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.