Learn about the benefits of earthen floors and how to install them yourself.
Burnishing an earthen floor at the leather-hard stage polishes
the floor and removes trowel marks.
Photo by James Thomson
Like the sculptural cob fireplace surround, the floor in Sudip
Biddle and Rosalind Wu’s straw bale home in Pagosa Springs, Colorado
(built by Kelly Ray Mathews) also serves as a thermal mass for storing heat
and moderating temperature fluctuations. Note the use of a stone under
the stove, where people might be tempted to split firewood; an earthen
floor could be damaged by high-impact activity.
Photo by Catherine Wanek
The final layer of an earthen floor should be one of the last
steps in constructing a natural home. All of the finish plaster, carpentry
and rough plumbing have been completed in this cob house prior to installing
the finish floor.
Photo by Michael G. Smith
Mixing an earthen floor mix in a wheelbarrow with two hoes.
The ideal consistency is similar to cake batter.
Photo by Mira Stebvika
Clearly written, logically organized, and stunningly illustrated with more than 400 photographs, “The Art of Natural Building” is a must-read for anyone interested in building durable, low-cost, environmentally sensible structures.