The greenhouse foundation is an important structural aspect of your greenhouse. The floor determines how well your greenhouse drains the water, while also adding stability and security to the greenhouse frame. Some of the best floors ideas for greenhouses include pea gravel, flagstone, concrete, and landscape rocks.
Does a Greenhouse need Flooring?
The greenhouse floor serves various functional roles. It allows for water to drain through to the substrate, aids in temperature regulation, and also makes the greenhouse comfortable to walk and stand on. It also serves an aesthetic role as some type of greenhouse floors enhance the visual appearance of the greenhouse.
Best floor for Greenhouses (Ideas)
There are many floor products that can be used for greenhouse flooring. However, the best ones are those that offer great drainage, heat insulation, durability, and resistance to water damage.
With that in mind, wood (lumbar) is not great for greenhouse flooring as it will rot upon frequent exposure to moisture. Compacted soil flooring, although common, isn’t very effective for greenhouses since it will muddy up.
Here are 9 best floor/foundations ideas for greenhouses:
1. Pea Gravel Floor
Pea gravel flooring drains well as the loose gravel pieces allow moisture to soak through. This type of foundation floor is typically combined with a plastic foundation to prevent weed growth. Pea gravel is an economical greenhouse flooring option, costing as low as $15 dollars per cubic yard in some regions.
Pea gravel flooring is also visually appealing, while also boasting a softer underfoot feel when compared to brick or concrete greenhouse floors. It’s also relatively easy to install.
Here’s a quick DIY guide for pea gravel floor installation:
- Dig out 3-6 inches of your greenhouse topsoil to get rid of surface debris and plant roots.
- Install plastic ground cover to prevent weed growth. Most commercial polypropylene ground covers come with staples to firmly hold them in place.
- Install wooden edging along the perimeter of the greenhouse. This will prevent the pea gravel from moving too much as you walk on the floor.
- Pour pea gravel until it entirely fills up the 3-6 inch bed that you’d dug out earlier. Finish off by levelling the pea gravel floor surface using a rake or a straight board.
However, pea gravel flooring has some disadvantages. The gravels pieces do shift as you walk on them. Pea gravel also requires replenishing since it does sink into the substrate over time.
2. Brick Floor
Brick greenhouse flooring offers great drainage via the spaces between the bricks. Aesthetic-wise, it’s more beautiful than a compacted soil foundation. Brick flooring also forms a permanent base that won’t shift or migrate over time, as is the case with pea gravel or landscape rock foundations.
Brick pavers are relatively affordable, costing $3-$10 per square foot, while premium brands like Coco Coir Bricks for Plants may cost higher. Brick floors are also very durable and will easily withstand high foot traffic within the greenhouse.
Despite the numerous upsides, brick greenhouse flooring has some drawbacks. For starters, bricks are quite costly when compared to other types of materials used for greenhouse foundations, including pea gravel and compacted soil. It also takes some degree of skill to properly install brick flooring.
3. Concrete Floor
Due to its level surface, a concrete greenhouse deck is more comfortable to walk on, as compared to a compacted soil foundation that may contain muddy puddles. It’s also one of the most durable greenhouse flooring options, as the hardy concrete material forms a permanent base.
Concrete greenhouse foundations are also easier to clean and maintain. It costs $2-$6 to install this type of flooring. Additionally, despite the relatively higher material costs, concrete floors offer great value for money as they can adequately support the weight of greenhouse benches.
On the downside, though, concrete floors make temperature control inside the greenhouse difficult. They tend to be hotter during the warm seasons and colder during winter. It’s also difficult to achieve proper drainage with a concrete greenhouse floor.
Note: To ensure proper drainage with a concrete greenhouse floor, pour the slab at a slight slope.
