“Natural building expert Michael G. Smith from the Emerald Earth Institute shows us the first layer of an earthen floor (clay soil, sand, chopped straw and road base, or crushed rock): just one layer of the 3 layers they eventually use. He also shows us a finished floor that has been treated with 4 to 6 coats of linseed oil and is water resistant and completely mop friendly.”
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11 thoughts on “Natural building: a water-resistant earthen floor”
Man, who knew that 4 to 6 coats of linseed oil is water resistant.
I learn something every day.
Our property in Arkansas has a lot of glade rock. Is it safe to build a sandbag house directly on the glade rock. Any special steps we should take?
I don’t know what glade rock is, but in general if it’s solid rock that won’t compress under weight then that is ideal.
Can all of the materials needed for these floors be found at the local home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s)?
Soil comes from your local environment. Talk to excavators, etc. to find suitable soil. Buy a book on earth floors if you think it will help.
It excites me to see something so useful and durable as a floor being made of earth! I watched the other videos on building an earthen floor too. So “natural” ! The Earth provides.
There’s no toxic fumes and they can last hundreds of years. Think of the savings of not replacing linoleum and carpet every 15 years.
Thanks. They should just call it wire mesh and plaster mesh to make it easier to understand. Anyway, looking around about that 12″ of scoria; am I correct to assume that the plastic goes down first then the scoria without a plastic on top of it then, sand or dirt is just poured on top of that?? That doesn’t seem to be right but, that’s all I can make out of other people’s description of the process.
Like anything, there are probably differences in technique. The most common method is lay the plastic on the ground (usually 6 mil black plastic sheeting), add the scoria (often 1/2″-3/4″ screened aggregate), then pour the earthen mix on top. Note, the soil is pre-mixed like concrete before applying it on top of the scoria.
I enjoyed seeing this again along with the extras. I have a couple questions. Owen at the Institute site the writer says he used 3/8″ hardware cloth. What IS hardware cloth? Also, how would you use scoria with this type of floor? How much difference in depth would be needed? Is there a better way for using scoria as the insulation for your floor base with a different top? Thanks Owen or anyone who knows…….
Hardware cloth is another name for steel mesh or plaster mesh. It comes in different sizes. http://cdn.backyardchickens.com/0/0c/0c7ea2a1_61023_hwrcloth.jpeg
Natural builders often use 12″ or so of scoria for insulation under their earth floors in cold climates. The earth floor recipe varies from builder to builder. There’s lots of free information online.