ADOBE FLOORS


 


People have been walking on earthen floors for thousands of years. Throughout the world, archaeologists have uncovered numerous examples of earthen floors still in very good condition. When mixed and installed correctly, earthen floors can last a lifetime and provide an enchanting surface that is warm in winter and cool in summer.

The ingredients in contemporary earthen floors can vary according to region, but in North America, they generally consist of soil with clay content, sand, and chopped straw. The mix is troweled into place, and sealed with plant based oils after the floor has dried. In the American Southwest, ox blood was mixed with the dirt for a stronger, more durable surface. For similar reasons, rural Japanese poured bath water, which contained oil from the bather’s skin, onto the unsealed floors. In India, ghee or clarified butter was used.

The aesthetic possibilities of a finished adobe floor are limited only by your imagination. The various natural pigments and fine clays available to work with are nearly endless. Fine sand, mica and finely chopped straw can be added in various amounts to achieve different colors and qualities.