So you’ve finally replaced those old doors and windows, but what do you do with them? Don’t throw them out on the curb just yet. If you’re thinking about building a greenhouse, those old doors and windows will come in handy. For one thing, you will definitely save money on building materials. It can also be quite a fashion statement in your backyard if you make the effort. Even if you don’t have your own, you can always collect them from other sites. If there is renovation going on in your neighbour’s or friend’s house then that might be a good source for your recycled building materials.
The Advantages of a Greenhouse
If you never previously thought of building a greenhouse, then here are a few advantages worth considering. For one thing you will be able to grow plants in a controlled environment that do not depend on local weather conditions. This includes plants that are not native to your region or climate. Naturally they will have protection from the elements and pests. Finally, you will have greater control over your produce, and your food or medicine bill could be significantly reduced.
Planning for Your Greenhouse
The first thing you should do is to find out the building code. You wouldn’t want all your hard work to be for nothing, so do some research online or call the city office.
Think about how large you want your greenhouse to be. This will determine the number of old doors and windows you would actually need. An eight by ten foot greenhouse could potentially house up to 100 plants. Also, pick a building site where there is plenty of sun.
Look at professional designs. Although these designs won’t fit your greenhouse perfectly, they will still give you some good ideas on how to use the windows and doors effectively. You should also make a sketch of it so that you have clearer idea of what you might want. You may likely need some additional building materials (these can be used materials as well).
Pairing Your Windows/Doors
Once you’ve collected your windows, lay them out side by side. Ideally they should be of the same design, but if they are not you can always fill the gaps between them with wood.
Use your windows/doors as a guide when constructing a frame for the walls of the greenhouse. For this you would need some good quality lumber, so try to get them new rather than used or old. You should use 2 x 6 or 2 x 4 lumber and insert them onto a flat surface. When you are attaching your windows to the frame, hammer/drill nails through the window frames. Alternatively you can use deck screws to allow for easy replacement or removal, if it is necessary. Your walls should be well braced and level so that they don’t fall over.
One way to avoid building permit complications is to avoid using a concrete foundation. You can use cinder blocks instead to stabilise the corner posts.
Any roofing materials you use should be lightweight and waterproof. It should also allow for sufficient lighting to enter the house and be designed to let water run off easily. You can create a roof out of windows and doors just as you would the rest of the greenhouse. If it’s possible, design the roof where parts can be easily opened or shut tight.
Bubble wrap is makes for excellent heating in your greenhouse and you can get them from any garden supplier. Choose a wrap that has large bubbles, as the larger the bubbles the more light it lets in. Horticultural fleece is another good option for those nights that are extra chilly. Just remember that fleece should only be used at night and removed in the daytime for sunlight to come in.
A final suggestion would be fan heaters. They are effective at moving air around efficiently so that there aren’t any cold spots.
Painting is entirely optional here. It depends on your personal preference and style. If you want your greenhouse to have a uniform look, then put a coat of paint on the boards that hold the window panes together. But if you prefer that it has a “natural” look then you can leave it as it appears.
Further Suggestions for Sourcing Materials
There are lots of places for obtaining old windows and doors. Scrap yards, auctions and Habitat for Humanity are good places to start. Online sites such as Craigslist and eBay are other places to buy used doors and windows. Sometimes people even leave materials on the curb for anyone to collect-including old doors and windows.
So now you know what you can do with your old windows and doors! If you haven’t replaced them yet, consider contacting Clera Windows and Doors. We have a range of selections that would certainly suit your home at a good price. It’s green with the old and in with the new!