Natural Earthen Floors
Monday December 08, 2008
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Instead of spending an endless amount of time trying to get the dirt off your floors, why not get more dirt on there? Earthen floors have hit the market and plenty of homes in America, particularly in the West. Natural soil is compacted with straw or other fibers and sealed with natural oils (i.e. linseed; beeswax) to form attractive high-quality flooring. What's best about earthen floors is that they are about as green as flooring gets!
Earthen Floor Advantages
There are many advantages to installing green earthen floors in your homes. For one thing, maintenance is easier than you think. The seal used for earthen floors is water-repellant so the floor doesn't turn into mud. Plus, it is easy to sweep and does not capture a lot of dust to begin with. Not only are materials inexpensive, but you will also save money and energy because of its thermal benefits. Earthen materials easily capture and retain heat during the day and release it at night. As green flooring material, earthen floors can be reincorporated into building more floors, which helps to eliminate construction waste. Plus, dirt is plentiful and readily available anywhere you live.
Furthermore, the manufacture of dirt flooring results in little or no waste, pollution, or spent energy as would be the case with other floor types. The soft earth makes for a comfortable walking surface comparable to leather. And just because the floor is made of dirt does not mean it lacks appeal. Earthen floors can be just as attractive as the next floor!
Earthen Floor Disadvantages
As with all flooring types, earthen floors have a few disadvantages. Although the sealant is water-resistant, manufacturers do not recommend these floors to be installed in rooms that see a lot of moisture. That being said, kitchens and bathrooms would not be a great place to install an earthen floor. Additionally, high-traffic areas require more materials in addition to dirt for protection (i.e. flagstone).
Although natural earthen flooring is more durable than some floors like vinyl because it is easily replaceable, it is not as strong as floors like tile or cement. Earthen floors easily scratch and dent. Additionally, since earthen flooring is not a popular choice, not many contractors know how to install these floors. The do-it-yourself process can be very labor-intensive.
The decision to install earthen floors should be based on your preferences and requirements. Whether you choose earthen flooring or not, it is always great to find another flooring alternative to things like hardwood and tile. And don't forget, its eco-friendly!
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