The 3 best reflective wall materials for your marijuana grow room
With a few simple steps, growers can increase light coverage and intensity throughout their growing area. All that's needed is the right reflective material.
The headline you need to be concerned with: Every plant, including cannabis, needs light to grow. That light also powers the eventual development of your precious buds, improving potency and yield.
Grown outdoors, marijuana will be at the mercy of the sun’s natural intensity and schedule. Indoors, there is a much larger scope for light manipulation. A well-prepared grow-op that uses the correct reflective materials can increase light exposure to plants by up to 30%.
MORE LIGHT EQUALS BIGGER BUDS
Alongside the typical requirements of strain choice, nutrients, correct airflow, and adequate heating, light is one of the single most important elements to maintaining a healthy and thriving cannabis plant. Having a decent set of lights is only half the battle; sufficient light coverage and intensity are often difficult to achieve without increased costs. High-quality lighting isn't cheap, not only in overhead and setup, but running costs as well.
Budgets will vary (whether you are a first-time grower or an experienced hand), but no matter the constraints, investing in high-quality reflective material will allow you to reap tremendous benefits in the long-run.It will also guarantee a greater return on investment than simply installing more lights.
But remember, while more light does mean bigger buds, there is a cut-off point. You must ensure that your other environmental conditions and genetics are optimized to produce the best final product possible.
WHY PREPARING YOUR GROW AREA IS IMPORTANT
Knowing where you will be growing and how that translates to an adequate setup is vital before embarking on your cultivation journey. It will save precious man-hours, not to mention a lot of money by making adequate preparations.
When it comes to considering the reflective nature of your growing area, a grow tent offers a viable solution to any difficulties you may come across. A good quality grow tent has already the right correct reflective material on the inside.
However, if you are looking to grow in any other room, preparing the walls are vitally important. Here below we discuss the three best options you have when it comes to using reflective material in your grow room.
1. DIAMOND MYLAR
90–95% Light Reflectivity
Offered in two guises, the patterned or “diamond” Mylar is the one to choose. The textured surface provides a higher level of light reflection and is less prone to scratches or tears, especially when being stuck to walls.
Mylar can also go by the name Foylon, with the latter being slightly more durable, while also containing a C3 anti-detection film. Foylon is an infrared proof version, and as such, will hold more heat.
Both are highly efficient at delivering some of the best light reflection you can get. Standard Mylar comes in a thickness of 1mm or 2mm. Go for the thicker, more durable version.
2. BLACK & WHITE FOIL (PANDA FOIL/PLASTIC)
85–95% Light Reflectivity
Cheaper overall than Mylar, while still offering similar levels of light reflection, “panda” plastic gets its name from the black on one side and white on the other. The white should always face inwards (towards your cannabis plants), while the black stops any outside light from getting in.
Panda foil can be fixed in place, either using staples, nails, or tape we mentioned earlier. The only issue with this material is that it’s plastic. That means, if it is placed too close to your lights, it can melt. Melted plastic is not a good reflector!
3. FLAT WHITE LATEX PAINT
80–90% Light Reflectivity
The least reflective of the three, but still a perfectly viable choice. Latex paint also benefits from being the cheapest solution, which is especially useful if you have a large growing area to cover and want to keep costs down. Always choose flat white rather than gloss. Despite appearances, gloss reflects less light than flat paint colors.
Paint is also best used on smooth surfaces. If your growing area has lots of lumps, bumps, or curves, then the panda foil or Mylar will be a better option. Lastly, make sure to prime the surface before applying white latex paint. This will save you from having to do multiple coats of the paint.
Regardless of the reflective material you choose, the following tips will ensure an even and optimized spread of light:
- Avoid creases and wrinkles. These can create hot spots when reflecting light, causing damage to your plants.
- Avoid tearing. Applying velcro strips on the wall and adding the reflective material over it can counteract any rips.
- Walls should be flat, with as few bends as possible. Light coverage will remain uniform without creating hot spots or areas of shadow. If you do have to navigate regions in your grow-op that aren’t flat, avoid 90° bends. Try to curve the bend wherever possible.
- “Hammer style” reflective textures offer the absolute best reflective qualities.
- Your reflective material will become dirty over time; this will decrease the efficiency of the light reflected. Proper maintenance throughout the lifecycle of your cannabis will keep light reflection high, driving plant growth and bud production.
MATERIALS YOU SHOULD NOT USE
The following materials may sound as a good solution for reflecting light, but it's better not to use:
- Aluminum foil.