As you are planning for your greenhouse, don’t forget one of the most critical elements, the floor. What you might not know is that floors are the foundation of a greenhouse in many ways. An improper floor can be highly counterintuitive to what you are trying to accomplish, so much care needs to be put into both material and installation.
Floors need to allow for proper drainage, they need to insulate the greenhouse and contents from the cold, keep weeds out, and be comfortable to work on. There are many greenhouse flooring options available, so be sure to research carefully and make the best choice for your needs.
Prior to installing any floor, decide what is most important between how much time you will be spending in the greenhouse, how long various flooring materials last, whether you will be installing yourself, and your budget. The good news is, there are many options to choose from.
Here are some options
The ideal flooring material is poured concrete. Unfortunately, this is often the most expensive choice and is cost-prohibitive for many homeowners. Concrete is easy to clean, easy to walk on, and, when installed correctly, will allow for adequate drainage. Another great advantage of concrete is that it reflects light and will stay warm during the day. This is an added bonus if you live in a colder climate.
Crushed stone or gravel
If your greenhouse foundation is made of wood, you can lay a weed barrier down and cover it with small stones or gravel. This floor is not only easy to install but also drains well and won’t break your bank. Install a walkway using wood to make getting around your greenhouse a little easier.
Sand and bricks
There is one great advantage to this method of greenhouse flooring, brick increase the humidity, which is usually an excellent thing for a greenhouse. When using bricks, a layer of sand must be laid first and raked until level, which improves the stability of the floor. If bricks are your first choice, try to source them locally on the cheap. A lot of times, people are getting rid of bricks, so check your local online selling groups and yard sales before shelling out for new ones. Once you lay the bricks over the sand, pour more sand over the top and brush it between the cracks.
You will see these mats used in large commercial greenhouses because they are not only versatile, but they also offer excellent drainage, keep the weeds at bay, also deter pests. To install weed mats, simply stretch them and staple them down.
While wood mulch is not recommended for a greenhouse floor as it doesn’t drain particularly well and can attract pests, rubber mulch can be a viable alternative. The only downside to rubber mulch is that when used in a humid environment, it may emit an odor, especially if your greenhouse is on the small side. Also, keep in mind that rubber mulch can be a little difficult to walk on.
Not only are rubber mats easy to clean, but they are quite comfortable to stand on, and If you get the ones with holes, offer good drainage. Be sure that the ground is level before placing the mats on the floor. You can even take them out and hose them off from time to time to keep them free from debris and help them last longer.
Sod or artificial turf
If you have a larger greenhouse, sod might be a good choice for you. Not only is it organic, but it also drains well and provides aesthetic value. Consider using another material under your tables and have sod walkways that are easy to mow and care for. One thing to keep in mind with grass is that it absorbs light, so it will minimize the ground reflectance to your plants. If you are using grow lights, this won’t be a major concern. Another possible issue is that grass makes an excellent environment for pests and bacteria and fungus. You need to be aware of the potential downfalls of real grass if you plan on using it. If you aren’t up for real grass, try artificial turf. It is incredible how real fake grass can look. Plus, it is virtually maintenance-free.
If you happen to be lucky enough to live close to a big city that has a home and garden show, you should take a visit and see all of the new and upcoming options available for your greenhouse floor. Excellent products are being developed all the time. You might just see something that tickles your fancy!