Picture of Cheap and Easy Brick Floors
When considering what material to use for a floor, few people look beyond a concrete slab, with something like tile or carpet as a finish. For us, however, there were several factors that made a stabilized compressed earth brick (SCEB) floor far more appealing, including cost, skill, and time required.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/velacreations/sets/72157622051279853/

More Information: http://www.velacreations.com/cebfloors.html

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials

Compressed Earth Blocks
Screened sand
Sealer – acrylic or oil based concrete sealer or varnish

Circular saw with masonry blade (optional)
2 levels, one small, one longer
Rubber mallet
2 boards to stand on. You do not want to stand on the sand as your feet will make large dents. If you stand on a board, your weight is spread out and the smooth surface of the sand is not compromised.
Surgical tape. The person laying the brick should consider taping their fingertips with surgical tape. This helps protect them without compromising dexterity.
Roller and brush

Step 2: Preparation

Picture of Preparation

Prepare and level your sub-floor, adding if you wish any vapor barrier, heating system, and insulation. Put a 1 inch layer of fine screened sand over the whole area. Compact and level the sand. The easiest way to do this is to bury and level a piece of square tubing in the sand on either side of the room, so that the top of the metal is flush with the level you want the sand to be.

You then bridge another piece of metal between the 2 pieces of square tubing, so that it sits on top of them, and drag it backwards and forwards over the area until it is smooth.

Choose your pattern before you start, and estimate the amount of bricks you will need. Running bond is often the easiest pattern to get your feet wet, but none of them are hard. The Herring bone can be difficult to visualize, but once you get going, it's not nearly at intimidating as it seems.

lifeinbeats2 years ago
This is absolutely wonderful. Do you find that it's easy to clean once it's sealed?

I designed a built an off-grid house for Design Build Bluff where we used compressed earth blocks. They are quite a bit larger and were not the cheapest solution, but we were able to find a guy in town with his own block compressing machine and we were able to use local sand.

If you haven't heard about the program you should visit our blog. http://www.designbuildbluff.org/blog/?cat=109
The programs founder, Hank Luis, designed the program after The Rural Studio and has a lot of influence from Mike Reynolds stuff.
whait862 years ago
badass floor. simply awesome.
bettyroug543 years ago
Really like this! Question...can this be done on a main floor (meaning it is not done in the basement); and if you have a good sub-floor, why do you need sand?
velacreations (author)  bettyroug543 years ago
we have this throughout our house.

For the subfloor, if you have a nice, even subfloor, then you probably don't need sand. We used sand to help even out imperfections in the bricks and to provide a nice level surface to start with.
l8nite4 years ago
thats a gorgous floor !