Damaged earthen floor — repair or replace?
I had an earthen floor installed in the cellar during a renovation/rehab of a multi-family townhouse. The major components of the earth floor (substrate, vapor barrier, tamped earth, etc.) were completed many months ago but the tamped earth was not sealed and finished.
The cellar has since been used as a staging site and work shop for much of the other work in the building, including some very wet work. The floor surface is now simply hard-packed dirt, at best–dusty, not entirely level and cracking. The floor in the boiler room is in particularly rough shape after major leaks during installation of the boiler and the sprinkler pipes and standpipe that are required by code.
We have invested in the earthen floor and would like to save it if it’s practical. My question is: What is the best way to finish a floor in this condition to ensure that we end up with a functional and durable (and hopefully rat-proof) cellar floor?
Our original contractor proposes to lay a thin layer of concrete over the tamped earth, as the “greenest” solution. Another contractor has suggested the floor won’t be durable unless the earth floor is dug out and prepared for a regular concrete pour. No one has suggested properly finishing and sealing the earthen floor as we originally intended, so I’m wondering if it’s still possible? Any thoughts on how to approach this would be appreciated!!
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