Floors

Adobe floors are a natural extension of earthen walls. Poured adobe or rammed earth floors offer a warm ambience and a resilient surface that can be polished to a glossy luster. The ease of work and finished beauty make them a natural for the first-time builder.

When we speak of floors in building terms, we usually think of a poured concrete pad, wood planks, or sheathing over wooden joists. However, once you have worked with a natural earth floor, you'll never go back. An earthbag building can accommodate any type of floor system, but our focus will be on earthen floors.

Earthen floors, whether poured adobe, rammed earth, or stone and mud mortar, are all built up from layers beginning with a capillary break, followed by an insulating layer, and ending up with a finish surface

There are infinite ways of finishing a poured adobe floor. What we present in the following pages is merely one variation. Let's start from the bottom and work our way up through each layer (Fig. 16.2).

16.1: The beautifully finished patina of this earthen floor enhances the straw bale home of Kalen Jones and Susie Harrington in Moab, Utah.

. smoothfinished coat - poured adobe /cob ~3/4 - 1" diameter puumice

'gravel capillary break

'gravel capillary break ffine ffinish adobe rigid foam

•gravel capillary break

16.2: Three ways of insulating an adobe floor.

ffine ffinish adobe rigid foam

•gravel capillary break

16.3: Rake this gravel out level and the lowest layer of your earthen floor is done.

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