Earthen or adobe floors, made of compressed dirt/sand/clay with a polished finish, are usually sealed using drying oils, which form a plastic-like seal that is washable. The most common oil cited in instructional books and articles is linseed oil. Of course, this oil isn’t available everywhere, and can be quite expensive.
Does anyone have any experience using other drying oils, with or without additives, to seal earthen floors?
The startup EarthEnable in Rwanda uses flaxseed oil but with a proprietary additive. Any ideas on what readily available additives could act as catalysts for drying oils?
Someone on this thread on Quora gives good details from Ghana, but still uses linseed oil as a base.
Some sources also cite the historical use of ox blood as a binder for floors, but it’s unclear whether this is in addition to, or as an alternative, to an oil or wax finish.
Other often-cited drying oils include tung, safflower, perilla, poppyseed, and walnut oils. Most of these are from temperate crops - are there any tropical oils that are known to be “drying” oils? Any chemists out there who can help me know what to look for in a potential oil? Do all oils high in polyunsatured fatty acids “dry” well? Sunflower oil, for example, is available here.
Any thoughts or experience appreciated!