Wednesday

Silhouette of Home


...with Sunset and Moon



...Give Peace A Chance...



..from up on the bluff, St. Martins on the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada

The Concrete Floor



This week I have been on my hands and knees varnishing the kitchen floor... several coats worth...
...after having blocked the room off so the dogs needn't give me a hand..

... the counters and table were piled high with stuff that is usually on the floor... ahhh, much better ... but where did all this Stuff come from???

... first I gathered up as much dog hair as I possibly could.. sweeping, vacuuming and picking up bits of the sneaky stuff here and there..... how do any animals lose this much hair and not be bald, I haven't figured out!!!


 


A little background...

 If you have never lived with a concrete floor I would highly recommend it.. They are the most durable floors I have ever used...and the absolute most low maintenance...

...  this is simply our 4" concrete slab... gridded in 36 " squares  that John created using his circular saw set to cut into the floor about 1/16 of an inch... carefully keeping his lines straight with a "MacGyvered" weighted plank as a guide...

 ...then we stained it with an acid-etched terra-cotta stain,  rubbing it into the concrete.. we each took alternate squares so the rubbed pattern would look somewhat even over the whole floor....

...the  shade is rather like old leather...  little idiosyncrasies happen in the finishing of the concrete and the application of the stain, which is the way we like things.. not perfect and with its own character...  after that it only needs varnishing whenever you so desire... I think it has been 5 years...



 


... another feature of a concrete floor is its ability to act as a thermal mass...

Yes, we live in Canada, where it gets cold in the winter... but... generally...  we receive plenty of Sunshine during those months... hope it continues...  what with all the upheaval in the climatic environment, one would be hard to make a proper guess, but for now it works........


When we built our home, the first thing we considered was Orientation ...  We designed it facing  South, luckily that is also where the Bay of Fundy view is, so that worked out well... we are totally exposed to the elements on this bluff...  360 degrees across open to the sky ... and to the solar heat gain from the Sun... of course not as many windows on the North side...

All winter it beams in the East, South and West windows and sinks into that concrete... that's passive solar...  with the addition of the absorption of the radiant heat from our wood-stoves, we are pretty cozy...  and when you stand in the especially warm spots, the heat sinks right into your bones...    when your feet are warm, all of you is warm... 

 ...also not to forget in the summer when the sun is higher in the sky, the concrete floor keeps the house cool... double feature...



 



 ... should be good for another few years or so...



 


In the beginning...

 ...Underneath that durable floor is this wire mesh grid-work of steel rods that John is fastening together with wire ties...
...underneath the gridwork is 6mm. plastic vapor barrier... this shot is from when he was doing the garage... in the main structure of the house directly under the grid work  are many winding yards of hydronic tubes placed about 1 foot  apart covering the whole surface,  then  a layer of 2 inch tongue and groove rigid foam insulation ... then finally underneath it all is gravel tamped down very firmly to provide a good base structurally for the concrete floor and for drainage...
...We have the hydronic tubes installed in the concrete so they are there for the future, but we being the old fashioned frugal folks we are, only use our woodstoves for heat...  we like the way you live with a wood stove...

***

... and that old solid wood door with the fresh coat of paint just behind John,  we scrounged from the roadside... a fellow who was modernizing his very old house threw it away...  it still has original wavy glass... he bought one of those new foam doors..  I think we found the best deal...

***

  Note.... I used "Flecto, Varathane, Diamond Wood Finish, Semi-Gloss, for Floors"...  I have 4 layers of it on my wooden stair treads and it wears well there... here's hoping it is just as long lasting on the concrete ... after all once the first coat is sealed, I do not see what difference it would make what surface it was applied to...



*first photo...  floor is still wet.

***



I would also love to try an even lower maintenance  floor, somewhere, sometime and that is Concrete that is dyed previously to being poured and then finished with linseed oil...

... applications of oil are applied in a traditional manner, the same as is done to unfinished hardwood flooring, which I have done and can attest too... such as this... 
 ...once a day for a week,
once a week for a month, 
once a month for a year 
and thereafter when required... maybe once a year or once every 5 years depending on how casual you like to live... the floor becomes impermeable... it may seem like a lot of work in the beginning but it is so long-wearing and easy to care for and beautiful, it is worth it...  another good point about an oiled finish is that any scratches can be fixed at any time without doing the whole floor... just rub some oil on the scratch ... done.

Friday

No Interchange



When this crow  lived
It glided...  free...
High up over my head


When this bird had breath
I could not reach it...
I could not stroke its shantung wings


Now...  in this state
I can hold it in the palm of my hand...

Now where is the reason in that?






...I found this beautiful raven skull in the woods on our sandstone bluff when we were building our home... 1999... it is sitting on a trilobite fossil-filled piece of slate from the Canadian Shield  near Guelph, Ont. retrieved by my fossil-hunting brother when a student there...
...to see that the Beak is  part of the actual skull was enlightening to me...