Greenhouse construction from recycled materials

These days people are getting more concerned about thermal insulation given the savings that is can generate in the monthly heating bill. Thanks to that, recently we received a set of old windows from a refurbishment that we thought would match perfectly with our plans of having a greenhouse by the southern wall of our barn, in the garden.

The windows are 20 years old, but remain in perfect state of conservation. It is  a set of 14 units about 50 cm wide by 150 cm tall, so if we use them in pairs for facade and roof, we can get covered an area of about 140×350 cm, enough for extending a bit our winter consumption of vegetables.

The first stage in every construction is the preparation of foundations. We will make a trench of about 40 cm wide and 30 cm deep to serve as a transition between our front wall and our wooden structure.

Greenhouse wall
The wall lies on a 40 x 40 foundation made of stones and, alternatively, cement. The bottom of the ditch must be conveniently compacted by ramming it with a trunk or a maze. The wall supports the wooden structure for the windows.

We have some wood in our land, particularly young acacias which, when straight, are excellent for structural purposes. They will be supported of top of the wall and will serve to keep the windows together, not so much to withhold heavy loads, so their configuration doesn’t need to be very complicated. Besides, we are counting on the massive 50 cm wide wall of the barn to support the roof and an old masonry-brick structure we have in the corner, so no problems regarding statics are expected.

Greenhouse wood
The wooden substructure is meant to keep the windows together. It will be made out of young acacia strips of about 10 x 10 cm. The massive wall of the barn and an old masonry structure in the corner will carry most of the weight.

Eventually, we will attach the windows to the structure. If the previous step was done correctly, there should be not much gaps between the windows and the beams.

Greenhouse windows
The windows will be attached to the structure by means of screws. The previous step should be done carefully so that the windows fit correctly.

By all means, we will need to seal off the joints. The most effective method is to recycle a few old clay tiles also available from the neighborhood and attach them with some long screws. This will avoid the need to resource to expensive silicon joints or putting more cement.

Greenhouse tiles
The tiles in the joint between the structure and the windows will protect against the entry of rain water.

So, let’s get busy!

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