The Q&A Archives: Glass Replacement For Old Greenhouse

Question: I just bought a house which has an attached greenhouse on the south side. The structure is older and some of the double glass windows have broken and been boarded up with plywood. We live in a four season climate - lots of snow.

I'm interested in reviving the greenhouse, and would like to learn about products & sources for greenhouse glass or plastic windows. The material should be smooth (not corrigated or textured), in order to maintain the view out the windows. It will also need to be somewhat impact resistant because snow slides past the windows which are at an angle to the roof. Since this was a custom built structure, the material will need to be cut to the right size and shape (hopefully we will be able to do this ourselves).

Thank you!

Answer: Although ordinary window glass can be used in greenhouses, there are a number of greenhouse glazing materials including dual walled plastics and even plastic sheeting available for sale to home gardeners. Some of these will discolor over time and reduce visibility and light transmission so it is a good idea to read manufacturer's claims carefully. Charley's Greenhouse Supply for example (1-800-322-4707 offers several types. You will also find many advertisements for home greenhouse materials and supplies in current issues of gardening magazines. There are many factors to consider when renovating a greenhouse in addition to which glazing material to use, so before making any decisions you might want to read up a bit on greenhouse basics. This article from the University of West Virginia Extension might be a helpful beginning. Good luck with your project!

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