Page:Vitruvius the Ten Books on Architecture.djvu/240

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CHAPTER I

FLOORS


1. First I shall begin with the concrete flooring, which is the most important of the polished finishings, observing that great pains and the utmost precaution must be taken to ensure its dur­ability. If this concrete flooring is to be laid level with the ground, let the soil be tested to see whether it is everywhere solid, and if it is, level it off and upon it lay the broken stone with its bedding. But if the floor is either wholly or partly filling, it should be rammed down hard with great care. In case a wooden framework is used, however, we must see that no wall which does not reach up to the top of the house is constructed under the floor. Any wall which is there should preferably fall short, so as to leave the wooden planking above it an unsupported span. If a wall comes up solid, the unyielding nature of its solid structure must, when the joists begin to dry, or to sag and settle, lead to cracks in the floor on the right and left along the line of wall.

2. We must also be careful that no common oak gets in with the winter oak boards, for as soon as common oak boards get damp, they warp and cause cracks in floors. But if there is no winter oak, and necessity drives, for lack of this it seems advis­able to use common oak boards cut pretty thin; for the less thick they are, the more easily they can be held in place by being nailed on. Then, at the ends of every joist, nail on two boards so that they shall not be able to warp and stick up at the edges. As for Turkey oak or beech or ash, none of them can last to a great age.

When the wooden planking is finished, cover it with fern, if there is any, otherwise with straw, to protect the wood from being hurt by the lime.

3. Then, upon this lay the bedding, composed of stones not smaller than can fill the hand. After the bedding is laid, mix the