Techniques

Adobe bricks

Adobe brick building is also one of the oldest building ways. Adobe bricks are made out of loamy earth that has been moistured with water mixed with chopped straw, goat hair or other kind of fiber for enhancement, and placed into forms of the desired shape to dry. The shape is rectangle with the most common dimensions being 30x15x12 for the construction of walls 45cm thick. The way to build with adobe is the same as with normal bricks using mud as bonding material.

The advantages they have over cob are , the ease of construction, the lower cost due to the use of neat soil and the elasticity of the construction. The ideal earth for adobe making is consisted of 15%- 30% of clay for cohesion while the rest is sand or small gravel. A greater percentage of clay would lead to a greater shrinkage which would tear the brick apart, while a smaller percentage would result in brittle bricks. To make adobe bricks we put the mix into molds to take the desired shape, remove the mold and let it dry in the sun. We can also compress the mix in the mold with hydraulic presses. Adobe bricks can be used for floors, coloured with a thin layer of clay and polished with natural oil. Adobe brick buildings that have been plastered with the right plaster , generally need much less maintenance from the ones that the bricks are exposed. In an attempt to protect old adobe brick buildings, they have been plastered externally with cement. This method has failed because when the rain water penetrates the cement through a crack it cannot evaporate easily since cement blocks the breathing of the wall. As a result the plaster cracks. Adobe bricks have great thermal mass so they can absord really well the heat or the coolness. Many times, in order to have better heat insulation, double row masonry is used with insulation in between.

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