Earth Floors

An earthen floor is well suited to bedroom installations like this one.

An earthen floor is well suited to bedroom installations like this one we installed in a northern California residents.

The soft texture of some earthen floors can be friendlier to bare feet. Like this one we installed in a vacation rental cabin in northern Laos.

The soft texture of some earthen floors can be friendlier to bare feet. Like this one we installed in a adobe (earth) vacation rental in northern Laos.

Earth floors are reminiscent of concrete floors in that they are poured in place and troweled smooth. But unlike cement or tile, they have a slight flexibility that makes them easier on your feet. We most often recommend earth floors for living rooms, bedrooms, libraries and protected sunrooms.

Earth floors can absorb heat during the day and radiate it out at night, providing a surface that is cool to walk on during the day and warm at night. Integrating a radiant floor heating system into an earthen floor can enhance the system’s performance.

 

NYT Feature - Down and Dirty - By David Gelles       Featuring The Natural Builders

Follow the installation of one of our earth floors, as described in “Down and Dirty” by David Gelles, published February 8, 2007 in The New York Times.

 

Earth floors can be installed on a number of substrates, including concrete, plywood, and drain rock over compacted subsoil. The hardness of the finished surface is variable, based on many conditions including the strength of the subfloor, the chemistry of the mix, the thickness of the installation, the application technique and surface treatment. As with any floor, a care and maintenance program is important to keep them looking beautiful. When properly sealed with a special blend of natural oils and waxes, earthen floors can be swept and mopped clean, though care should be given when choosing cleaning products; solvents should be avoided.Earth floors can be installed on a number of substrates.

The hardness of the finished  surface is variable based on many conditions including:

  •  Strength of the sub-floor
  •  Mix chemistry
  •  Installation thickness
  • Surface treatment

"The floor which, in addition to the basic ingredient, included lime and sand, two classic components of concrete would take a few weeks to dry, a period when the couple would camp out in their living room. But once sealed with a mixture of linseed oil and beeswax, it would theoretically be firm and water-repellent. Fans of such floors say that soapy water will clean them without turning them to mud, and that another coat of oil can renew the shine..." Read full article