice before building.

Here is a link that might be useful: my greenhouse blog


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Nice while it lasted. Well, those that have enjoyed looking at my Garden Room, I have bad news. Due to the property (I don't own, I rent) owners, the house, and my piece of the property has been forclosed on. I am in the process of tearing down everything I have built. I have no idea where I'm moving to, nor do I know how long I have to get my stuff (3 large carports, my Rv, storage building, yard stuff) off the property. I am so upset by all this you can't imagine.
No more Garden Room, in lovely green woods. I'm just sick about it. I found out last thursday, 4/21/10 so have been franticly tearing down, and looking for somewhere else to go. I have no idea how I'm going to get a 14 ft tall 24X36 carport down.. grrrrrrr


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

I am just starting this type of project myself. The windows have wood frames and I plan to use an elevated bank as the back wall. The other three sides and the roof will be open to the east and south sun. I just plan to use it in the winter and will probably just use our pond water or melted snow to water the plats so pipes don't freeze.

The windows are single pane and are about 100 years old. My husband is worried they will break and shatter easily but I figured they have withstood 100 years...I have some cement, waterproof roofing paint, bricks and rocks to use as well as the side of the hill. All the information you have posted here will also help!

Advice is welcome:) I'll be posting info as I proceed on my face book site.

Thank you! Susan

Here is a link that might be useful: my facebook


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

I've started one as well. I have all the windows, 3 sliding glass doors and french doors ready to go. I have the frame up and will start installing the windows this weekend. I'll post pics as well.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

So we just started building our second glass house. If you search under my user name you can find pics of the first one. We moved even before we got to finish that one so the new owner got a great perk with the house :) Got the foundation and floor in this weekend (now have to run down and get the building permit!) and am waiting on Home Depot for 2 16 foot beams I need for the top sides. This one will be 12 x 16 with 10 foot high walls and and an 8 foot ceiling peak. The first greenhouse was 8 x 12 with 8 foot walls and a ceiling height dictated by the windows I had. This new one will have a metal roof so we will have a much steeper pitch. I went to pick up some windows from a lady on Craigslist and she also threw in these 2 great old french doors - really narrow and tall. They will be the focal point of the building. Can't wait to get the walls up. It's like putting a puzzle together. Someone on my facebook page said:" You know you can build a pvc hoop and plastic greenhouse for about $250." I said it wasn't really going to be used as a greenhouse and I wanted something a lot nicer looking than that for my glass garden house. It has to fit in with my 1780 colonial.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

so I just looked at my last post when I said back in May that I was going to start to install my windows and now it's beginning of August and I haven't come very far. This is turning into huge ordeal, constantly buying extra materials (and I didn't even have to pay for any of the windows but it's still costing an arm and leg). It'll be great when it's done but it's killing me now!
greenhouse4

greenhouse5


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

There are a lot of very cool ideas on here! I found a few interesting ideas on Homesteadearth.com They were talking about using PVC for a Arc frame and plastic sheets to cover it. That sounds the least expensive,and on my skill level so I think I might try that one. THANKS for all the Great ideas on here guys, If it works out well, I'll put pics up soon!!

Here is a link that might be useful: http://homesteadearth.com/hoop-house-heaven/


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Update...

I replied to the OP when this thread first started almost 5 years ago, and mentioned that I knew of a site with plans for a greenhouse. That site is no longer on the Internet, but I keep getting emails from people asking about it. The only other info I have since run across is a Univ. of Tennessee Extension Service site that has a variety of free plans and blueprints for people wanting to build a greenhouse or other agriculture-related building. For those interested, the link is below.

Here is a link that might be useful: UT Plans


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

I just started my greenhouse out of old windows. I got the windows and door from the local radio station "swap shop"; the windows were free..the door was $25. As of now I have well....about $35 in it total minus a lot of labor. The cons of this project...if you get windows that are free or cheap make sure there aren't any termite damage to them. On the bright side you can salvage the glass to use in other windows with broken panes. Also, some of my windows were missing the glazing that provides the waterproof seal. I just turned them around and used the side that had been on the inside of the house originally(looked better too)and put the bad side to the inside of the greenhouse. Another con is you have to be very flexable when you are building the frame that holds the windows. Thankfully most of my windows were the same size but some still had to be trimmed to fit. I still have put the rafters and build the roof. Any suggestions on roofing material. The clear roofing is astronomical in price.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

I am trying to build a greenhouse out of old vinyl windows and pallets in a free standing lean-to style similar to the one pictured by javan. I am not a builder and in fact this will be my first thing i have built. I really really need help with the plans.


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RE: building a greenhouse out of old windows

Here's the 8' by 26' by 9' high cutie I added to my twinwall house last fall, All the windows are hinged; roof and sides.


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