Natural Floor Experiments

We are busy putting the natural floor down – I remember this was said to be the last thing you do – so that is quite amazing. The first layer is rock and cobbles followed by a layer of cob and then two layers of lime. The layer of cobbles was compacted using a heavy “dropper”. The cob layer followed and took some time to dry. It was compacted somewhat from all the traffic on it and this makes the lime layer we are putting on a bit thicker, instead of 20 mm it is closer to 25 mm. 

 

The first layer of lime we added color to using a combination of two different earths, one a very deep red and the other a cream yellow. This gave us a light brown finish, since the lime does bleach out the color.

The surprising factor was the lime cracking as can be seen in the photos.

We have now done various experiments to see how we can minimize the cracking. One involves adding prickly pear juice which works well as a water repellent and we used this to seal the walls after it was plastered. Another experiment that is working well is to cover the plaster with plastic. This allows the plaster to sweat and dry slower, which minimizes cracking. We have also added 8% cement to one sample, although this is not environmentally friendly, we would like to compare the strength of this sample to the other natural ones. I have also added a photo here of one of our samples that was left without plastic and cracked. If all goes well we should be able to put the second layer of lime down within a week’s time….. can not believe we are moving into the final part! So exciting 🙂

Oh, and another tip! Mixing lime plaster with your feet can be very, very painful. Boots are recommended and gloves for your hands – happy natural building 🙂 

 

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