This is a brief guide on how I took some old windows from houses they where tearing down in my neighborhood and turned them into a small greenhouse in my back yard. I collected the windows over the course of a year and a half and the build took about 3 months, spending one day a week on it. I spent about $300 for the lumber for the frame and screws, caulk, latches, etc. That's almost 10% of what a greenhouse kit would cost. The size I built was 7 ft high x 10 ft deep x 6 ft wide. But the size of your greenhouse will depend on your windows and the time you want to put into project.

Step 1: Collect Windows and Plan Two Pair of Equal Sides.

Look for old windows and save every one you get. After you have many, lay them out and play a game trying to make two pairs of "walls" both the same height. Two to three inches won't matter as you can cover the difference with wood. Smaller holes will need to have glass cut for them or filled with something else. Keep in mind that one end will need a door and the other a hole for a fan.
When our local community gardening group was offered a bunch of windows by a guy who was remodelling an old house, we were told by our local county extension office that building a greenhouse from discarded windows was a bad idea because of the possibility of injury due to broken windows. Greenhouses should be paned with shatterproof substances because regular household window glass could break badly and seriously injure someone inside the greenhouse. Just a caveat.<br />
A warning about single pane ordinary glass hazards is warranted, <strong>BUT...</strong><br> <br> There should be no regulation preventing the use of used windows with single pane, single or double strength glass.<br> <br> I to am in the process of trying to collect enough old windows to build a greenhouse of a reasonably usable size.<br> <br> In the meantime, I got really lucky when a couple of neighbors replaced their large &quot;patio&quot; sliding glass doors.&nbsp; They&nbsp;each consisted of TWO glass panels [one fixed and the other sliding], giving me FOUR large double glazed&nbsp;[insulating] panels.<br> <br> And the REALLY good thing about them is that they are both made with TEMPERED glass which is genrally much stronger, AND IF broken, shatters into hundreds of small &quot;pebble-like,&quot; pea gravel sized pieces which are not as dangerous as the shards from broken ordinary glass.<br> <br> Not yet having enough windows collected to build a greenhouse, I used the 4 double insulated panels to make four COLD FRAMES,&nbsp; which work great.&nbsp; Because of&nbsp;being double pane insulated panels, they each are very heavy, but with proper [ergonomically speaking] handles and automatic [gravity-pendelum action] prop rods, they are managable.<br> <br> I made the cold frame bases of treated 2x4 framing, with the cavities filled with discarded Styrofoam sheeting&nbsp;[picked up wherever found discarded], covered with 1/2 inch treated plywood on the outside, and 1/2 inch untreated, but exterior grade,&nbsp;plywood on the inside.&nbsp; I then lined the interior walls with a construction&nbsp;water barrier film&nbsp;to give some limited protection to&nbsp;the plywood.&nbsp; To facilitate replacement of the interior plywood wall panels if it should ever be needed, I assembled the entire structure&nbsp;with Galvanized drywall screws.<br> <br> Before varnishing, I carefully caulked all exterior crevices that might allow entry of weather [wind or water].&nbsp; Finally, ALL outside wood exposed to weather was sealed with a properly applied [per label directions]&nbsp;triple coat of Polyurethane Varnish.<br> <br> Unfortunately, I have no photos, AND have sold both cold frames a few years back.&nbsp; A&nbsp;&quot;out-of-towner&quot; guy&nbsp;made me an offer I couldn't refuse [$500 each], and so I've got to start over in the process of collecting tempered glass double insulated panels.
Yes glass breaks. Put some gloves and safety glasses in and mindful that it shatters. Once long ago there was a land without plastic and practicality reigned supreme. Anyway you can X tape them to control the breakage.
