Alright folks, Im currently building an off-grid hostel in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Colombia. At the moment Im building a bar and restaurant which all sit under one roof which has a large floor space. The big dilema Ive had recently is what type of floor to build as we want to use as little cement as possible. We've ummed and ahhed and changed ideas between a wooden plank-terrace floor, a wooden brick floor, limecrete but my current train of thought is to build an Earthen floor. We live in a very remote location which has a good amount of clay on the land as well as rocks and sand from a river so we can source the majority of the materials locally.
Ive attached designs of the floor space.
We´ll have a cement and tiled floor for the kitchen and behind the bar, for the remaining space there is approx 150m2. The foundations actually split the bar floor space into 6 segments, the largest 11.95m x 4.10m = 49m2. The other segments are c25m2. My thoughts are to use the concrete foundations to essentially create several smaller floors within the big space.
My concerns with an earthern floor are:
Water damage - there is heavy rainfall in rainy season which can see extended periods of rain over 4-5 months and the outside perimeters (1m) of the floor will be exposed to some sideways rainfall when it rains hard and theres wind. On average its around 30c and rain water tends to dry quickly. However Im most worried about rain potentially getting inbetween any cracks which could form inbetween the floor and the concrete foundations. Also there will be drinks being spilt regulalry as well as a regular need to clean the floorl. How are Earthern floors at dealing with these conditions?
Traffic - our bar in the future could host 50-100 people at one time. I understand Earthen floors dont deal well with a high volume of traffic, is there anything that can be deal with this issue? Rugs not being a great solution here, would be a hotel for insects.
Insects - bugs and insects are always an issue in the humid tropics, in particular termites. Ive heard termites can over time penertrate even concrete floors and they like clay structures. Im wondering if anyone has experience or knows if this will be an issue?
An Austrian carpenter thats currently staying with us said that hes seen clay floors which have needed repairs on them each year for c3 years then after this they´re cured and will last decades. Im intrigued if theres any truth in this, and if so its something Id be commited to doing.
Id appreciate any advice anyone can give Im new to the Earthen floors world and am currently doing as much research and reading as I can.