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How to make a floor out of soil?

 
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Hello Friends,

I am living in Burma and will soon move in a small building to meditate for some time. The building is actually a huge oven that was used to preserve bamboo by heat, now since 8 years it hasn't been in use. The walls are made of clay bricks and concrete, the floor is from soil. I made the little test with the glass jar and found that the soil is 70 % sand, 28 % Silt and the rest clay.

Does anybody know a way how i could make a livable floor out of this at minimal costs? By livable i mean basically to make the soil hard so that i can walk and sit down etc. without getting dirty. I highly appreciate any advice. Below i send two pictures from the place. Thank you very much!

May you all be happy and healthy
Oven-home-inside.png
[Thumbnail for Oven-home-inside.png]
Oven-home-outside.png
[Thumbnail for Oven-home-outside.png]
 
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Quote:


Eartheen Floor and mould

It looks to me like the building is set into a rise, so moisture will be an issue that requires some kind of drainage allowance along the walls up to the soil level outside and beneath the oil finish on the tamped down earth  or stone floor.




 
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Hi Simon; Welcome to Permies!

Nice little building.  I just love clay brick buildings!
My first thought is smooth it out , tamp it down well,and put down a portable rug to sit on.
Using linseed / flax oil as Burl suggested would help to seal it.
Despite all the growth on the outside I think I would want a window opening to allow air flow. Is it not very hot  humid there?

The last question is not related to your floor but I am wondering about reptile visitors?  Seems a dark cool cave would make a fine napping place for possibly dangerous snakes?
This is just my own phobia, as in my area of norther Montana we do not even have rattle snakes ,  my mind automatically thinks King Cobra when I think Burma!

Good luck sealing your floor and enjoy your meditation house.
 
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Hello Simon,    Not sure how long term your looking for or how wet the floor could get but at a bare minimum, I would recommend to put down a layer of drainage rock (3/4" to 1.5" would do to act as a water capillary break around 3-4" deep). Over this, a layer of newspaper, old cotton sheets, cardboard or something similar to keep the next soil layer from filling all the spaces between the rock. The final layer is a mixture of sand/clay soil tamped relatively level. Of course it could get much more detailed than this but this would get you a functional floor. If your looking for more details, let us know so we can help you out.
 
Simon Feichter
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Thank you for the suggestions. At this point, I guess tamping it down and using a large bamboo mat to sit on will be the easiest and certainly cheapest option. Later on, if I decide to extend my stay beyond the planed 3 months something more sophisticated might be applied.


A window has been installed in the wall to the left. It will still be hot and humid but not more than outside. It is rainy season and everything is anyway very moist. Yet, when we visited the building for the first time it had already rained quite some and the building was at that point completely overgrown with creepers yet the floor inside was dry. I think leaving the green cover on the building will regulate the temperature on sunny days.

My questions:
1. The creepers will in a few weeks time seal the entire building again from the outside. How would you handle the growth?

2. How would that work with the linseed/ flax oil? Just tampering the floor and then applying the oil? Or do I need to create another surface that hardens naturally onto which i can apply it?

It seems that the locals were not concerned about snakes. I might anyway make some kind of barrier that will prevent any surprises
 
thomas rubino
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Hi again Simon;
I am no expert on natural floors but your description of 70 % sand and 28 % silt with 2 % clay, makes me think that you would need a clay base to apply any oil.
Otherwise I foresee your linseed oil just draining away... I may be wrong.
The green vines I would use a cutting tool to keep them under control as needed.

As far as snakes and the locals.   Here in Montana we have grizzly bears ,cougars , wolves, all sorts of large predators.
Visitors are generally very concerned for their safety when in the area.
As locals we are amused at their concern, knowing that in almost all cases those predators are very much more, wanting to get away from the dangerous predatory human!
It is just human nature to be wary of new predators that we do not understand.
I hope the locals are correct and you have nothing to fear... but....while meditating your spacial awareness might drop.  A barrier at the entry would make me (the big baby) feel safer.

Enjoy your meditation house I'm sure you will be happy , contented and safe.

EDIT) Any chance of a pet mongoose???  
 
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some of those green creepers look like lablab, which can be eaten (the pods are a bit like snow peas, get them early, trim the edges, and eat them cooked. do NOT eat the dried beans unless you know what you`re doing, they need to cook forever to lose their toxicity).
Sounds like a wonderful experience, I hope it is very fulfilling and successful for you!
 
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