How to make a glazed greenhouse from old window frames

How to make a glazed greenhouse from old window frames

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Greenhouse from free material

As one of the "Seven Wise Men" of antiquity put it: "Through the window we see the world around us." Probably, this is partly why (but, of course, not only!) People, especially in recent years, are everywhere trying to improve both the performance of window frames and their glazing. And to meet these needs, more and more new types of windows appear.

Plastic, metal-plastic, aluminum, PVC, double-glazed windows, lead-free windows with energy-saving glass. And even "permitted" (though, it is not known by whom !?). And a great many others ... And sturdy Soviet-era glazed frames are thrown onto container sites in the yards. Looking at this constantly renewed abundance, I involuntarily asked myself the question: "Can it really be that these practically finished products cannot be used in business?" And I decided ... to build a greenhouse out of lying window frames.

Although I already had a wooden film greenhouse on the site, I intended to build a new one instead - with glass walls. But since the old wooden frame of the greenhouse was not suitable for the embodiment of my idea, I began to experiment in finding new materials for its construction, but with the use of window frames.

Empirically determined that almost any structure is suitable for the walls of the frame. The main requirement for them is that the window frames are not only securely fixed, but also, if necessary, can be easily removed. For this purpose, galvanized steel structures in the shape of the letter "P" and aluminum corners were very suitable. And if there is nothing at all suitable, you can build the top and bottom of the frame from wooden blocks, stitched together at right angles. I settled on the material, which I again picked up on the container site: I made the entire frame from metal corners with shelves of 36x36 millimeters.

However, before proceeding directly to the manufacture of the frame, it is necessary to decide which roof to choose: gable or single-pitched? Of course, for most gardeners, the first option looks more familiar. But a gable roof is more difficult in the device than a gable roof. In addition, more materials are required for its construction. Based primarily on these considerations, I chose a pitched roof.

Having estimated in place, he determined that the maximum length of the greenhouse is not more than 5.5 meters, and the width is not more than 2.5 meters. For these dimensions, and began to look for window frames. With a pitched roof, it is desirable that the frames of the higher (front) part are as high as possible than the lower (rear). This is due to the fact that the greater the slope of the roof, the faster the water will roll off it and the snow will slide off.

Although you can use any window frames, since the short ones can be placed on top, bottom or on both sides at the same time. When placing the frame, the bars should not be nailed (although this option is also possible), since there is always a danger of accidentally breaking the glass. It is much safer to fasten them with self-tapping screws with a length of 100 millimeters.

Picture 1:
a) front side; b) back side.
I - Corner; II - Place of welding "

To do this, 2-3 holes are drilled in the bars along the diameter of the screws, then the hole is countersunk (expanded) by about half the thickness of the bar so that the head of the screw is completely immersed to this depth. Window frames that are too high compared to the rest can be sawn off from the top or bottom. But this should be done very carefully, as they often contain nails.

Of the wide variety of window frames, I settled on the most common double frames. In them, the size of the inner frame is 690x1490, the outer one is 725x1525 millimeters. For me, this meant that the long (side) sides of the frame could consist of no more than seven window frames, which, taking into account the gaps between them, amounted to 5200 millimeters. Each end side of the frame consisted of three window frames, which was 2100 millimeters. I considered this width to be optimal, because when the beds are located on the sides of the greenhouse, with a passage in the middle, it is very convenient to work the soil and take care of the plants, since you do not have to reach for them. However, this is a purely subjective opinion.

Thus, I only needed eleven double window frames for the greenhouse, of which seven are larger (for the higher side) and eleven for the low and end sides. Two frames with vents are also needed. In addition, you need (just in case) to have one or two large and two or three smaller frames in stock. After all, glass is so easy to break ...

Figure 2

Two, and possibly more, window frames with vents are necessary for ventilation. The air in the greenhouse should not stagnate, as this directly affects the harvest. The better the ventilation, the greater the yield. I have, as you can see in the photo, the vents are in the middle end frames. But this is not necessary at all. The main thing is that they can be freely opened and closed without interfering with the plants.

