Green Homeowners Turning To Earthen Floors

<p>Dirt is the latest material being used in homes as environmentally conscious homeowners look to live more sustainability.</p>
February 11, 2007, 7am PST | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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The New York Times profiles one couple in Oakland installing a dirt -- or earthen -- floor in their newly purchased 50-year-old home in an Oakland suburb.

"The floor - which, in addition to the basic ingredient, included lime and sand, two classic components of concrete - would take a few weeks to dry, a period when the couple would camp out in their living room. But once sealed with a mixture of linseed oil and beeswax, it would theoretically be firm and water-repellent. Fans of such floors say that soapy water will clean them without turning them to mud, and that another coat of oil can renew the shine."

"The couple are part of a new breed of environmentally conscious homeowners who are willing to forgo traditional floorings like hardwood, carpeting and concrete for the supposed benefits of earthen floors: a reduction in heating costs and environmental impact and, at least in the eyes of some, an improvement in looks."

"It is hardly a new or chic movement: millions of poor people around the globe use natural materials like dirt for their homes whether they want to or not. But with the growing environmental awareness in this country, Mr. Kahn said, there is greater interest in natural building materials like dirt."

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Published on Thursday, February 8, 2007 in The New York Times
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