Stabilized Caliche Floors — 13 Comments

  1. I am building a 12′ X 12′ shed/minihouse on 6″ X 6″ skids. after our home is finished we will probably sell it. It can be used as a luxurious, insulated shed or a portable “tiny house”. MY QUESTION IS:

    With the Advantech subflooring, would it be foolish to try a caliche or adobe floor as a finished floor? The Advantech is lifetime warranty & supposedly impervious to moisture but I could line it with felt paper or visqueen?

    I would really like to try the adobe floor on something small before we go all out in our new home with it. Any suggestions from you GURUS are appreciated. I love your blog but haven’t been on it in a long while, so please excuse me if I am asking a question that’s been recently covered. Kudos!

    • Well, if it doesn’t work it could be easily removed and replaced. The drying time is very long. You could move in for weeks or months unless you dried it with a heater. Maybe an insulating floor with recycled wood is more practical?

  2. I didn’t use the vibrator on this project, but we regularly use it when pouring any steel reinforced concrete pour at 3500 psi or more be it slab, beams, posts, monolithic walls, etc. You use it at the time of the pour, before mix starts setting.

  3. Vibrator for stabilized mixes are the type that is a rod attached to a flexible cable in a hose housing. You dip the rod in the mix and turn on the motor. Used for pouring concrete in forms e.g beams. Takes out all the air pockets out of the mix. Then again might want to keep some air pockets in the mix for coolness and extra water barrier in the floor (speculating here).


    • I haven’t seen vibrators used on floors (because it’s a slab). At what point are you using the vibrator?

  4. Very interesting. Here’s a question Owen. As you know, I’m planning to build a Hobbit house and I want to use the same type tiles as in the movies throughout. My question is… would the use of mud work? With a couple to a few feet of scoria underneath…will it hold up OR should I only use cement? I “believe” you once told me for my rainy and snowy environment I should use 3 or 4 feet of scoria for insolation. Correct? Anyway, my thought is I should go with cement. Correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks for your reply and another great post WITH the other spot to view. That one was very helpful as well.

    • It depends on your personal goals and budget. Lots of people build earthen floors on top of tamped scoria. Earth floors take more time and effort and especially drying time. Some want the natural feel of earth under their feet and the irregular ambience. Concrete is stronger and faster, but also feels dead in comparison.

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