Category Archives: Floor Systems

Cordwood Flooring: Walk on…

Cordwood Flooring
My neighbor Steve called up the other day and asked if I’d like to come over to see his new floor. Steve is a contractor by trade, he does beautiful work, so I jumped at the chance. When I walked in the door my mouth fell open. He had built a cordwood floor! It was beautiful, warm and artistic. The colors were tan and brown and the floor was polished to a shine.

Steve is a master craftsman.

Steve the craftsman proudly stands on his cordwood floor.

I asked Steve how he built this floor. He said he had bought some old hardwood barn beams at an auction and decided to use them for flooring. First he cut hundreds of 5/8″ “log end” slices on a bandsaw. Then he placed the slices onto a plywood subfloor. He kept them in place by using Construction Adhesive. Then he used regular flooring grout, mixed with sawdust in an 80/20 ratio (80% grout/20% sawdust). After the grout had set, he came back with a heavy duty floor sander, smoothed the whole floor and blasted the grout off the faces of the log end slices.

The Russian Masonry heater starts in the basement and works its way upward. It keeps the house warm with one firing a day.

Finally he sealed the floor with a commercial grade sealer. Steve says that if he had it to do over again, he would first seal the log end slices before attaching them to the sub-floor. He figures this would cut down on the amount of sealer he used. The hardwood sawdust would probably change to softwood sawdust next time to slow the set and cure of the grout.

Each log has a unique pattern. Steve talks about the growth rings in the wood and how tight they are, meaning that the wood grew slowly over many years.

All in all his floor is durable, stunning to look at and adds quite a nice touch to the Russian Masonry Stove Heater in the middle of the house. Steve and Sharon have a wonderful homestead complete with horses, chickens, cows, dogs, cats and children.

For information on how to do cordwood walls why not take a peek at:

Cordwood Construction Website http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org

While you are there, check out the Photos, News, Workshops, Links, Articles and the Cordwood Eye Candy.

If you have a question:  richardflatau@gmail.com

Framing and Drainage

Today the framing of the second floor began, and measures were taken to provide proper drainage from the building.

Click here to view the entire Nauhaus Prototype Construction Chronology.

Tim uses a custom-made tool to measure for the Hemcrete.
Tim uses a custom tool to measure for Hemcrete.

David Madera stopped by to discuss Hemcrete.
David Madera stopped by to discuss Hemcrete.
A strip drain is placed at the bottom of each wall.
A strip drain is placed at the bottom of each wall.
Gravel is shoveled into the Eastern trench.
Gravel is shoveled into the Eastern trench.
East Wall
Wast Wall Framing

Framing Continues

This week, Matt and his crew continued to frame.  The bottom plate was bolted to the slab, and the TJI joists were installed.

Click here to view the entire Nauhaus Prototype Construction Chronology.

Detail of Bottom Plate at Termite Barrier
Detail of Bottom Plate at Termite Barrier
The bottom plate is bolted to the AAC through the Advantek.
The bottom plate is bolted to the AAC through the Advantek.
North wall framing with termite barrier visible.
North wall framing with termite barrier visible.
The 2nd floor structure starts with 16" TJIs.
The second floor structure starts with 16" TJIs.
East and North Framing with Rim Band on Top
East and North Framing with Rim Band on Top


Concrete Scoring and Hemcrete Testing

Today, the concrete slab was scored on a three foot grid, to prevent cracking.  David Madera and Greg Flavell of Hemp Technologies also helped us to perform a full-size Hemcrete test.

Click here to view the entire Nauhaus Prototype Construction Chronology.

Scored Concrete Slab
Scored Concrete Slab
Scored Concrete Slab
Scored Concrete Slab
Hemcrete Mix
Hemcrete Mix
12" Hemcrete Form
12" Hemcrete Form

Completed 12" Hemcrete Wall
Completed Hemcrete Wall

Concrete Slab and Storm Drain

Today, JBS Construction came back to pour the concrete slab over the vapor barrier.

Click here to view the entire Nauhaus Prototype Construction Chronology.

JBS places a matrix of rebar over the hardened foam.
JBS places a matrix of rebar over the hardened foam.
Concrete Pour in Mechanical Room
Concrete Pour in Mechanical Room
Jeff and Jackson Buscher
Jeff and Jackson Buscher
JBS Smoothing the Slab
JBS Smoothing the Slab

Slab at Corner
Slab at Corner
New Storm Drain
New Storm Drain
New Box for Replaced Storm Drain
New Box for Replaced Storm Drain

Foam Insulation Sprayed

Today, Home Energy Partners came out to spray the closed-cell insulation for the slab and exterior walls.

Click here to view the entire Nauhaus Prototype Construction Chronology.

Advantek sheathing and brick mold are installed first to stop the foam and eventually to support the Hemcrete.
Advantek sheathing and brick mold are installed first to stop the foam and eventually to support the Hemcrete.
Brick Mold Installation
Brick Mold Installation
Home Energy Partners Spraying North Wall
Home Energy Partners Spraying North Wall
Home Energy Partners Spraying North Wall
Home Energy Partners Spraying North Wall
Home Energy Partners Spraying Underslab Foam Insulation
Home Energy Partners Spraying Underslab Foam Insulation
Home Energy Partners Spraying Underslab Foam Insulation
Home Energy Partners Spraying Underslab Foam Insulation
Spray Foam Insulation around Ground Loop Stub-out
Spray Foam Insulation around Ground Loop Stub-out
Spray Foam Insulation on CMU
Spray Foam Insulation on CMU

Gravel and Vapor Barrier

Today, another 20 mil. vapor barrier was spread over gravel, in preparation for the insulation and concrete slab.

Click here to view the entire Nauhaus Prototype Construction Chronology.

Drain and Insulation with Gravel
Drain and Insulation with Gravel
Finished Gravel
Finished Gravel

Vapor Barrier at CMU
Vapor Barrier at CMU
All penetrations through the vapor barrier are carefully sealed.
All penetrations through the vapor barrier are carefully sealed.

Finished Vapor Barrier
Finished Vapor Barrier



Compressed Earth Block Floors

compressed-earth-blockWe are big fans of earthen floors. They are softer than concrete and in many locales can be made using mostly materials harvested directly from the site. The problem is that they are labor intensive, requiring a lot of layers and an extended installation period. We are experimenting with using compressed earth blocks for some of the floors in our Nauhaus prototype project. These blocks are made from subsoil dug from the site.  Test blocks are made to determine how much, if any, Portland cement needs to be added to the dry soil mix. The blocks are then compressed by either a hand or hydraulic press like the one pictured here. This machine is capable of pumping out 2,000 blocks per day. After the blocks are allowed to cure for several weeks they can be laid like pavers over a properly designed substrate. We’ll keep you posted with how this works out in our prototype.