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cob or dirt floors

 
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Anybody have experience with this sort of thing? 

What might be the simplest thing one might try?  Perhaps a whole lot of linseed oil tossed onto some dusty dirt?

 
gardener
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Well... no, but I did help edit a book on the subject, and the term most used is Earthen Floors.

I have a copy of the first draft  if you don't get the info you seek here.

 
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Compression is the key to this.  You can tamp the floor layer by layer with a bit of moisture.

I went a different route.  I used compressed earth blocks and layed them as a floor with sand in the cracks.  Very fast, very easy, super cheap (less than $.40 per square foot.)

Check it out:
http://www.velacreations.com/cebfloors.html
 
pollinator
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I have done cob and soil cement floors, Paul.  The cob is by far a better floor.

Clay about 30%, Sand including all aggregates in your clay if natural clay, 70% (at my place that works out to about 50/50) Straw so a good amount is in every handful.

Trowel it smooth.  Let it shrink and crack as it likes.  Fill the cracks with a well sanded clay sand  grout to prevent shrinkage.  Put about 4 coats of boiled linseed oil and let dry.  Keep brushes and paper clean up materials disposed of safely as they can spontaneously combust if in a pile creating a fire.

After the linseed oil dried we put an acrylic sealer on top of it.  A durable soft floor with a feel  and texture/softness like linoleum.

I had trouble finding a good pix of it but here is a bit of it in the foreground of the cob conversation pit area.  The step is cob also.  It's been there for about 8 years and the only damage is a tree root growing under it cracking it a bit.

 
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building cob floors

 
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I would love to see more examples of both dirt and cob floors.  This sounds really neat.  
 
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Dirt is not nice.

I've done cob floors. I ferment the cob with cow manure for a good four days, turning every day. It gives it much greater strength and smoothness.
 
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I’m also really interested to see any pictures people may have of these types of floors finished.

I want to build a natural home, but in order to keep my husband on board I will need great pictures since the words cob floor don’t sound very pretty.
 
paul wheaton
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some experiments this year

 
pollinator
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This video has inspired me to finish my (very small) greenhouse floor. I want more thermal mass, and I had gotten hung up on finding free bricks to use. Bricks are very hard to find where I live because they cost a fortune to ship. But I have a whole lake shore of sand free for the shoveling. Maybe I'll just suck up the cost of linseed oil and make a sand/oil floor instead!
 
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