Earth Floors Print


  • Earth floors of various designs and applications can be found   throughout history.
  • Locally earth floors were used by early settlers where timber could not be sourced or afforded.
  • Local vernacular architectures still use earth floors.


  • If well built can provide viable warmer alternative to concrete using local materials.
  • Earth floors provide excellent thermal comfort to building interiors.
  • Can be easily repaired.

Technical Information:

Ground slab construction:

  • Adobe bricks or cast clay slabs are laid on a thick bed of gravel.
  • Then various layers of earth, straw, dung and sometimes lime is used to screed over.
  • Normally sealed by burnishing with mix of beeswax and linseed oil, casein.
  • Good perimeter french drains are advised to divert all moisture.
  • Vulnerable in floods.
  • Easily damaged, but also easily and inexpensively repaired.

First Floor Construction:

  • There are many variations of this construction.
  • Typically a slab of clay straw is laid on criss-cross layers of reeds and bamboo or timber ceilings spanning between timber rafters.
  • Earth bricks can be used forming mini vaults between rafter supports.

Company track record and examples of work:

  • OR Tambo Narrative & Enviro Centre – Leeupan, Johannesburg, 2010 - 2011
  • Mamre Info Centre Project, Mamre Western Cape, 2010, first floor construction.
  • House Davids, Zeekovlei, Cape Town, 2000