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Alternative floorings

What is alternate flooring-

 

A technique to make floors using cement, waste stone materials, or materials that have low embodied energy. IPS, China mosaic flooring, and Terrazzo flooring are a few examples. It is important that we be concerned about the flooring of our projects, as manufactured and processed products like tiles and artificial marbles consume a lot of energy and emit carbon during the manufacturing process. Alternate floors are mostly made up of waste stones; hence, they do not have any environmental impact. These techniques also help to reduce construction costs to a great extent.

IPS Flooring

Indian patent stone, generally referred to as coba, is cement-based flooring that was traditionally used mostly in old Indian houses. It is one of the most cost-effective alternative floorings because it uses locally available sand and stone aggregate as a mixture. It is done in the thickness range of 50mm to 75mm. The flooring has a natural tendency to have surface cracks due to thermal expansion and contraction; hence, expansion joints are recommended at regular intervals to limit these cracks. Metal or glass strips can be used as expansion joints in the floor. The oxide pigments can be added to the mixture as a top layer to get the desired colors.

How to do it-

 

Substrates like PCC needs to be leveled and cleaned. The metal or glass strips are fixed with the help of cement mortar to the spirit level. Once screed gets some strength, the mixture of cement, sand, and stone aggregates is poured manually to the top of these metal strips. The surface is to be levelled properly with the help of flats and trowels. To achieve its smooth appearance, 2 to 3 mm of cement slurry (with or without pigments) is spread after the base gets hard (generally 24 to 36 hours). The floor should be cured for 14 days with the help of gunny bags or regular sprinklings of water. The floor can be polished with machines or hand grinders to achieve its shiny look. Sometimes wax or sealer coats can be applied to improve the aesthetics of the floor.

China mosaic flooring

This flooring is generally done by using waste pieces of ceramic or vitrified tiles. The randomly shaped broken pieces are closely fixed to the cement substrate with or without patterns to make uniformly leveled flooring. Ideally, the sourcing of tile pieces should be done by collecting the waste tiles from other sites or from tile vendors. The technique upcycles waste tiles or pieces; hence, it is one of the good methods to make flooring cost-effective. Ideally, it is done for outdoor or semi-outdoor areas, as the broken edges of tiles provide a good anti-slip grip.


How to do it- Broken pieces of tile should be sourced, cleaned, and segregated as a first step. The substrate is to be prepared at a uniform thickness or in slope using the cement screed. The surface should be roughened by using the steel wire brush. Allow the surface to dry for 24 hours. Tile pieces should be fixed by using the cement slurry from one corner to the end of the space. The grooves should be uniformly filled with cement grout parallelly while laying the tile chips. The cleaning of extra cement is to be done before the cement gets dry. Remember, this floor never gets polished; hence, cleaning the cement is very important while laying the broken tiles.

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