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Caution Needed for Greenhouse Window

February 03, 1985|Dale Baldwin

The greenhouse window continues to rank as a premium feature in new construction. This charming addition also is becoming increasingly popular with owners of older homes who want to give their kitchens and breakfast nooks a fresh, new look and shelf space for potted plants.

Manufacturers have been quick to respond with kits in every size, price and materials. Some are made of aluminum, metal with bronze finishes, and wood with clear glass panels. Some are paned and variously vented, with simple contemporary lines or enhanced by decorative trim and supports, usually available through home-building supply and hardware stores.

The finished project will more than likely draw praise from neighbors and provide a source of endless pride that will far outweigh any temporary household disruption.

However, a word of warning.

Instructions on kits are rarely, if ever, altogether clear. Nor is one warned about the little gremlins or unforeseen obstacles one may have to contend with, such as the need to cope with improper sealing after a rainstorm.

It behooves the brave soul who tackles such a project to plan, plan, plan.

The job can be done in one day, actually costing between $200 and $300, and less than $500 if you need professional help with installation. In a recent kitchen project, that additional cost paid off since the area around the sink and window was being tiled and it was necessary to have the window realigned after a first unsuccessful amateur attempt.

A plumber was called to deviate the water pipe to another stud spacing prior to installation. In this project the problem was further aggravated by the fact that the walls of the house had shifted over the years.

Your window garden may be quite heavy, depending on the weight and number of plants you put in it. So, make sure your greenhouse window is securely fastened to your home. Additional supports, such as a 2-by-4-inch beam or heavy-duty wood shelf brackets are recommended.

A final word: when using furring strips, paint or stain them before installing and caulk under and around edges of strips for a better seal. For humidity control, place a pan with wet sand or crushed stone on the bottom shelf.

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