How to Restore a Greenhouse

There are a number of reasons for restoring an old greenhouse over buying a new one.


greenhouse restorationNot only do you get the overall joy from recycling something already in existence (and helping the environment in the process) but you can save yourself quite a bit of money by doing repairs on an existing structure.

So when faced with the choice to tear down and start new or to restore, consider how much easier and cost effective it is to make repairs.

The process in restoring a greenhouse depends on the type you have. Taking each job in steps makes the process much less daunting then trying to take on the entire job all at once.


Traditional Frame Greenhouse

greenhouse troubleshootingStart with a good inspection. Look for water stains, rot, and weak areas on joints.

Two by four boards are good for bracing as are joint brackets.

Four-inch galvanized nails should be deep enough to secure the board to the existing wood.

Fasten the braces with the nails on an angle and place them four to six inches apart. Once your frame is secure again, you could consider a few coats of sealer or water proofing.


  • Move to the surfacing material.
  • Any plastic or glass that is damaged on the sides or roof of the greenhouse should be replaced.
  • A cordless drill works to get screws that are holding the piece in place.
  • If they were nailed or stapled you may need a claw hammer or sturdy screw driver.
  • Damaged surfacing in the form of rigid panels should be disposed of after all nails, staples, or screws are removed from them.
  • If you encounter nails or fasteners holding the frame together you will want to check that they are tightly secured.
  • Once you have the old material off you need to chose if you want the same surfacing or something different.
  • If you only need to replace a few panels, then you can use the old ones to get a size estimate on what you need for repairs.
  • If most of it came off or you chose to go with a different covering you will want to measure the structure itself to get an estimate of how much you need.
  • A tape measure is good for this, and the length by width measurements multiplied together will give you the square feet of material you should get.
  • You may wish to go just a bit more to make sure you have enough.


greenhouse replacementFor a film covering you will want to lay it out and measure it for the roof and walls. Panels should be measured for length.

A utility knife should be enough to cut the material to the correct size. Once you have it measured, the placing the covering can be done by rolling it and placing it on the frame if it is a film.

Panels should be slid into place. Tack them down with a staple gun from the top beam and work down.

A film covering should have a few extra measures taken. Like the attachment points should be a rolled under location to provide more strength where it is tacked to the frame.


High Tunnel Greenhouse

high tunnel greenhouseThese all use a film covering.

If the frame is PVC pipe then there is little worry about damage to the frame.

Polyvinyl coatings used to surface these structures typically lasts only a few seasons, however.

Depending on the age of the structure you will want to inspect for cracks in the PVC and replace it as needed..


  • Begin by removing the staples from the cover and frame.
  • Inspect both cover and frame for damage.
  • The more expensive plastics used for greenhouse construction last longer then cheaper materials.
  • You can patch tears by cutting patches of greenhouse plastic.
  • After cleaning the covering with warm soapy water you can apply the larger pieces on both the inside and outside of the damaged area.
  • Double-sided polyvinyl patching tape should be used to secure the patches to the original surface.
  • Make sure there are no bubbles in the patched area.


greenhouse repair kitThe frame should have broken pieces replaced with gray PVC piping.

Before you go to place the cover back on add a wire to the top of the greenhouse and secure it by wrapping it around each of the greenhouse ridges.

This will help stabilize the structure.

You should also paint the PCV to make it more resistant to UV rays.

Once the paint is dry then put the cover back on and staple it into place.

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