Bring back the old world glam with a red oxide flooring. Today we bring you all you must know about red oxide flooring for your home.
Most of you who read this article will probably have not heard of red oxide flooring. Red Oxide is a material commonly used for flooring in South Indian homes. A popular choice for hundreds of years in many parts of Kerala, Chettinad, coastal Karnataka and Goa, red oxide floors have adorned the homes of kings and peasants alike.
If you have grown up in these parts of the country the rich velvety feel of a red oxide floor will take you on a ride down memory lane to the summer holidays you spent at your grandparents home. No traditional south Indian home will be complete without a red oxide floor. Once the go to choice for homeowners, red oxide fell from grace in the 70’s when mosaic tiles, marble, granite and vitrified tiles became fashionable.
Red oxide flooring is often relegated to the poor man’s floor as they are inexpensive and easy to repair.
Red oxide is an eco-friendly and non-toxic oxide of iron which when mixed with cement gives it its distinctive red hue. Varying shades of red can be achieved with different ratios of red oxide and cement.
Red oxide flooring has made a comeback in recent years with a growing number of homeowners looking for an eco-friendly material. They are also popular with those who like to have their homes designed in a traditional style.
The Fine Art of Red Oxide Flooring
Red oxide flooring might look simple and easy to lay out but is a labour and time intensive process that requires highly skilled craftsmanship and attention to detail. Red oxide mixed with cement is applied to the floor after concrete. This layer is smoothened with the use of levelling tools for a neat finish. Care is taken to cover up any patches or divots. The floor is cured by spraying water in order to avoid it from drying out. This process is repeated for a day or two depending how fast the floor dries. The next day you need to remove residue manually. This is rubbed off with a cloth and the process repeated again till all the white patches are rubbed off. The floor is then watered for several days to allow it to cure further and as it needs to set to its final state. It is sanded using 400 grit sandpaper to even out any imperfections. This helps create a smooth and flat finish for the next process that is waxing. Red wax, typically beeswax, is used to polish the floor with a cloth to a mirror finish. The floor is left to dry and absorb the wax for three to four days.
The Disadvantages Of Oxide Flooring To Keep in Mind
Though inexpensive red oxide flooring requires highly skilled labour that is in short supply these days. It is rare to find artisans who still follow the best techniques and processes in today’s times. It is a time consuming and continuous process as there cannot be breaks in the flooring process. Any delays can have adverse effects on the end finish. Also, the cost of labour can sometimes drive up the overall price of red oxide flooring. When not done right, red oxide flooring can chip and form large cracks that run across the length of the entire floor. This is because of poor curing that was sped up to save time or inadequate application of water.
Red oxide flooring is one of those quintessential Indian designs that has charm and timeless appeal. When done right with expert craftsmanship, red oxide flooring can not only stand the test of time but age like fine wine as it gains luster over the course of its lifetime. If you are looking for a floor that’s different from the mainstream offerings of stone, tiles or wood then red oxide floors might just be what you are looking for.