Construction 04: Basement floor

08/10/09 | ۩ |

After finishing the base and preparing the concrete slab, now it's time to start laying the bricks.
I choose the opus spicatum tecchnique, a common way to flooring in roman and medieval times.

To paste the bricks on concrete I use a simple but very effective material: vynil glue. This glue looks white at first, but it turns transparent when it's dry. This will avoid imperfections in case of smudge.
After running a few tests of composition (picture below), I'm ready to start the real work.


I lay a first row of bricks all along the perimeter of the basement and around the pillars, like a frame. I take care, though, to prevent glue from leaking out the joints. To make this I use metallic tweezers which allow me a higher precision. The bricks are very small indeed and working by hand I would face a nervous breakdown!


When the frame is closed, I start laying the first row of bricks at an angle of 45°, covering the base with glue little by little. When the glue is drying before time I remove it with a cutter to keep the surface plain. 
The work proceeds quickly, with the only difficulty of keeping the right disposal of  the "slices". Some bricks are longer than the others and I need to use the file before to place them. What's more, the 1300 bricks I previously made are gone through at half of the floor and I had to make a new batch (a working day moulding, drying and polishing).


Once composing is finished I fill the empty spaces along the edge with portions of bricks and I polish the surface strongly to level out the whole floor.
The last stage, after cleaning the floor from dust (a sea of dust, this is a work to do outside the house), is the filling of joints with concrete.
This time I'll use a quick drying cement. It sets in 2/4 hours and I can use it without sand to get a smoother texture that will soak between the bricks.


Now I only have to wait for the cement to dry. Then I'll polish again the surface, filling the last blanks.
I will leave some bumps and imperfections to make the floor more realistic .
In the pictures below you can see the finished floor. The holes in the slab are made to insert the metallic wire of the walls and pillars.




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