How to Build an Adobe House

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Adobe is one of the most ancient and widely used building materials. Adobe is a sun-dried mud that has great energy saving qualities. Adobe houses are good structures for warm climates with low humidity. Adobe bricks are made from soil, water and straw. The adobe mix without the straw is good as a mortar.

Things You'll Need

  • Straw
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Brick molds
  • Nails
  • Trowel
  • Wood
  • Tar
  • Asphalt
  • Test the soil to see if it is suitable for adobe. Good adobe soil has equal parts clay, silt and sand.

  • Make your adobe bricks. Mix the soil with water and straw to make a paste. Pour the adobe into the brick molds. The most common dimensions for bricks are 4x10x14 inches. Allow the bricks to dry for 10 days.

  • Start building the walls once the bricks are formed and dried. Began at the corners and work to the middle of the wall. Apply mortar between each brick. Set wooden inserts between the bricks to hold decorations or frames for windows and doors. Adobe will hold a nail. For interior walls, place studs as normal and add the bricks around the studs.

  • Use bond beams or rebar-reinforced beams for all load bearing beams. Wrap the adobe bricks around the beam to help hold the load.

  • Make the floors. There are two ways to make adobe floors: with bricks or spread adobe. If adobe bricks are used, a vapor barrier must be laid down first. Then lay the brick starting at the walls and working in. Spread adobe must be laid before the roof is put up. Two inches of adobe is spread across the ground and smoothed out with a trowel. Allow the adobe to dry and then apply two more inches of adobe on top.

  • Roof the house as you would any other house. Use tar paper and asphalt to protect from heat. Use wooden beams and decking to make the structure of the roof.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plan the adobe home carefully before beginning. The more you plan, the better your final result.
  • Not all climates are suitable for adobe houses. Climates with high humidity deteriorate the adobe.

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