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Fourth Part.

Section Fifth.




141. Pavements and Venetian terraces are built in apartments, ground floors, over vaults, and upon frame work covered with boards, not only in covered places but also in the open air. In all cases the manner of constructing them is precisely the same; care must be taken, however, in laying the first coating upon a ground floor, that the plane surface should be dry and the earth well trod down and perfectly level.

When this is done, the overseer of the work draws marks in the angles of the apartment, two inches from the ground, and then, with a rule, connects these marks by a thick, black line. This ground is then covered with the first coating, consisting of old plaster, work and bricks, which is spread over it smoothly and pressed down to the height of the black mark. This is then again compressed with the beetle, and is moistened with lime water during this operation by means of small brooms.

To level this mass, the rule and level are used.


142. Another black line is drawn around the apartment, about three inches above the first. This line determines the thicknesses of the second coating, which is also composed of plaster work and old bricks, prepared in the following manner: the plaster work and bricks are first pounded together, and then mixed with lime and sand, thus forming a thick mortar.

When a sufficient quantity of the mortar has been prepared, it is laid on the first coating to the thickness of three inches, this mass is then spread over the surface and harrowed with an iron rake, and is then smoothed with a lath, the level being used. It is then moistened with lime water and compressed again with the beetle, pounded with an iron rammer until the coating resembles a wall freshly plastered, and finally pressed down again with the beetle. When this second coating is nearly dry, the third, called the red coating, is applied.


143. For this purpose, old or new tiles are pounded, and then passed through a coarse sieve; when a sufficient quantity has thus been prepared, it is put in heaps, after first separating any pieces that may have mixed with it.

To make the mixture, two heaps are formed, one containing two-thirds of the crushed bricks, and the other one-third of lime; these are thrown by alternate shovelfulls into a third heap, thus amalgamating the bricks and lime; thus dry mass is then turned over with an iron rake until it is thoroughly mixed.

When this has been turned several times, it is sprinkled with water, and then stirred again with the rake, until it has acquired the consistency of partially compact mortar; which it will soon do if the tiles were well dried when mixed.


144. The mortar is spread over the surface in the manner before described. This coating should be from two to two and a half inches in thickness. If the second coating is found too dry to yield to the red mortar and to properly unite with it, the whole floor must be sprinkled, and when the surface is sufficiently moistened, the mortar is thrown on it in heaps, and then evenly spread over with the iron rake.

In ordinary cases, the rule and level are applied to every part of the room, and the whole is carefully leveled. The whole thickness of the three coatings, particularly in rooms upon the ground floor where dampness is to be feared, should be from seven to eight inches; it is a good plan to arrange little trenches by which the water can run off.

When the leveling is finished, the whole surface should be consolidated and made perfectly smooth with the iron beetle.

The leveling, in this part of the work, is made in the following manner:

When the red mass is spread out, a well planed lath, which should be as long as the width of the room, is laid upon the ground. Two workmen, each in the corner of the apartment, place this lath lengthwise, and then, by drawing it along, always keeping it on the same level, they remove the surface of the mortar, constantly applying the level in order to secure a perfect leveling.

The coating of mortar being thus perfectly leveled, it is beaten with the iron rammer and the beetle. The red mortar in the corners of the room should be beaten as soon as spread on, as it dries much sooner than that in the middle.


145. A white coating is spread over the red coat which is called lo stabilido or il bianco; this coating is prepared in the following manner:

A quantity of white or greyish marble is pounded into small fragments, or rather grains, which are then passed through a sieve of iron wire, fine enough to only permit the passage of that resembling coarse sand. Two parts of this coarse sand is then mixed with one part lime, and the whole is amalgamated until it acquires the consistency of still mortar, which is called by the workmen, il bianco.


146. When a sufficient quantity of the Marble mortar has been prepared, it is placed in a trough and carried into the room in which the pavement is made, and then spread over the red coating in the following manner.

A workman with a mason's trowel throws the mortar in small heaps in straight lines, about three inches apart; a second workman then spreads them evenly over the whole surface of the floor with a round steel trowel.

The thickness of this coating of Marble mortar should be from three to three and a half inches.

Any color that may be wished may be given to this mortar, by using yellow, green, or any other colored Marble; but white Marble is usually preferred, as the designs appear to better advantage on it, as well as the pieces of Marble.

When the coating of white mortar begins to dry, the design should be lightly traced upon it; after which the second part of the process begins, which consists in applying the different colored Marbles needed to compose the design which has been traced.

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