Phase Five: Flooring, Stair railings
Earthen Flooring....Building a "Natural Material Building" we stayed with a material we knew the best. The cob formula was easy and familiar. The only change we made was to sift the clay (same clay used to build the walls) to remove any stones or debris that would affect the smooth or troweling for the floor. We decided to use horse manure in place of shredded straw. Really liked mixing it all together into a pudding like mix/texture to spread over the substrate floor.
We would like to mention in this particular paragraph the importance of your substrate floor......we made a big mistake during construction by not getting the packed clay level!!!! Take the time to be sure you have leveled it and packed it thoroughly. One builder prefers to do this leveling before enclosing the exterior walls......that's a really great plan if you have volunteers and protection from rain. Both are important so you don't have to go back over and level the floor at a later date.
After evaluating floor for insulating we chose to put a 1/2 inch layer of sand and packed in bottles. This gave us height to bring finished floor level to within inches. We choose to use 2 inch ridged foam boards prior to adding our substrate mix. This mix was heavy on the straw and as dry as we could make it. Again, we had a lot of build up to fill in the floor.....never do this.....a LOT of labor and drying time. Lesson well learned there!!!
View the pictures below to see how much build up we had to do.