Earthen floor

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An earthen floor

An earthen floor, also called an adobe floor, is a floor made of dirt, raw earth, or other unworked ground materials. It is usually constructed, in modern times, with a mixture of sand, finely chopped straw and clay, mixed to a thickened consistency and spread with a trowel on a sub-surface such as concrete. Once dry, it is then usually saturated with several treatments of a drying oil.

Benefits[edit]

  1. Variety of colors, textures, and materials
  2. Can be installed over nearly any subflooring
  3. Integrates well with in-floor radiant heat tubing
  4. One of the cheapest flooring methods, green or otherwise.

History[edit]

Earthen floors were predominant in most houses until the mid 14th century in Europe, and persist to this day in many parts of the world.[1] In medieval times, almost all peasant housing had earthen floors, usually of hardpacked dirt topped off with a thin layer of straw for warmth and comfort. Soil in the southwestern parts of the US contain nearly a perfectly mixed ratio of adobe.

In China, most cottages and smaller houses also had earthen floors, made of rammed earth and sealed with raw linseed.[2]

Earthen floors were discovered in ancient Greece,[3] and in many other early developing civilizations.

Earthen floors, along with stone and sometimes wood, were used as threshing floors.

Construction[edit]

In modern times, most earthen floors are often laid over the top of a subfloor of tamped gravel or cob or adobe, and then a mixture of clay, sand and fiber are mixed and leveled onto the subfloor. The finished layer can be 1/2 to 2 inches thick, and once dry is sealed with a drying oil (like linseed oil). Earthen floors can be laid over the top of previously installed wood floors but weight can become an issue.

Finishing[edit]

A drying oil like Linseed oil is usually used to seal the floor and protect it from wear and tear. A final coat of a wax sealing finish (perilla oil or floor wax) can be used to increase durability and lustre.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gies, Frances & Gies, Joseph, Life in a Medieval Village
  2. ^ Mitsu,Ahn , Developments in History: China
  3. ^ McAllister, Marian Holland; Bradley A. Ault (2005). The Excavations at Ancient Halieis: The Houses: The Organization and Use of Domestic Space. Indiana University Press. p. 103. ISBN 0-253-34710-6. 

External links[edit]