Installing a greenhouse window is a great way to grow herbs, flowers, or even small vegetables all year long without going to the expense of building a greenhouse or even leaving the house to harvest.
What is a Greenhouse Window?
Greenhouse windows are windows that jut out from the profile of the house, allowing the window to catch more light. There is a sort of shelf at the bottom of the window on which you can place containers of herbs, flowers, or even tropical houseplants.
The big advantage of installing a greenhouse window is that it gives you a longer growing season by allowing you to grow plants indoors that otherwise would be unhappy there. It's the perfect addition to a kitchen window so that you can have herbs or edible flowers at your fingertips all year long.
Choosing a Greenhouse Window
There are several different brands of greenhouse windows on the market, but the main choice you will have to make is whether you want an aluminum or vinyl window. Both windows will have rounded corners for safety and a clean look, and most come with adjustable tempered glass shelves to put plants on.
Vinyl greenhouse windows have an extruded aluminum frame for extra strength and durability, so they install like an aluminum window but perform like vinyl. Both types of windows have side vents to control air flow.
Both are good choices, but vinyl has less conductivity, meaning that you'll get more heat in your window. It also has more resistance to condensation than an aluminum window.
If you choose a basic white vinyl window, you'll never have to worry about the paint peeling off, because it is white to the core. This can save you on maintenance costs in the future. However, it's a good idea to go with the material that your other windows are made of to keep a cohesive look.
Here are some of the vendors you might want to consider for installing a greenhouse window:
Window costs vary widely depending on whether you need a custom size or color. Some greenhouse windows can be integrated into a kitchen countertop so the countertop tile extends into the window, but make sure your chosen model can support the weight of both tile and plants before you go this route.
Make sure you know the proper way to measure your window to get the right fit. Some dealers say that the new greenhouse window can be slightly larger than your existing window, while others recommend a more exact fit.
If the exterior of your house is flat, you can mount the window directly onto the surface of the house. If not, you'll need to install strips of wood that are at least three-quarters of an inch thick to give the window a solid foundation.
Use lots of caulk and deep fasteners that can latch onto the framing of the house. Also, be sure to recess the bolts or screws you use so there is a completely flat surface to install the window on.
Caulk around your new window frame and, with helpers, hold the window into place. The bottom of the window should line up with your old windowsill. Then just attach the window, again with screws long enough to penetrate the framing. Make sure the window is level as you go. Caulk again once the window is installed.
It's also a good idea to install support brackets on the exterior of the house to help hold up the window and support the weight you are going to put on it. Failure to use supports on large windows may void your warranty, so make sure you check with your dealer for more information.
Having a greenhouse window in your home is a great way to extend your growing season and to bring your love of gardening indoors.