<p>hi, yes breakage is always a consideration when working with glass. I have old windows, some of which are still in my house LOL.... Until they get replaced, I strengthened them with 3M clear packing tape. I just cleaned the window glass &amp; then laid down strips of the tape over it, with a slight overlap at edges. Most bubbles pressed out but some persisted until I pricked them with a pin, then I could press them out. These are going to be replaced &amp; I did this on the &quot;storm windows&quot; which get put over the regular windows every fall &amp; taken down every spring. I do plan to re-purpose those &quot;storms&quot; when we replace those windows with something a LOT more efficient, as we have the others. A little at a time, ya know? ...anyway I wanted the protective clear film one can simply trim to size &amp; lay over the glass (it's adhesive-backed) but could not find any in my area. The strips of packing tape were a compromise.</p>
that is why many use clear corrugated plastic sheeting for the roof, and windows for the walls. This also helps create moddled lighting as most plants prefer that to full sun and it will greatly decrease the odds of them burning, especially in a higher ambient humidity. :)
I have three greenhouse, and used regular windows for the construction. They have been in use now for more than 11 years, and with only five broken window panes. One from Hurricane Opal, the other four normal accidents that would have broken just about any window.
my sisters inlaws had a green house two people used for years and years....no such problems except weather and age...breaking windows...They even had dogs and cats around.<br>
, you gave me associations to some thriller movie now. Can't remember what it was called, but a lady got &quot;murdered by greenhouse&quot;... I just love the greenhouse here, it is just sooo beautiful! Make me want a mini version for my balcony! Mine wouldn't be a walk-in model though, but rather a &quot;closet&quot; version... :)
I'm sure the name of the movie is &quot;The hand that rocks the cradle.&quot;
Gotta love the Nanny State....
[shrugs] not saying we didn't still use the windows! but people should have all the information when looking at a project so that they can make an informed decision.
They shouldn't have scared you like that. In Chicago we have many turn of the century greenhouses still in operation using mainly mainly single paned glass. <br />
<p>Awesome green house, thanks for the idea &amp; instruction. My will be much small but still used all your instructions.</p>
<p>brilliant! thank you for such detailed instructions, I am hoping to make a conservatory out of old windows lol</p>
<p>i kind of made one ? :)</p>
<p>Very nice!</p>
Nice! Great looking cold frame!
<p>Thank you for sharing! I love it!</p>
<p>Just scored a few big windows today for my own version of this. Thanks for all the tips!</p>
<p>Okay, I see there is more directions...(duh). So you are saying you exchanged the roof for windows for more light. I like the gutter idea..I have a bunch of them so its great I can use them.</p>
<p>Cheft: could you be more explanatory about the foundation. I see in the pic, you have two boards attached to the 4x4. Did you leave them Both in? How did you attach the windows? Hinges? Screws? I have been collecting windows and want to do this, this summer. I am going to attach it on one side to a garage...any suggestions? </p>
<p> ABSOLUTELY AWESOME !!!!!!!! Love the reuse aspect. </p>
<p>Another good source for old windows is Freecycle.org - you join one of the online groups that's in your own community - I moderate the one for Storrs CT. It's free. On these sites, you ask for/offer items. Always free. I see old windows offered on my site every month or so. And if you post a &quot;Wanted&quot; - you might just inspire someone to part with old windows sitting in their garage, barn, etc.</p>
<p>my husband and i have been collecting glass doors and old windows in hopes to build something very similar to this!! awesome inspiration!! absolutely love it! can't wait for spring so we can start on ours! woohoo! (wow - sorry about all the exclamation points, but this kind of stuff gets me excited. LOL) :o)</p>
Great idea my wife mentioned this earlier tonight and look what pops up while browsing. Well I started collecting window tonight and hop to be able to get some better weather to work on this in my project garage and have it ready to go by spring. Living and gardening in MN make for some tough to do winter projects but I always mange to pull it off. Thanks for a good set set of plans and how to's they may come in handy.
