Last edited 20 Nov 2020

The use of adobe in construction

Adobe is a material used for building that is made of organic materials such as earth, clay, straw, and so on. In Spanish, ‘adobe’ translates as ‘mudbrick’, and buildings that are constructed from adobe have a similar appearance to cob or rammed earth buildings.

Adobe bricks are traditionally made in open cast moulds and left to sun-dry rather than being kiln-fired. They are laid using an earth mortar and smoothed down when the wall is finished before a clay render is usually applied as a surface coating. This production process, as well as the nature of clay, means that adobe bricks have advantageous water resistance. However, buildings that are exposed to a lot of wet conditions should be provided with eaves to protect the walls.

Adobe bricks have similar properties to other forms of earth construction – fire-resistant, flexible, durable, provide sufficient thermal mass to ensure good energy efficiency, and good sound insulation.

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