The Complete Earthen Floor

Date: July 26 - July 27, 2014
Duration: 2 days
Fee: $280
Category: Earthen Floor
Location: St. Paul , AB

Includes meals & camping on site (Blue Quills First Nations College).

Instructors: Ashley Lubyk & Heather Noakes (Dirt Craft Natural Building)

Registration: Please visit or contact (save 10% when you register with a friend):

Michael Hollihn (Natural Building-Science Apprenticeship Program Coordinator):  780.645.4455 extension 241 email: [email protected]

About the Workshop:

Contemporary earthen floors combine traditional methods while addressing modern demands and esthetics for a result that is beautiful, durable, non-toxic, ecologically-sensitive, and healthy. 

This two day hands-on workshop will get you everything you need to know about earthen floors: the right proportions of sand to clay, the tools, sub floor preparation, the installation of radiant heating in earthen floors, & finishing techniques.

Learn our earthen floor recipe, including how to use local subsoil to make a beautiful floor, as well as options for mixes from bagged pottery clays, how to lay in-floor heating into the earthen floor, proper sub floor insulation and preparation, earthen floor toweling techniques, and which finishes to use, including the different types of natural oils & waxes suitable for use.

Earthen floor finished with hemp oil & soft beeswax.

In this two day workshop we’ll cover:

  • Where earthen floors can be installed and how to prepare your space
  • How to create a durable and beautiful mix from clay, sand and straw
  • Proper tool selection
  • Floor installation techniques, using trowels and other tools to ensure proper laying of the material for best performance
  • In-floor (radiant) heating installation
  • Compression and burnishing
  • Finishing techniques including oiling and waxing
  • Repairs and maintenance
Installing earthen floor over existing concrete with in-floor heating.


Earthen floors are the oldest floors on earth. They offer a warmth and beauty that is unsurpassed by other conventional flooring options. Soft and more comfortable than concrete, earthen floors are durable, long lasting, earth and people-friendly, and affordable.  They add thermal mass, making them perfect for passive solar designs, while complimenting in-floor heating systems very well.

Earthen floors can be installed over most existing floor systems since they are finished with plant-based oils and bee’s wax, they can be moped for easy cleaning.

First layer of earthen floor with in-floor heating in straw bale home.


Popular Questions from our Earthen Floor FAQ:

What is an earthen floor made from?

Earthen floors combine sand, clay and fiber, usually straw. Materials are generally sourced locally, depending on your needs and particular location. The floor is sealed with various plant-bases oils such as tung, hemp, and linseed, and a soft bee’s wax for long term protection.

Where can these floors be installed?

Earthen floors offer versatility for a wide-range of spaces, and are suitable for every room of the house. They are not recommended in outdoor spaces, basements prone to flooding, areas that are frequently wet, or in areas prone to lots of abuse (i.e. in a workshop where heavy tools are frequently dropped).

Earthen floors can be installed “on grade”, on existing concrete slabs, and when properly prepared, on a framed sub floor.

Are earthen floors easy to maintain?

Yes. Earthen floors can be swept, vacuumed, and mopped. An occasional washing with an oil-based soap (i.e. “Ecover Floor Soap”) will keep the floor clean and glossy. A new coat of wax should be applied on occasion, though this may be every 1 to 5 years depending on the wear. Earthen floors are easily patched if they are damaged.

Visit our Earthen Floor Resource page for more information, or visit our Earthen Floor Gallery page here.

Contact us [email protected] if you have specific concerns!

Some earthen floor tools: wooden floats for evenly spreading material.


Why Take a Dirt Craft Workshop:

We strongly believe that natural building is best learned in a hands-on environment, and this is why we always work on real projects in our workshops. Our goal is to ensure that you get the education and experience you need, to have the confidence to work on your own projects. We want to contribute in a positive and meaningful manner to the natural building community and we think that education, with integrity, in the latest building techniques can expand and add to this emerging field.

Learn From Experience:

We have taught over 450 students, and worked on many projects since we officially became a business in 2010. This means we have encountered many different, and sometimes difficult situations. We bring this experience and knowledge to each workshop, so that when you encounter your own difficulties, during your own project, you will be armed with all of the necessary information to make decisions when the time comes.


Course details and directions to the workshop location will be sent to all registered students about a week before the course.

St. Paul is 2.5 hr North East of Edmonton, and 5.5 hr from Calgary.

Note: Registrations are being administrated through Michael Hollihn at Blue Quills. Please visit or contact him directly: Michael Hollihn (Natural Building-Science Apprenticeship Program Coordinator): 780.645.4455 extension 241 email: [email protected].

Want More Hands-on Natural Building?

Dirt Craft will be leading 3 back to back natural building workshops at Blue Quills this July. This partnership presents a unique opportunity for some serious hands-on learning. As a way for you to take advantage, we thought we’d offer the Natural Building Intensive package. Sign up for all three workshops for a savings of $200. Please contact Michael Hollihn at Blue Quills to register.


Double Chamber Wood Fired Cob Oven July 19 & 20 $280
The Straw Bale Comprehensive July 21 – July 25 $700
The Complete Earthen Floor July 26 & July 27 $280
Total: $1,260
Natural Building Intensive (all 3 workshops, save $200) July 19 – July 27 $1,060