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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:25 pm
Posts: 10
Great to see you back Bluey ...

and good to see that all is moving fwd for you DESPITE the fire etc ... looks like all the fire protection worked well, so thats good news as well .. i am really looking fwd to see some more pics ... its been a while since i read the thread but did you ever show the pics of how you did the earthen floor ... and i am esp interested in how "livable" it is with the in floor heating etc

good to see you back again

cheers A|T


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:26 am
Posts: 14
Wow that was close. I guess you can officially say your design is a success.

Keep up the good work


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:29 am
Posts: 179
Location: Blue Mountains
When I was last posting on here I had just started framing up the bathroom. I then lined it with Villaboard and completely waterproofed it.

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The floor is recessed as I am installing a removable slatted timber floor over the top as a drained bathroom floor. I tiled the floor first to allow for easier cleaning and to protect the waterproofing. The tiles are seconds as they will be hidden by the timber slats.

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The walls were then clad with second hand galvanised corrugated iron. Where the taps and fittings are attached to the wall I used flat gal sheet to provide a flat fixing surface. The edges of the corrugate are all trimmed with galvanised plasterboard beading like I used on the external corrugated iron. There are shadow lines in all of the corners and ceiling junctions.

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I then installed a showerscreen (raised up on a galvanised steel frame to match the slatted floor height) and the slatted floor.

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The slatted floor is in sections that can be lifted for cleaning underneath. it is made from old hardwood decking with left over underfloor heating pipe legs so that the timber is not sitting on a wet surface.

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By using the plastic pipe, I could trim it to match the falls in the floor.

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The vanity unit in the bathroom is made from an old overhead kitchen cupboard that is wrapped in a chunky Blackbutt skin. The Blackbutt is from the same load of timber that I used to make the window and door frames. The mirror is from ebay and fits perfectly. The shelves in the middle lift out and hide the plumbing behind. An ebay handbasin finishes it off.

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More hardwood decking panels surround the bath and on either side of the vanity. These have been oiled but the floor has not as yet.

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Just some oiling, a bit of the wall to finish and a door to make and the bathroom will be done :D .

AT, I have not installed the earth floors as yet (they are to go in the main bedroom and living area). I did a trial run earlier but had to pull it up as I had installed the floor heating in a way that limited it's effectiveness. The orange floor that was in earlier pics is concrete that is rust stained. The floor heating has been installed and is operational. It is AMAZING! It is so comfortable to walk on and the house stays a constant temperature throughout. You just know that you are warm but it doesn't seem to be coming from anywhere in particular.

Goldie and AT, I am staggered that you are still checking in on this forum and pleased that you are still here. Hopefully I can breathe some life back into it.

More updates to come,
Bluey


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:26 am
Posts: 14
I still check in from time to time looking for ideas. Nice bathroom amazing what can be done

with corro .


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:29 am
Posts: 179
Location: Blue Mountains
Thanks, Goldie.

Here is a quick couple of pic's of the laundry. More old kitchen cupboards and recycled Blackbutt.
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I will also show a bit of the history of developments in the back yard.

Wicking Vege Beds
Suz had the great idea that we make some wicking vege beds. They are a raised garden bed with a water reservoir underneath. I thought that if I make them using food grade IBC tanks, they could also be used to retain some of the site and create a terrace.

I levelled the ground...
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...and set the tanks in a row.
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They were wired to each other and clad in good old corrugated iron.
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The tanks were half filled with soil and then I backfilled against them to make the terrace.
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Some left over ag pipe created an extra void to hold more water...
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...and then we put in about 300mm of sand and gravel along with a pipe to allow us to top up the reservoir. An overflow at the top of the gravel stops the garden bed from flooding.
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Next we lined the bed with weed mat to stop the roots clogging up the reservoir...
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...and filled the remainder with compost/straw and lucern to create a no dig garden bed.
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Some timber trim, polypipe hoops and netting complete the picture.
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The next garden bed was on the terrace so I just cut the IBC's in half and created two beds out of each.

