An earthen floor is an ancient flooring technique that has been revived and modernized in recent years, and which is especially popular in the western United States. Earthen floors are made of natural materials that can be sourced locally (laterite, sand, clay and water). Earthen floors utilize layers to make them 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 is applied on top, made of sand and clay which is 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, given that boiled linseed oil is expensive, not locally available in Rwanda, and slightly noxious, co-founder Rick Zuzow formulated an alternative oil that converts flax seed oil into a similarly performing drying oil.

Our oil is green and healthy, free of the noxious fumes found in boiled linseed oil, and we produce it at a fraction of the cost of linseed. In Rwanda, this enables durable and healthy floors that are 70% cheaper than the only alternative, concrete.

What is an earthen floor?