Definition of "Adobe Construction"

Verndell Robinson real estate agent

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Verndell Robinsonelite badge icon

Samson Properties

Adobe construction is one of the oldest types of construction that has been used in the Americas, ancient Egypt, and the Middle East to build long-lasting structures that can be seen even today. One of the oldest structures still standing made out of adobe is the citadel of Bam, Iran built before 500 BC. 

Adobe construction was intensely applied during ancient times because the material used for them was so easily available. The only material used in adobe construction in adobe. No, not the editing software, but the name of the material itself.

So what is adobe material?

Back before the age of technology, before the industrial revolution and the discovery of concrete and other modern building materials, people could only use wood for shelter. But what if they didn’t have much wood available? Those without vast forests on hand to gather wood from had something else. Sand, dirt, or … well … mud. 

There is dirt everywhere across the globe and once people understood that if they add water to it, they can give it any shape, they did just that. The best part about it at the time was that you didn’t have to buy it. It was all around you and available to those that wanted it. They would just add water to dirt, shape it in the shape they wanted it, and would leave it to dry. Over time people realized that adobe bricks could be made more resilient with added fibers, so chopped straws were added to increase strength. They can be made in open cast molds that are left to dry in direct sunlight. They don’t even need fire to create.

Today, adobe is still used in construction, especially in alternative housing or green homes. The adobe material is gaining popularity among environmentalists as it is completely green throughout its manufacturing process. Adobe has a few disadvantages and many advantages just like another green material - bamboo. Biodegradable, yet fireproof, durable, yet non-toxic, adobe is an excellent thermal performer maintaining heat and cool and a great sound absorber.

What is Adobe Construction Today?

With the growing awareness of the threats posed to our environment, environmentalists and real estate developers have been looking for the best green materials for real estate. Adobe is among if not, the best building materials as it’s the simplest form of earth building. When it comes to adobe construction it is considered a sustainable type of architecture because of the properties mentioned above.

If you’re curious about what can be done from adobe you might be surprised that you probably already know. If you have seen those videos online with people building their own homes out of mud, that is one form in which adobe can be applied.

Building an adobe construction is a lot easier than any other type of construction and entirely eco-friendly. All you need are the adobe bricks which weigh either 25 (8 by 4 by 12 inches) or 35  (10 by 4 by 14 inches) pounds, some spare mud of similar properties, and water. You stack them up in the shape that you want - you will find that they are very flexible - and glue them together with the spare mud and water. The only thing you have to keep in mind is how the weight of the structure is distributed as the US building codes demand compression strength. When building with adobe you should avoid lateral structures leaning on the adobe wall as they could cause bending loads.

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