Caves and Concrete

Our most valuable tool and costing 280 euros was our cement mixer. I would still have been laying concrete floors to this day without it, 108sq metres of earth floor takes alot of cement! We decided to spend the extra 40 euros and get the biggest capacity mixer the store had and it was well worth it, the big red "guy noel" mixer still soldiers on today without fault.

Cement generaly comes in bags weighing in at 18kg with "Holcim" being the most popular, expect to pay around 3 euros for a bag and also expect discount for pallets of 20 bags plus. Sand is available in many forms with "fat sand" being the coarse variety we used for laying floors and fine sand for skimming and rendering. A small lorry load will cost you around 70 euros although you can order less (the driver/supplier will grumble though!) We found it impossible to locate brown sand although I have seen it piled up outside numerous caves in the area. The advantage of brown sand is that you will get a more earthly colour to your mix which is ideal for rendering and cementing stone walls etc
The alternative is to use normal grey sand and buy the more expensive "cemento blanco" a white version of cement which can be effectivly mixed with colourants from the "sika" range available in Baza.

Gravel is very hard to find in a natural colour aswell, so we settled for a pale grey colour which turns out to be the "fat" bit of the fat/coarse sand. In the campo though we do tend to get dirty rain on occasion and this will, over time begin to stain your gravel and grey cement into a more rustic and less industrial colour.
Being unable to source any cheap 3"x1" rails that wernt bent like a dogs hind leg meant that we used a plumbline to mark the walls for laying the floors - then we cheated, just mixed up the concrete and poured it straight onto the earth floor and levelled it off as best we could. Because we wanted floor tiles throughout the cave we used a self levelling compound to get a flat finish before laying the tiles.

Tip: if you have a big german sheperd, dont let him walk on the wet cement, we still have pawprints in our bedroom...

Next....Why your cave will never decrease in value. true/false??

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