Read More: How to Clean Sealed Concrete Floors
3. Landscape Rocks Greenhouse Floor
For the most aesthetically appealing greenhouse foundation ideas, consider laying landscape rocks and pebbles. This type of flooring is easy to install, as you simply have to pour the rocks over the substrate and spread them out with a rake. However, to prevent water from building up between the pebbles, you need to ensure proper drainage during installation.
Landscape rocks like Anothera 18-lb Bulk Bag Pebbles for Plants are rather expensive flooring options, as the decorative rocks range from $45-$130 in price. Also, if the site is not well prepped prior to installation, unsightly weeds are likely to grow through the pebbles. Apart from site preparation to remove weed roots, you can also install a weed mat to act as a weed barrier such as FLARMOR Weed barrier and Blocker
3. Flagstone Greenhouse Floor
Flagstone flooring is another durable, permanent greenhouse foundation option, just like concrete and brick floors. The term ‘flagstone’ refers to different types of natural stone/rock that have been cut to shape and size to be used as pavers.
Flagstone (Land scape Patio natural rock) makes for a flat surface, which is easier and safer to walk on, as opposed to uneven fieldstone that poses a tripping hazard. And since flagstone can be cut into different shapes and sizes, it allows for design versatility.
It costs from $15-$22 to install flagstone greenhouse flooring, including material and labor costs. During installation, a base has to be laid in first for stability. The base material can be cement (mortar), sand, or decomposed granite.
As with any other type of flooring on this list, flagstone has its cons. For starters, when installed over a sand base, the stones are likely to shift as you walk on them. Additionally, since the stones are heavy, it takes some time and elbow grease to install this type of flooring.
Mulch Greenhouse Floor
If your plan is to grow your plants directly on your greenhouse soil, then mulch flooring is a sensible option. The decomposable mulch material enriches the soil with nutrients, thus boosting the growth and health of your plants. Mulch also drains well, while also being a cheap flooring option that’s easy to source.
Take note that shredded mulch offers more stability than wood chip mulch as a flooring option. Shredded hardwood mulch costs about $40 per cubic yard. Meanwhile, the cost of wood chip mulch varies from $30-$100, depending on the type of wood.
That being said, mulch flooring is one of the least durable types of floors for a greenhouse. The decomposable mulch material will break down over time and needs to be replenished at least once annually.
Commercial Vinyl Floor
Vinyl flooring that’s specifically designed for greenhouses offers excellent drainage due to its porosity. Some high-end polyvinyl products also boast enhanced features such as UV resistance and anti-microbial properties. As such, you don’t have to worry about mold growth or your greenhouse floor being discolored by UV rays.
Greenhouse vinyl tiles are also easy to clean and maintain using a damp mop. Vinyl tiles are also available in high-gloss finishes, which reflect light to support the light settings inside your grow house. Some brands also sell polyvinyl greenhouse flooring in longer rolls (6’x10’) for faster and easier installation.
However, vinyl flooring is arguably the most expensive type of greenhouse floor on this list. A 5’x10’ roll may cost as much as $200. However, considering the numerous pros mentioned above, it offers great value for money spent.
Rubber Greenhouse Flooring
Rubber flooring rolls and rubber flooring tiles offer the best cushioning amongst the greenhouse flooring options discussed in this blog. As such, they’re typically installed over hardy greenhouse surfaces such as concrete or brick.
Greenhouse rubber mats are cheap and easy to keep clean. Meanwhile, snap-together rubber tiles are easy to install.
Plastic Greenhouse Flooring
Polyvinylchloride (PVC) or plastic material is more commonly used as ground cover for other types of greenhouse floors, such as pea gravel. However, this material can also be used as greenhouse flooring by itself. Plastic rolls offer a comfortable underfoot feel, just like rubber.
PVC flooring tiles are waterproof, thus discouraging the growth of mold and mildew. Most PVC tiles also feature an interlocking mechanism for a stable floor that won’t move as you walk on it or separate with time.
One common problem with this type of flooring, though, I poor drainage. To counter this issue, you can invest in perforated PVC tiles.