EarthEnable – Low Cost Flooring Solutions in Rwanda

How EarthEnable adapted earthen flooring to Rwanda

One third of the global population is estimated to live in houses that are at least partially made of earth, and the percentage is estimated to be much higher in developing countries. EarthEnable utilizes laboratory testing and grassroots partnerships to optimize earthen flooring products for rural environments. 

Across the world, earthen floors utilize locally-sourced clay, sand, fiber, and plant oils. However, earthen floors in the United States and Europe typically use a linseed oil sealant, which is incredibly expensive. In order to bring affordable earthen floors to Rwanda, the team at EarthEnable had to innovate.

With the help of PhD Rick Zuzow, a chemist from Stanford University, a new oil was created which could seal the floors properly and safely at a cost of 90% less than linseed oil. With the new oil in hand, EarthEnable knows that it could use local materials and labor to build extremely affordable floors worldwide.

Material Sourcing

The first step in our construction process is sourcing earthen materials. We train our masons to construct floors laterite and sand sourced from our customers backyards!

Layer 1: Laterite

Laterite is a type of gravel or bedrock. We compact the laterite to create a layer of rammed earth that serves as our earthen floor’s foundation.

Layer 2: Fine Earthen Mix

We combine sand with clay to form a smooth and beautiful top layer. This layer binds with the coarse laterite.

Layer 3: Oil

We apply a sealant to make the floor abrasion and water resistant. Traditionally, earthen floors use linseed oil as a sealant. Our proprietary, plant-based sealant is cheaper and equally effective.