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We are very pleased with them. They rarely need watering. The water collects and later wicks up from the reservoir. If you do need to top them up you just stick the hose in the pipe and fill them until it runs out the overflow. Any root vege's love it as they grow down to seek out the water. New seedling do need more attention until their roots develop as the top surface tends to dry out a bit.

Hugelkulture beds (wood filled)
Another of Suz's ideas was to create some wood filled beds. These are usually mounds of timber like branches, stumps etc tightly packed with soil, covered in a garden bed. The idea is that when the timber breaks down it feeds the plants and the rotten wood holds moisture to reduce the need for watering. We are using these for the permanent plants like fruit trees and berries.

I modified the idea by digging a trench and building a raised bed over the top. The trench was filled with timber and branches with soil packed between. The garden bed then filled the rest of the raised bed.
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The beds step down the hill beside the house.
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I made frames with wires so we can espalier the fruit trees and to support the netting hoops.
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We are looking forward to next spring to watch it all develop.

More updates to come,
Bluey.


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:14 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:38 pm
Posts: 40
Love your work Bluey, looks fantastic!

I always wanted to do the true wet room as you have done, with the removable slats for cleaning....everybody kept telling me it would be too hard to keep clean (Victorian weather probably adds to that - cooler temps - mould etc) would be interested to know how you have found it.

Once again, loving all aspects of your work, well done.


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:29 am
Posts: 179
Location: Blue Mountains
Thanks Newman.
I have only just installed the slatted floor so I have not been able to test it out. I'll let you know how it goes. Like most things I've been experimenting with if it doesn't work out I have a back up plan. In this case I know that I can still put in a standard tile floor if I need to. Hopefully it goes well.
Bluey


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:39 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:26 am
Posts: 14
Looking good Bluey. Love the garden Have you moved in ?


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:22 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:29 am
Posts: 179
Location: Blue Mountains
Thanks, Goldie. We have not moved in yet as we live next door so we are waiting until the main part of the house is complete instead of trying to live on a building site. Living so close has meant that we can start the gardens and have the chickens at the block.

Since my last update I have installed a timber wall to the second bedroom/winter snug. It is made from floor boards that have been milled from old electricity poles...

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The kitchen is now well underway and it consists of second hand cabinets that are wrapped in chunky Blackbutt benchtops and ends...

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The benchtops are laminated with biscuit joints...

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and clamped....

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...then sanded and oiled.

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The floor is a second hand laminated floating floor and the appliances have been bought on ebay.


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:25 pm
Posts: 10
wow ... always impressed to see your work bluey ... i am very envious of your skills ... its all looking so good .... are you a tradesman, or just incredibly skilled?

anyway.. well done, and please continue to keep us updated ...

regards
A|T


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:26 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:29 am
Posts: 179
Location: Blue Mountains
Thank AT,
I am not a tradesman, I have just played around with woodwork for a long time and renovated a house as a practice run for this. I also studied building design when I left school which has been a great help with planning and understanding the council process. This blog is a bit deceptive as I don't tend to take many photo's of the many mistakes I have to redo :wink: .
Bluey.


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:29 am
Posts: 179
Location: Blue Mountains
Things are still progressing along. I have installed some sliding timber doors between the kitchen and living dining room. This will give us the ability to close that large room off in the depths of winter and just live in the smaller winter lounge/second bedroom space if we want to.

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They are converted from an old set of swing doors. Most of the time they will be stacked in an open position like this...

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Over the Christmas break we started to line the living/dining room with the usual corrugated iron (reverse grey side out) and I ran the electricity cables for the electrician.

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I also tackled the job of making a fire shutter for the large sliding timber doors that lead out onto the deck. I picked up a second hand panel lift door that I cut down to fit the width of the opening. I had to make up an extra frame so that I could mount the tracks and spring mechanism. I welded this up out of some gal steel square tubing...

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This was bolted to the existing framework...

