The Ten Books on Architecture, 7.1.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 7.0.18 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 7.1.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

1I shall begin with pavements, which are the principal of the finishings, and should be executed with the greatest care and attention to their solidity. If the pavement be made on the ground itself, the soil must be examined, to ascertain that it is solid throughout, then over it is to be spread and levelled a layer of rubbish. But if the whole or any part of the earth be loose, it is to be made solid with a rammer. In timber floors care must be taken that no wall be built under them, so as to touch the under side of the floors; but that a space be rather left between them and the floors. For if they be made solid, the timber of the floors drying and settling, whilst the wall remains in its place, will cause fissures in the pavement to the right and left.

Morgan translation

1First 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.