Earth was rammed and then big rubbles (2-3”thk) were put. We walked on it to level it. Small gravel stones (1-1.5”thk) were then put on the bed of big rubbles.
A mixture of kadukkai and jaggery mix was then poured on to the stone base as they get soaked in it and thus become better in gelling with the flooring mix.
The fermented mixture has bacteria which spreads and eventually expands the mixture. When there is a crack in the lime-crete it will get filled with this mixture expansion. Shuttering to shape the flooring mix was laid. In a tarpaulin, brick bats were laid and kadukkai-jaggery mixture was poured to soak and saturate the brick bats with it.
Then we mixed lime-Quarry dust mixture (3:5) with the brick bats in a ratio of 5:8 (5 parts of brick bats and 8 parts of the lime quarry dust mixture).
We put this mixture onto the stone bed and compacted it while pouring the mix. After pouring and compacting 6” of this mix we leveled the surface.
It was left for a week to dry and then was beaten with a wooden beater (Do not let the lime dry completely). This way lime milk will rise up.
The lime milk which came up was removed out as it spoils the strength of the flooring.
The floor needs to be beaten for 2 hours everyday for a week’s time.Slower the setting of lime gives a better outcome.
After 6 months when the plaster will be ready it will be used as finish for the flooring.
Materials used for the finish:
1.Binder: Slaked Seashell lime (Non hydraulic lime). How to obtain it?
Processed (heated) sea shell lime should be mixed with water, mixed well in a barrel and left in an air tight barrel for a weeks’ time. In this time lime will undergo slaking due to presence of water and settles in three different layers. Lower layer of impurities, middle layer of pure hydraulic creamy lime and the top layer of alkaline water. The middle creamy layer is taken out by attaching a tap at the pre-calculated height in a way that only the middle creamy layer will be taken out.
2. Cactus (prickley pear) juice.
We removed the thorns and skin and cut it into small pieces. Then we added water in the ratio – cactus: water-1:3.
We boiled the mixture at 60 degree celcius. Once the mixture cooled down to room temperature cactus pieces were taken out and squeezed to extract the juice. Then we put the extract to ferment for a day.
Cactus juice and the proteins in egg and curd are additives to provide flexibility, durability and water proofing to flooring.
4. Sieved Surkhi powder- It was added to help lime set quickly. It also gives a good colour to the mixture.To prepare the floor finish hydraulic lime, sand and Surkhi were mixed and ground together.
The cactus extract, egg, curd, sand, Surkhi powderand lime (in the ratio lime: sand: Surkhi powder: curd: egg white: cactus juice :: 1: 3: ½ : 1/8: 2no.: 1½) were put in an earthen pot.The earthen pot was then put underground for fermentation for 3 months.
Time periods of fermentation:
6 months for finish
3 months for plaster
1 month for masonry.