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Some sheet metal was attached where the spring mechanism would go...

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...then the corrugated iron ceiling and wall linings were installed and the door fitted...

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This will usually be open and sits in the ceiling space over the deck...

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Not a bad shutter for $150 on ebay :) . I'd hate to think what a new roller shutter for this size opening would have cost me :shock: .

Since I have fully screened the deck with stainless steel flyscreen mesh, I will not need any screens on this door.


The current project is laying the earth floor in the living/dining room so I will post an update when that is complete.

Bluey.


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:34 am
Posts: 148
Location: Bega
Hey Bluey, your doing an incredible job, I love the look of the place, it's really coming along. Thanks for the updates, it's getting so close :-)

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:29 am
Posts: 179
Location: Blue Mountains
I have installed the earth floor in the living/dining room. It is made from the same soil that was used in the rammed earth walls. I used the same method as I had previously experimented with by packing soil into a plywood form to make earth 'pavers'. The subfloor (that contains the underfloor heating) had a compacted layer of sand added to the top that I levelled off. On top of this I put a layer of builders plastic. This allowed me to place the pavers near where they were required and then slide them across the plastic without disturbing the sand levelling layer. The earth pavers were placed while still damp.

Here are a couple of pic's showing the timber forms and how the pavers were placed...

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See page 12 for a full explanation of the paver making.

After a couple of weeks the pavers were completely dry. I could then start the oiling process. I have used boiled linseed oil as a hardening agent.

The first coat was straight boiled linseed oil that I heated in an old electric frypan. This made it thinner and more able to soak in. I used a cooking thermometer to make sure it only heated to 100 deg as I did not want to risk it catching alight by over heating. It was a slow process and it gave off some pretty bad fumes so a spray paint mask was invaluable. I poured the heated oil slowly onto the floor and used a brush to spread it where necessary. It soaked in quite quickly.

Here is the start of the oiling...

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Once it was all covered I left it for a week to dry. The second coat was a mix of 50% boiled linseed oil and 50% pure gum turpentine. I did not heat this as it seemed quite thin as it was. It has been drying now for 2 weeks and the surface has become very hard. Only 2 days after I applied the second coat I tried to level a few rough sections by scraping it. I had to used a steel edge to have any effect. I cannot believe that oil can harden like it does.

Here how it currently looks...

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The top is now very dry but I think it will take a month or so before dries right through and turns back to a light colour. Once this happens I will apply a light beeswax polish.

The soil I used is like a sandy loam so it is quite porous. I think most people use clay as a top layer so the oil would not soak in so quickly. This room is 6 metres x 5 metres and I used 60 litres of oil for the first coat. the second coat took 20 litres of oil and 20 litres of pure gum turpentine. People who have a clay floor have used much less oil (some around 10% of what I used). As a result I think I will stop at 2 coats since it has soaked in so well.

Thankfully I found that you can order both the oil and turpentine in 20 litre drums from the special orders desk at Bunnings for much less that if I bought it by the bottle off the shelf.

With all that oil it is starting to cost more than I expected but still I will get a beautiful floor for around $30 / sqm.

The main down side of boiled linseed oil and pure gum turpentine is the smell. The straight oil gave off fumes for about a week and the oil/turps mix was almost toxic for a week and it is only now starting to settle down after a fortnight. I have used boiled linseed oil as it dries much quicker than raw linseed oil but unfortunately this is not because it is boiled but because they add drying agents (it is actually not boiled at all???). These drying agents are apparently nasty so beware of the fumes if you are planning on using it. The pure gum turps fumes are not so good either. I could have used raw linseed oil and citrus based thinners but I hear that it can take up to 6 months to cure and citrus thinners are very expensive.

The floor feels completely solid to walk on and it is great under bare feet when the floor heating is on. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Rammed Earth Journey
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 10:20 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:34 am
Posts: 148
Location: Bega
Beautiful floor Bluey, looks a million bucks! a lot of hard work but well worth it.


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