My Little Homestead has a new video series that documents each step of construction of Shea’s new earthbag bedroom. At the beginning of this particular episode they explain their favorite soil cement floor method.
People are often fascinated by the structure of my earthbag home, but in truth that was the easy part. It’s the plaster that is an art. And a science. At times I thought it might have even been witchcraft. Because it took me just 6 weeks to build my earthbag house, but almost 2 years to get my plaster sitting beautifully on my walls without cracks or bits of it falling off.
“Earthen floors are ubiquitous in most of the world. They are the most accessible type of flooring to a vast portion of the human population. In the modern world earthen floors are still something of an oddity to most people, that is until they step foot on one. And then they are hooked for life.
Caliche: calcium carbonate formed in the soils of semiarid regions.
“I sifted the caliche through a chicken wire sieve to get rid of the larger material. This leaves a good size aggregate for a 4-5inch think pour, thicker floor better against moisture too (when the pour is too thin less ,than 3″, the mix will crack more, when setting).
“For most of human history, people have lived in durable, comfortable buildings made from natural materials such as soil, sand, rocks and fiber. All over the globe, these ancient traditions persist; a quarter to a third of the world’s population today lives in houses built partially or entirely of earth. Conventional Western building techniques using industrial materials may save time and create efficiencies, but these perceived savings come at considerable financial and environmental cost.