Thursday, December 04, 2008

Documenting Strawbale Addition - 10 Earthen Floor and Drywall

Last week Monday we had a BIG working day, as the entire earthen floor was completed in one go. We had a few friends who have experience with earthen floors here to help and we couldn't have done it without them! (if any of you are who were here are reading this, then a HUGE thank you for that day!)

One person was running the mixer and wheeling in the heavy loads of clay (4 parts concrete sand: 1 part clay to create a 1/2 inch base layer), then others troweling it on the floor, and then leveling and smoothing, packing it firm, and finally applying a clay-slip top coat (1 part clay slip: 2 parts very fine 50 mesh sand from pottery supply shop). It was a long working day but the end result completely satisfying. We didn't have champagne but did celebrate with locally made wine, as this really was a major accomplishment! The only issue now, 1.5 weeks later, is that with the cold weather this floor is taking quite a bit longer to dry. The final step is to apply a sodium-silicate sealer which protects and hardens the floor, but we will likely need to wait a few more days before we can do so.

Drywall in the vestibule, bathroom and new laundry has been put up. Taping and mudding to happen later this week, and then painting with natural paints. We bought the paint yesterday - and when you buy paint for any project it always signifies the end being in sight. I've bought enough paint to also redo the kitchen and new dining area, ambitious but I'm so excited about this non-toxic paint and the rooms do need new life. Due to slightly warmer weather outside we've also been finishing the final outdoor aspects of this project - roof vent pipe for composting toilet, heating ducts, yard clean-up, winterizing the new doors with weather stripping and so on. We still have someone coming to hook up the radiant floor heating pipes, and another person to install flashing on the roof edge to prevent water leakage - both key pre-winter jobs that should happen sooner than later. There are just so many details!

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