Mud bricks are one of the most earth-friendly building materials. Also known as adobe, mud bricks have a high load-bearing ability that can create buildings several stories tall. Its natural construction also makes it fire- and vermin-resistant. The downside: Building a mud brick home is labor-intensive. A house may require 10,000 bricks, and if you can only manage laying 200 bricks a week, it will be almost a year before you are done, not counting for any construction delays.
Things You'll Need
- Wooden mold
- Wooden frame
- Wooden beams
- Linseed oil
Mix earth and water to make mud, then add clay, straw or gravel to increase strength. The exact mixture amounts depend on the quality of the materials native to your area, but typically clay is 30 to 70 percent of the mud brick.
Pour the mixture into wooden molds to let them dry into bricks; a typical brick is about 8 x 4 x 2.25 inches long. Make sure the mud is packed tight to avoid air pockets. Keep the bricks out of direct sunlight while drying or they will crack.
Stack the bricks on a mortar bed using the same mud mixture or a sand-cement mixture. Erect wooden frames to form the doors and windows of your house, then build the bricks around them.
Lay the wooden beams for the roof over the house once the wall has reached its designated height. Deep eaves are recommended for adobe houses to protect the walls from heavy rain. Shingle the roof.
Coat the walls inside and out with linseed oil, turpentine or more mud to provide a protective layer. You will have to repeat this process about once a year to maintain the integrity of the walls. Good preservation has allowed some adobe buildings to last hundreds of years.
Tips & Warnings
- Building a strong and stable structure is critical to the safety of living in a mud brick house. Make sure you consult with architects, engineers, code enforcement and experts in mud buildings both before and during the construction process.
- Photo Credit adobe church image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com
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