Red oxide flooring was used to adorn the homes of Kings and peasants for an aesthetic look in the past. At present, it is very commonly used in South India. It has been a popular choice for centuries.
This is an eco-friendly, pocket-friendly and non-toxic oxide of iron mixed with cement. Various shades of red can be achieved by mixing oxide and cement in different ratios. Red oxide flooring (ROF) is a popular choice for many years in Goa, coastal Karnataka and Kerala.
Many people who have grown up in South India and spent their summer holidays at their grandparents’ house might remember and relate to the rich velvety feel of red colour floors. That was nothing but the red oxide floors.
Often known as the poor man’s flooring, ROF is back in the market with a bang because of its sustainable quality yet aesthetic looks.
HOW TO DO RED OXIDE FLOORING?
Flooring of Red oxide is a sustainable and environmentally friendly flooring but is a tedious job to do. Red oxide flooring requires highly skilled craftsmen who pay attention to detail and demands more patience and time than usual flooring takes.
Why it requires both (skilled labour and more time) will be easier to understand by reading the process it undergoes, which is mentioned below:
- In this process, cement is mixed with red oxide to apply to the floor after the concrete. Then the floor is smoothened for a neat finish.
- To avoid drying out, the floor is cured by spraying water and this process is repeated for almost 2 days (depending on how fast the floor dries).
- After the process of spraying water, the residue has to be removed till white patches get off the floor, by rubbing off with a cloth manually. The floor is then watered for several days to set to its final state.
- To create a smooth finish it is sanded with 400-grit sandpaper. At last bee wax is used to polish the floor with cloth for a mirror finish and the floor is left for 3 to 4 days to properly absorb the wax.
These are steps followed in the process of red oxide flooring to serve its users a velvety texture being eco-friendly and less costly at the same time.
OXIDE FLOORS TEXTURE
The velvety texture of red oxide floors makes them ideal to walk on. People feel very comfortable even with bare feet and provide physiological comfort. If it is for outdoor usage then the finish should be little rough to avoid slipping.
Red oxide floors don’t lose lustre as tiles do. To maintain this smooth texture, harsh chemicals should be avoided while cleaning. They age like fine wine as they become shinier and smoother over time.
The texture of the floor and the aesthetic looks it gives hand in hand makes it quintessential. This might be the reason that floors made with this technique, even after hundreds of years are still in demand.
OXIDE FLOORING DESIGNS
Red oxide floors are available in various shades of red. Apart from this, we have shades of other colours in this pattern of floorings, including colours like blue and yellow. These shades are just a mix of oxides in cement in different proportions which gives them different shades.
Due to the scarcity of skilled labour and the difficult implementation of the process the problem is solved by the readily available red oxide tiles. These tiles are made by spreading iron oxide on tiles and have become popular over the last few years.
As per customers’ preferences, looks can be created by giving them tiles look, tiles with metallic look with different shades for indoor and outdoor use.
RED OXIDE FLOORING DISADVANTAGES
Craftsman-scarcity: It is rare to find artisans who are indulged in process of making red oxide floors and yet follow the best techniques of red oxide flooring as manual work is high.
Time-consuming: The process is time-consuming and to avoid breaks it has to be done in continuity without gaps. The process requires a lot of patience and alertness.
High labour cost: The cost paid to labours for this tedious process sometimes drives up the overall price of red oxide flooring. The supply of workers and experts in this particular method is low which attribute to high labour costs.
Curing process: Poor curing process or inadequate water application can lead to the formation of chips and large cracks. The process requires proper care during the curing process to give good stability and strength to the red oxide floor.
Water quality: Water used in the process should be clean or treated. Mineral-rich borewell water is avoided for the process of flooring. This adds up to the expenditure.
Red oxide floors were first introduced by the Portuguese and Italians in India. These floors are still relevant in the market because of their smooth finish, sustainability, environment and pocket-friendly nature. This humble material deserves true value and appreciation. We hope the red oxide floor will serve your expectation.
You may also like: What is RMC (Ready Mix Concrete)