By: Owen Geiger

Poured adobe floor with clay alis highlights and boiled linseed oil finish.

Poured adobe floor with clay alis highlights and boiled linseed oil finish.

Adobe bricks with top coat of poured adobe
Set dry adobes on a bed of sand or sand and gravel, sweep sand in the joints and then trowel on a top coat of adobe mud.
Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB)
Set CEBs on a bed of sand, sweep sand in the joints, coat with sealer.
Tamped earth
Tamp 2” layers of moist road base, top layer is screened, coat with boiled linseed oil.
David Easton’s method using 1” thick layer of soil cement on top of 4” of well-compacted soil such as road base.
Soil cement pavers
David Easton’s pre-cast pavers made with soil, sand, pea gravel, cement and water mixed and poured into molds.
Tractor cob
Mechanized production that reduces the time and labor of building with cob by up to 90 percent.
Lime stabilized tamped earth
Mix sand or sandy soil with lime and water, tamp several layers.
Poured adobe
Mix sharp sand or crusher fines, clay, chopped straw and water, and trowel ¾”-2” layer on top of tamped road base, seal with boiled linseed oil and/or other oils.
Poured adobe with psyllium hulls
Mix adobe soil with 50% sand and psyllium and water, plus topping coat of sifted soil, screened sand and psyllium, then seal with Okan sealer.
Tamped earth with poured adobe top coat
Tamp moist layers of road base, then trowel on 1” layer of earth plaster mix consisting of sand, clay and chopped straw, then coat with linseed oil.
Earth Floor book by Bill and Athena Steen
Traditional southwestern thick adobe floor method built on drainage layer.

Which earth floor method is best? It all depends on the look you’re after, your skills, the materials available, whether you want a fast or slow drying floor and probably other factors. For instance, maybe you’re not good at troweling and so you might want to use CEBs or pavers set on sand.

Consider using stone, geopolymer pavers or recycled brick in high traffic areas and bathrooms.

←More from Design
More Articles in This Category

Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture: Michael Pawlyn: “You could look at nature as being like a catalog of products, and all of those have benefited
Building an Adobe Home Video: “Year 2000, building authentic two-story adobe home/ art studio. Stabilized adobe brick, mud mortar and plaster inside and out. Adobe
Alt. Building Blog: I think you’ll enjoy this alternative building blog about traditional building in the Southwest. To browse the Alt. Building Blog