new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Flooring options, what works?  RSS feed

 
drew msmith
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have seen alot of threads about different ways to build walls and roofs, but nothing really gets mentioned about floors.  What techniques have you guys seen that keep it simple and cheap?  Earthen floors seem the easiest option,  but how do you clean them?  What kind of insulation should be used if the floor isn't made of the ground?
 
Ardilla Esch
Posts: 225
Location: Northern New Mexico, Zone 5b
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The house I am just starting to build will have earthen floor in all but the front entry and bathroom/laundry.  I have helped others with earthen floors but this will be my first start to finish.

Most  people sweep and wet mop (oiled) earthen floors like you would other flooring.  If three to four coats of warm linseed oil / thinner are applied - you can wet mop without problems.

The floor I'm doing will have six inches of pumice underneath (12" thick around perimeter), landscape fabric, then a couple inches of basecourse, then approx. 4" earthen floor with radiant tubing in middle.  I have talked with others (and seen the floors) who have done the same with good results.  Rugs in the high traffic zones and under dining furniture etc. are a good idea...
 
Toby Woodbury
Posts: 12
Location: Wayland,Missouri
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The cheapest floor I know of is Oehlers method of just leveling the dirt then lay a moisture barrier (plastic sheeting) then carpet over that. You get the softness of the earth but kept dry and clean by the plastic barrier. I mean imagine waking up every day and swinging your feet over the side of the bed and stepping on that warm solid terra firma. I can't imagine anything better.
 
drew msmith
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Any reason why that method wouldn't work with laminate flooring in the more spill prone areas?
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
this is what we did throughout: http://www.velacreations.com/cebfloors.html


basically, lay bricks without mortar, sweeps sand in the cracks and seal.  It comes out very cheap. (less than $0.4 per square foot)
 
            
Posts: 58
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Could you lay tile over the bricks?
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
something to keep in mind s you consider tile and brick:  they are just like walking on concrete, which breaks down the joints in ankles knees and hips.  It just doesn't have the give that wood and earth have.

I would stay away from carpet because of how hard it is to clean.  Sorry, I was thinking wall to wall.  Smaller sizes you can take out and shake, and leave in the sun can be clean.

I have an earthen floor I find durable and hard enough.  It was an experiment before I put one indoors-- that is still in the planning phase. 

My experiment:

I put a couple of layers of corrugated cardboard, then a vapor barrier,  then two layers of mud. I mixed my native soil (sand with a little clay, beautiful red) with some extra clay ( a grey tan, it turned the mud brown, but on drying the red was back), and for fiber we used the lawn mower to cut the weeds, and dried them before adding.  That was the base layer.

The finish layer, I left out the fiber ( not that good an idea)  and in an attempt to make it smoother, increased the clay.  Got some cracking, but we filled in cracks until we got tired of it, then those little cracks looked just fine.  I used 2 coats of heated linseed oil/ flax oil we heated up, used no thinners because I was worried about the fumes.

The flax oil off gassed plenty so I was wrong about blaming the fumes of linseed oil on thinners.  But the floor is serviceable, beautiful, has my foot prints in it as well as the kittens.  We put a jute rug in the center of the room where there is most wear.  I have wwoofers using it for a bunk house in the growing season, and I store things in there ofr the winters.  It gets fairly hard use, and though it shows scratches, I think I could easily get them out either by rewetting and patching, or just lightly sanding then re oiling.

I learned a lot, and just think what I could do if I followed the directions and proportions so readily available.

 
Shodo Spring
Posts: 33
Location: Minnesota
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm buying a converted barn and thinking how much I wish that bottom floor were earth instead of cement. Any suggestions about putting earthen floor on top of the cement? (To remove the cement would not only increase the radon issue but perhaps disturb the foundation - and cost a lot.) I would naturally think of putting in-floor heating in the earth.
 
Ardilla Esch
Posts: 225
Location: Northern New Mexico, Zone 5b
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The earthen floor article at landerland.com talks about doing a 1/2" earthen floor over concrete. This is entirely doable. Though you can't put radiant heat tubing in a layer that thin. I would want at least two inches of earthen floor cover over radiant tubing.
 
Molly Bracker
Posts: 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Toby Woodbury wrote:The cheapest floor I know of is Oehlers method of just leveling the dirt then lay a moisture barrier (plastic sheeting) then carpet over that. You get the softness of the earth but kept dry and clean by the plastic barrier. I mean imagine waking up every day and swinging your feet over the side of the bed and stepping on that warm solid terra firma. I can't imagine anything better.


Except that would kind of defeat the purpose of the beautiful earthen floor.
 
Shodo Spring
Posts: 33
Location: Minnesota
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you both. I had forgotten - busy dealing with getting wood stoves going - but really like hearing the encouragement.

I wonder if it's safe to put 2" of earth over concrete - I have the space. And tons of sand (to dig out of the ground here; it's that clean in some places).
 
Space pants. Tiny ad:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!