An earthen floor is an ancient flooring technique that has been revived and modernized in recent years and is especially popular in the western United States. Earthen floors are made from natural materials that can be sourced locally (laterite, sand, clay and water) and layered to make a surface that is as strong and resilient as possible.
First, a laterite layer is applied on a flat, compacted foundation, with manual compaction helping keep the laterite layer level and strong. Next, a screed layer, which is made of sand and clay is applied and trowelled flat. The floor is then sealed by a layer of drying oil that polymerizes (plasticizes) as it dries to form a plastic-like resin on the floor.
In the US, boiled linseed oil is traditionally used. However, boiled linseed oil is expensive and is not locally available in Rwanda and slightly noxious. So our co-founder Rick Zuzow formulated an alternative oil that converts flaxseed oil into a similarly performing varnish/drying oil. Our varnish is green and healthy, free of the noxious fumes found in boiled linseed oil is produced at a fraction of the cost of linseed-based varnish. As a result, we are able to provide durable and healthy floors that are 70% cheaper than the only alternative, concrete.