Having collected the required number of frames (with a margin), I proceeded to construct a frame into which these window frames will be inserted. Practice shows that no matter what material the upper lateral sides of the frame are, with their length exceeding four meters, it is necessary to install an intermediate support-post. I have these two metal corners welded together (see fig. 1)... Otherwise, under the weight of the roof and under its own weight, the upper part of the frame will bend. And, not only can the frame deform, it also, pressing on the window frames, often damages the glass.

Figure 3

When making a frame, there is always a temptation to insert window frames into it as tightly as possible: so that there are no gaps between them. However, this measure is fraught with unpleasant consequences. Since in late autumn, winter, early spring, wood, when wet, swells, and, stuck by frost, begins to expand. But since the tightly fitted window frames do not give her such an opportunity, this will again be reflected in the glass. Snake-like cracks will certainly appear on them. Therefore, on each side of the window frame installed in the frame, a gap of at least 5 millimeters is required. And on top - even more.

The frame of a wooden greenhouse for window frames is no different from a film one. But since I was making a frame from metal corners, here the technology of its construction is completely different: more laborious and intricate.

Having picked up the necessary corners, I cut out the corners in them and got three designs, the same in shape, but different in size (see fig. 2)... In the fourth, end structure, I provided a door, so two additional posts were needed for it. Let's consider them as jambs. On each frame of the frame, in the vertical shelves of the upper and lower corners, I drilled seven holes to fix the window frames installed in them (see 3).

Figure 4. The dotted line shows the place of the fold

It was not difficult to weld the frames from the parts. It was much more difficult to fasten all four frame frames into a single whole. It is clear that each master is free to choose his own method of fastening, such as he considers the most suitable. I intended to connect all sides of the frame with lugs and bolts and nuts. I decided that two such connections at each corner are quite enough. Thus, a total of 16 lugs and 8 bolts and nuts were needed.

To make the ears, I took a steel strip 20 millimeters wide and 2 millimeters thick. Although you can use strips of any width and thickness. I cut the strip into 16 pieces, 40 millimeters each. All parts bent at right angles and drilled holes for M4 bolts (see 4)... Moreover, all the holes were at the same distance from the bend. And on four I additionally drilled holes for bolts. They will be needed when joining the frame frames of different heights. Having made the ears, I started assembling the four frame frames into a single structure. While still on earth ...

Figure 5.
1 - Ears. 2 - Bolt. 3 - Nut.

I installed two frames of the frame: end and side (smaller) at right angles to each other and on each of them I first tried on, then welded the ears in two places. Moreover, so that the holes in them completely coincide, as, for example, the ears for a padlock. If there is no welding machine, you can drill holes in the ears and corners of the frame and fix the ears on them using bolts and nuts (see 5)... In the same way, I fixed the ears on the other end of the smaller side of the frame. As a result, the three frames of the frame were fastened together. (see Figure 6).

But this method of attaching the frame frames to each other is not suitable for the junction of the end frames with the higher (front) frame of the frame. Since the side (front) frame of the frame is 1525 mm high, and the side (rear) frame is 1490 mm, the difference between them is 35 mm or 3.5 cm.But it is these three and a half centimeters that make up the roof slope. It is clear that this is very little. This means that this difference must be increased in order to increase the slope of the roof.

For this purpose, at the corner of the front frame of the frame, I fixed a beam with a thickness of 100 mm. To do this, I drilled three holes on a horizontal shelf, through which I fixed the timber with self-tapping screws. The roof slope was now 13.5 cm (3.5 + 10). But this was still not enough. In order to further increase the slope of the roof, I decided to lay the same timber on the base on which the greenhouse frame will be installed. I have it from old sleepers.

Figure 6

The base itself, which with a great stretch it is permissible to call a foundation, can be built from anything - from logs, blocks, thick boards, stones, pieces of steel pipes, posts made of brick and concrete. As a last resort, you can simply make an earthen embankment.

There is only one criterion: inside the greenhouse should not be too high, since in this case more heat will be needed in order to heat it up. But at the same time, its height should be such that it was possible to stand at full height, without bending into three deaths, when caring for thermophilic crops. As a result, the timber laid on the base increased the roof slope to 23.5 cm.

