The Best Greenhouse Flooring Materials
A DIY greenhouse floor has to serve not only you, but your plants as well. The floor has to do many jobs: it has to ensure good drainage, it has to insulate the greenhouse from the cold seeping in from the outside, it has to prevent weeds and pests from coming in and it has to provide comfortable surface for you to walk on.
If you poured a concrete slab for your greenhouse foundation, you have a perfect floor as a bonus. Concrete, especially if it is insulated, provides an excellent floor, easy to clean and to walk on. If poured properly, it has sufficient slope to drain away the excess water. It is easy to place benches on and it offers you an easy surface to walk on between your benches and pots. Concrete is also light enough to reflect light and retain heat during the day.
Wooden greenhouse foundations are usually filled with a layer of 3-4 inches of crushed stone or gravel over a sheet of weed cloth. This makes an excellent greenhouse floor that is easy to clean and it drains well. It also offers additional humidity during the summer if you simply spray water on it. Gravel or stone floors are easy to install and is fairly inexpensive.
Lava rock and landscape rock make very attractive greenhouse floors. Lava rock absorbs water and can add to the greenhouse humidity. Both lava rock and landscape rock provide excellent drainage, but are not easy to clean. If white, landscape rock reflects light and can retain heat during the day and radiate it during the night. Both lava rock and landscape rock are fairly easy to install, but are expensive.
Brick floors are not only very attractive, but provide added humidity to the greenhouse since clay is porous and it absorbs water. Bricks should be laid over a layer of sand for added stability and drainage. Clay floors last a long time, look great and are pleasant to walk on.
If you built your greenhouse over bare ground, you will have to provide some type of pavers to keep you from walking through mud. Stone or brick pavers over a layer of sand are attractive and easy to walk on. Sand will absorb excess water.
Weed mat is a popular greenhouse flooring material in large, commercial greenhouses. It provides excellent drainage; it keeps weeds from growing and pests from coming in. It is usually stretched over the entire greenhouse floor and stapled to the foundation.
Mulch is a cheap flooring material, but is impossible to clean. It can provide good environment to fungus and bacteria and it will decompose fairly quickly in the humid greenhouse environment.
There is a range of special vinyl greenhouse tiles that are porous and drain well, and are very easy to clean. They also provide very comfortable surface to walk on. They can be laid over the entire greenhouse, or only as a pathway.
Greenhouse flooring material can be practically anything that drains well and is easy to clean. If your floor is made of concrete, you might want to place a few rubber mats where you spend most time standing, like in front of your potting bench. Even a piece of old synthetic carpet can be used to make your work in the greenhouse more comfortable.
When deciding on the type of greenhouse flooring, think about the hours you will spend standing around your plants, weeding, watering, deadheading, planting or just enjoying the fruits of our labor. Use materials that are easy to clean, to avoid having one more chore on your list, and avoid anything that you will have to replace often. Often, investing a bit more at the start will cut costs, and maintenance, in the long run. And you should plan for a very long run in your DIY greenhouse.