Greenhouse floor of 100-year-old bricks
Mathias and Rasmus have put up a Juliana Grand Oasis in their allotment garden. The greenhouse is the same model as the one they were decorating when participating in a Danish garden television programme.
In the programme, the couple showed their creative and peculiar ideas to the viewers. There were lots of colours, flowers and rooms to enjoy life and you find all that in their allotment garden too.
In their Grand Oasis they have laid a floor of 100-year-old bricks. It gives a lot of charm and aesthetics to a modern greenhouse. The Greenhouse Forum has talked to Mathias and Rasmus about their choices and has gotten the best tips to lay an old floor.
Why have you chosen to lay a floor of old bricks?
Reused bricks have a soul and history that you cannot find in new mass-produced and homogenous bricks. Every single brick has been handmade and even has impressions of the fingers and hands that have made them. If you are just a little nostalgic then every brick has its own history and that is exactly why old bricks are evident to use as flooring in a greenhouse where life is enjoyed, and stories are told.
Practically, bricks are easy to lay, they provide a good climate in the greenhouse and their colours are beautiful. We have chosen to use old handmade bricks in yellow nuances to match the dark colour of the profiles and to break the simple Nordic design of the greenhouse.
How did you get the bricks?
We found an advert on a second-hand website where a couple sold old bricks as they were rebuilding their house. The bricks are approximately 100 years old and have a nice play of colours.
What is important to know when laying a floor of old bricks?
Bricks are made of fired clay and old bricks are often porous and fragile, so you should be careful when handling them, otherwise, they break. It is a good idea to place old bricks edgeways, this way they tolerate traffic, humidity and frost better. Sometimes the bricks still break, hence it is a good idea to stock some bricks so you can change the broken ones.
How do you prepare the bricks to become flooring?
If the bricks are not cleaned when bought, you can easily clean them from mortar, wallpaper leftovers and raw plugs by rubbing two bricks against each other. The remains of mortar can be rasped off on a grid. If you want to polish the bricks, you can use sandpaper.
What should you be aware of when laying a floor of old bricks?
Old bricks often variate in size and thickness, so it is important to put a layer of at least 2 inches stamped hardcore under the bricks. The hardcore is important to secure a stable foundation, to square up the bricks and to lead water away from the bricks as they otherwise easily get frost damages during the winter. Moreover, you should be aware if the bricks have been in contact with concrete or cement, as these materials are harder than the bricks and therefore impossible to clean off without breaking the brick.
Advantages/disadvantages when using old bricks
Reused bricks give soul and charm to the greenhouse environment and is a cheap flooring if you are willing to clean them yourself. Though If you are not attentive to the foundation, the old bricks can easily break or get frost damages.
What is the price of old bricks?
First-class cleaned bricks are up to 3.5 pounds per brick, but if you are willing to do the work yourself and clean them you can find bricks for less than a pound each.
Om Nanna Stærmose
Nanna is the Danish writer of many of the articles in the Greenhouse Forum.
Nanna visits happy greenhouse owners and tells their stories about basic cultivation, but also those stories that are more oblique.