In ‘Vietnã’ (a place in Tibá where we try out every new technique) we have been experimenting over the years with the best way to make a natural floor at the base of the small earth hut we have there. Due to the location and the fact that it is subject to a lot of moisture and rising damp Marcelo, earth-builder extraordinaire, has finally taken on the challenge and taken the whole existing floor out and started again from scratch.
First he laid down a lot of old tyres, to build up the foundation again to a reasonable height and then filled in between this with old bottles. This was to provide bulk between the tyres and also to make use of the old bottles. Around the rock strip-foundations under the walls some asphalt sheet was nailed into place which will stop moisture from the sides entering by capillary action; this will be heated later to bond it better to the stone foundations.
Next was laid coarse gravel, tamped lightly and then hosed down. The first earth mix was laid over this very roughly, to a depth of around 20mm and just consisted of mixture of just sand and clay.
Next a large adobe bed was made from the usual sand, earth, horse manure and also a lot bamboo leaves added in. A level was carefully set and then this new mix was then laid over the other layer which had been left to dry overnight.
We are now waiting for this giant adobe brick to dry – which as there is no direct sunlight on it will take up to a month – before adding the last layers and the decorative infill adobes – check back to see our progress!