Earthen Floors and Rainwater Harvesting – September Building Update by Elke Cole
Earthen floors and Rainwater harvesting workshop with Gord Baird: September is here and I am still enjoying an “endless summer” with the building team. Noticeably the water in the tank is colder now; so when your hands are in the mud it’s chilly! But the sun is still with us, providing good drying conditions to pour in an Earthen floor in our new building project. We are currently putting down the second layer now.
Here’s how we do that:
Prepare the space, protect walls if necessary.
Pex tubes for hydronic heating are laid and held in place by tying them down to some stucco wire that is laid out on the base (first layer).
Prepare materials: barrels full of sifted clay-slip , supply of sharp sand and supply of chopped straw .
Now all you need is a cement mixer (rent one from your local tool rental) , and a crew of minimum 4 people.
Set up a laser level (also rental?) to a height a few inches above your desired floor level. Make a measuring stick that is marked corresponding to the laser and the final height.
Your mixing crew can start mixing (recipes vary according to clay quality). The mix should not feel sticky and peel off the back of the mixer with ease.
Start to pour the floor in the far corners of the space and work your way back to the door, always checking your level with help of laser and measuring stick. Spread with steel trowel, finish with wooden float to keep some texture for the future layer.
Leave to dry a few days and then compact by tamping. You’ll need to have boards to stand on – the floor is still not strong enough to walkon. Trowel any marks flat and leave to dry completely.
On Saturday September 22 Gord Baird returns for another information packed workshop: Rainwater harvesting for potable and non-potable use. Get yourself set up for long drought periods by harvesting water in the rainy season. You will learn about designs to suit different roof systems, sizing tanks, and health considerations. This is a one day classroom event. Register now to secure your spot.
Hope to see you there!