Earthen floors are growing in popularity not simply because they forgo non-renewable resources, but because they have an aesthetic appeal that some homeowners find warmer and more inviting than hardwoods and carpet.
Earth floors also absorb the sun and so can provide a great heat sink for passive solar design. And unlike many carpets and hardwood finishes, they don’t off-gas VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
In this video, natural building expert Michael G. Smith from the Emerald Earth Sanctuary 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.