Can I use laminate flooring to make raised beds?

Gail H
Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Garden Design

We would like to put in more garden beds, but are trying to avoid going out for materials. Just before the Coronavirus really took hold in the states, we had a laminate floor installed. There were two boxes of leftover boards that I would like to use to make raised beds.

The floor itself had no offgassing issues when it was installed. I just looked at the company's website and it says the flooring complies with all California Air Resource Board requirements, so I feel okay using it to grow food.

The boards are tongue and groove, so I think I could stack them to make deeper beds. Any suggestions for holding them together? I actually talked to the installer about it (after I dragged the two boxes of boards back from the trash!). We thought that perhaps using the super strong Velcro that's used to attach a transponder to a windshield might be the best solution since the boards might not stand up to nails or screws. The top layer is so tough that getting something to penetrate it might ruin it altogether. Using adhesives on the Velcro would introduce some VOCs to the mix, however.

Any thoughts, suggestions or cautions would be appreciated.


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    @Gail H My brother-in-law works for a company that sells nothing but solid wood, engineered wood and laminate flooring products. So this info is from an "expert" in the field. He says that most of the cheaper brands are made in China and have a melamine top layer. The more expensive European made laminates have an aluminium oxide top layer. He said that no matter which kind you have, it is not rated for anything outside where it could get wet. The boards will warp and the layers will separate. Some of the layers are just paper so will disintegrate when wet. There are also dyes and pigments used in the layer that has the wood look pattern. None of the ingredients sound particularly conducive to growing healthy plants. Maybe better suited for a project where the boards won't get wet.

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey Thanks so much for checking. I do know mine was made in the states, but those other things you brought up are a concern. Back to the drawing board!

  • Jens the Beekeeper
    Jens the Beekeeper Posts: 651 admin

    @Gail@Gail H why not grow directly in the ground as long as you cannot or want not to go out for material. You can add 10cm compost on top of a lawn and start directly with plants. Maybe have a look here

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