A few weeks ago we had a slight crisis moment in our building plans.
Some quotes came in for the Waffle Pod slab and it was almost $30,000. In short, we can’t afford it.
So we have been working through a few alternative solutions so that we can afford to build our house. We have already paid for the posts (which are enormous and weigh about 150kg each) to be cut. This means that there are some serious constraints on what we can and cannot do.
We had been thinking about the option of joists and bearers on piers, but the issue there is that the posts would need to be longer. This would mean a large increase in the cost for the posts, which are already really pricey.
Then our neighbour dropped in and recommended we reconsider a rammed earth floor. We would need to have our whole house plan re-engineered, but in the long run, it could be about a $15,000 saving. The other advantage is that it is completely DIY, so the only costs to factor in are materials and excavation labour. I think it will really work with the aesthetics of the strawbale walls too.
A rammed earth floor consists of layers of road base, sand, gravel and clay that are compacted to create hard surface. We then have the option of troweling a wet layer as the final layer so that it’s completely level (like a concrete floor would be). This is then coated in linseed oil to seal it. As a result, it’s not dusty or ‘dirty’.
Some of the advantages of a rammed earth floor are that it is softer under foot than concrete, requires less concrete (only an outline of the shape of the house to hold the compacted layers), has less embodied energy and we can do the majority of it ourselves with a plate compactor.
Our plans are currently engineered, and then they will go through the council process so that we can be issued a construction certificate so we can officially start building. Can’t wait!