Look, you're an inspiration! <br>See how awesome you are? <br>http://homes.yahoo.com/blogs/spaces/young-couple-quit-jobs-build-glass-house-500-204553074.html
Inspirational stuff! I want something similar but smaller and probably a fair bit simpler in my own garden and this has given me lots of ideas. Many thanks
Wow this is such a great use of old <a href="http://www.canadianbuilt.com" rel="nofollow">windows </a>. This is such an original idea! I have a lot of old windows in Ottawa that I could use to make one of these.
Wow this is a way better use for <a href="http://www.pellabaltimore-dc.com/FortheHomeowner/Windows.aspx" rel="nofollow">window replacement washington dc</a>. Thanks for this man.
Is a green house the same thing as a green home? I heard someone talking about a green home and I wasn't quite sure what she meant by it. She said that there are lots of <a href="http://www.healthyhomeslasvegas.org" rel="nofollow">green homes in las vegas</a>. Is that true? Thank you for your help!
Amazing! I'm doing this with all of my old <a href="http://www.goldenwindows.com/about.php" rel="nofollow">windows in London</a>, ON. Thanks for the useful instructable!
Thanks for the post, I think that making a <a href="http://www.thegrowingplace.com" rel="nofollow">garden center</a> out of windows is a very awesome and creative idea. But that looks like a lot of windows though, I still think that it's pretty awesome.
I've been thinking of getting some <a href="http://www.pellanewengland.com/ForTheHomeowner/Windows.aspx" rel="nofollow">replacement windows in Boston</a>. I would love to get some soon. I will have to try this out.
I love this idea. I live on an old property with a bunch of scraps from an old barn and tool shed in <a href="http://www.goldenwindows.com/about.php" rel="nofollow">London. The windows</a> I have will work perfectly for this project. Thanks again.
What a genius idea! I bet it save a lot of money to do the <a href="http://www.canadianbuilt.com" rel="nofollow">windows Ottawa</a> like that. My dad has three of those huge commercial green houses and if he saw this he would die. Everything gets so expensive that this would be so much better than so many things. I can't wait to show this to him! Thanks for sharing!
I really like this idea! I am needing to do some <a href="http://www.acmewindows.net" rel="nofollow">window replacement in Plainfield NJ</a> and this is a great idea for the old windows. Thanks.
That's a really creative way to use the old <a href="http://www.pellabaltimore-dc.com/FortheHomeowner/Windows.aspx#.UGoX-41lT9U" rel="nofollow">baltimore replacement windows</a>. I'm going to have to give that some time.
Have you checked out <a href="http://www.centralcityremodelers.com" rel="nofollow">Central City Remodelers</a>?
i seen these here but i think i would like all the windows to be the same size and use a pole to open and close the top vent and have a closable window where the fan goes so when we have a bad winter i can close it.
Nice green house-type <a href="http://www.pnrscreens.ca" rel="nofollow">windows</a>! My wife bought something similar but a lot smaller... It worked out great for her flowers and plants.
Are the screws affixing the windows to the frame on the outside? Great glasshouse by the way: )
This is such a cool little place for the plants to grow! I love all the tiny <a href="http://www.whiteelmcontracting.com/" rel="nofollow">windows and doors</a>. Thanks so much for sharing this with everyone and me. It is great information and such a good instructable. I have been looking to make something like this. Thanks!
Genius! Will favorite this one.
That's AWESOME! I commend your ingenuity and helping to save the planet by recycling! Kudos! Thanks for sharing!
&quot;Choose a length that allows at least 14&quot; of the stud to be placed in the ground for support.&quot;...as in buried in the ground like a post? standard non-treated 2x4's?
Yes, bury it in the ground for support. Any wood in contact with soil should be pressure treated, otherwise you'll be replacing them in just a few years due to rot. Good Luck!
nice touch with the dutch door...easy to convert from any existing door you might have around..<br>
this is exactly what i have been saving those windows for in my garage. I will be clearing some area near my compost pile.... what a great idea and thanks for the step by step!. I live outside of Chicago...
Love this idea!

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