Earthen Flooring: What To Know, Why To Consider

Earthen floors have a kind of natural beauty to them, that beautifully compliments the modern design. Earthen floors add a touch of earthiness to you home and the process is relatively easy to learn. They bring several benefits, including low toxicity and low impact on the planet. Earthen floors are not something that has been recently discovered, of course, but it isn’t widely popular due to the lack of knowledge concerning it, in a world of technology where everyday several new materials hit the market. Traditionally, floors were made with raw earth, kept moist with water. In recent times, earthen floors are made with a combination of raw materials, like clay, soil , sand and fibers. A combination of these are mixed together with water, poured and layered. Once it dries, sealants like  oil (usually a combination including beeswax, pine resin and other oils) or wax are used to provide durability, water resistance and that beautiful glow, that adds a final touch of finesse. This layer makes the earthen layer stay intact and makes it possible to clean with water. Unlike popular misconceptions, a variety of shades can be achieved for the earthen floor. The color of the clay you use makes a big difference. You could get a grey-toned clay or somewhat reddish clay, which will affect the overall color of the floor. Another method, is to add color pigments to the earthen mixture. After the earthen layer is dry, you could also also add pigment to the final coat of oil.   

why earthen flooring

Carbon Footprint

The carbon footprint of earthen floor, is very low, compared to other options, since no transportation is required, and it produces  low emissions. It is also easily biodegradable, making it a sustainable material for flooring.



Made with simple, natural materials, like raw earth, clay and sealants like beeswax or pine resin, earthen floor is a low cost way of flooring.



Most of time, earthen floor is easily made on site, and doesn’t require to be transported long distances. 


Thermal Resistance

Earthen flooring retains heat well, and is an excellent choice for houses in hot, dry areas. It helps in keeping your home cooler during summers. Adding an extra layer of insulation, makes it suitable for winters, providing warmth inside homes.


With no need of adding any sort of chemicals, earthen flooring is a non-toxic option for flooring. 

what to know


Even though making earthen floor might be comparatively easier, there are few things to consider before opting for this.


Packaging And Storage

Before making the floor, it is very important to store the raw materials carefully.Storing it in a damp, moist or in a place where it could possibly be contaminated, could ruin the product. 



Earthen floors require a strong base; a stable and strong subfloor. This means the structure will have to be considered, especially  in cases of renovations to see if it will be able to support the additional weight.


In a room, where you had thought of normal tiling during the planning phase, you will have to consider the thickness of earthen floor, especially at entrances of at places where you connect two areas. 

Water Resistance

Although the surface is provided water resistance with oil or wax, underneath the surface, the earth is still susceptible to the negative consequences of water. Due to this, it is not advisable to use earthen floors in high-water areas, like a flood-prone area, or in a bathroom. 


Your regular earthen floor is durable, but in cases where strength of the floor has to be considered, plain earthen floor might not be the best choice. Earthen floor is a good choice over other options in several instances, but materials like concrete, which is nearly ten times stronger than earth, might have to be considered where the strength of the floor plays a significant role in the structure. 


The average earthen floor, is generally very durable and lasts a long time. In the past two decades, the earthen flooring in my grandparents’ house has had no issues. Frequent mopping might strip the oil or wax on the surface layer, but you can re-oil or re-wax it occasionally, but it is better to just avoid wear when possible. Same applies for dragging around furniture to move it, or treating your earthen floor in a way you would treat a concrete one.Earthen floors can be considered similar to wooden flooring. 



Earthen floors are a popular alternative, when it comes to choosing from options that leaves minimal impact on the planet. Compared to concrete and other options, that have high embodied energy, earthen floors are definitely a better choice, helping with energy efficiency as well as aesthetic features.


 Many  things are often just called environment-friendly, and it is up to us to evaluate it, based on our lifestyle, location and other factors. It is not sustainable to driver for over an hour to get one or two eco-friendly products.The choice might come down to which leaves minimal impact on nature. It is always a good idea to keep track of the latest eco-friendly materials in the market, so that you can use it or tell others about it,  as soon as you find something great.


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