Figure 7.
1. Frame made of metal corners. 2. Sleepers.
3. Additional bars for height.
4. Additional door stands.
5. Holes in the corners for securing the window frames.
6. Lugs fastening the frame frames at the corners.

After installing all parts of the frame on the base, the joint of the end frames with the front frame clearly shows its advantage in height, which will ensure the drainage of precipitation. Now, when you can see where and at what height the ears of the end frames adjoin the front frame, you can install them on it. Naturally, fitting them under the ears on the end frames. To complete the complete assembly of the frame, all that remains is to tighten the nuts at all joints so that the whole structure stands, as they say, "tightly". As a result, I got a ready-made frame. (see fig 7).

The next operation is the device of the greenhouse roof. To do this, wooden crossbars are laid on the walls of the frame (we will conditionally call them beams), on which a plastic film will be laid. Beams can be of any cross section, but such that they do not bend is desirable. And besides, such a length that on each side there is an overhang of at least 15 cm. Moreover, the overhangs on each side must be of the same length. Although it is quite possible to do without overhangs, in this case it is necessary to fix the film directly on the window frames.

The distance between the beams is no more than 40 centimeters. If this distance is greater, then at the lower end of the roof slope, a so-called "bag" may form on the film, in which water will accumulate, and the film will begin to sag. In the gap between the beams (40 cm), you need to insert bars of exactly the same thickness as the beams themselves. That is, the beam and the block must be flush.

After all these operations, you can insert the prepared window frames into the frame. Of course, taking into account the gaps between them. Only self-tapping screws should be used to fix window frames in the frame frames. Do not use nails, as impacts on the frame could accidentally break the glass.

When I installed seven frames on each side, it turned out that on the bottom (back) side there was a gap of slightly more than 20 centimeters wide. It was formed because the window frames on the smaller side of the greenhouse are 690 mm wide, and on the larger side - 725 mm. This difference, multiplied by seven (as many window frames were used), gave the same 20 centimeters. I covered this gap with a strip of thick plastic film. (see photo)... The gaps between the inserted window frames from the inside and from the outside were sealed with plywood strips to prevent drafts and rain jets.

The installation of window frames into the frame did not cause much trouble, the difficulty arose when installing the door. To hang it, I had to drill three holes in the vertical shelves of the corners for the door hinges. And two more for the hook (latch). I have provided a window on the door, but this, as they say, is optional. It can be on any end or side frame.

It remains only to lay the plastic wrap on the beams in whole or in parts. It should be laid with an overlap on all sides. The overlap from the end sides is necessary so that it covers the space between the roof beams and the upper corners of the end frames (see photo).

If there are overhangs, then the ends of the film must be pressed against the ends of the beams. Otherwise, the wind will ruffle the ends of the film. And not only will they rustle and clap, hitting the frame and creating unnecessary noise, the film will also begin to tear.

So that the earth does not crumble from the beds, I dug in sheets of iron along the entire length of the greenhouse, propping them up with pieces of metal pipes driven into the ground. The passage in the greenhouse was covered with sawdust.

The greenhouse, built by me from the window frames thrown out by the townspeople on the container sites for garbage, gave a bountiful harvest of cucumbers and tomatoes. And this is understandable. After all, the plants received sunlight and heat not through a dull yellow translucent plastic film, but through completely transparent glass. In addition, glass is an excellent heat insulator. It accumulates and retains heat well in the greenhouse and at the same time does not let cold outside air into it. And one more thing: the greenhouse very much decorated the site. This is by no means only my opinion.

It is clear that my version of a greenhouse made of window frames is not at all the only one and is far from ideal. However, based at least in a small degree on my experience, build your greenhouse taking into account specific, specific conditions, and your work will pay off handsomely. And, faced with difficulties (and they will undoubtedly be), in no case give up and do not retreat. In any, even a seemingly hopeless situation, look for a way out. And I am sure that you will always find it, and then everything will work out for you. What I wish you with all my heart ...

Alexander Nosov
Photo by Olga Solovieva

Watch the video: Glazing the Greenhouse