Understanding Adobe Construction Efficiency and Sustainability

Adobe Construction Efficiency and Sustainability

For many centuries now, adobe construction remains a preference for several people. Statistics indicate that in the present time, approximately 30% of the population in the world live in shelters that constitute of earth materials. Adobe is not an exception, and individuals living in the deserted areas of North America and New Mexico have also considered this method of earth construction. However, it comes with benefits and challenges that you need to understand. In this article, we will try to figure out and understand on adobe construction efficiency and sustainability.

What is Adobe Construction?

Adobe construction is the use of sun-dried bricks during the building process. The approach involves preparing the adobe with various components like sand, water, clay, straw or grass mixed up by hand in a wooden mold. Some will involve the use of gravel. It is then dried. Traditionally the drying was entirely dependent on the sun. The bricks guarantee strength. That’s why some natural buildings that adopted adobe construction still stand up to today.

The end products of the preparation are bricks with varying properties like color, texture and strength.  Adobe construction approach has changed with the advancement in technology, and builders now consider modernizing the process. They utilize cement and asphalt to have the bricks stronger.

A Concise History on the Use of Adobe Construction

Adobe construction in North America is said to have commenced many centuries ago. In the 16th Century is when the traditional building methods became very common. The Egyptians were the first to be associated with the use of adobe, and later the Spanish during the 18th Century. In North America, the architecture became common and popular within the desert climates, especially the areas occupied by New Mexico.

To evidence the use of Adobe many centuries ago, the San Xavier del Bac Mission constructed with adobe still stands up to today. Located in Arizona, the structure was built in 1700 by a missionary explorer, Father Eusebio. Completed in 1797, the mission played a key role in the Spanish colonization.

Adobe Construction Efficiency

Many people tend to debate on the efficiency of the adobe construction. So, how efficient is adobe construction? Well, it all depends on your approaches during the construction and brick preparation process. The following is an explanation of the adobe construction efficiency techniques that guarantee adobe construction efficiency.

Prepare bricks from sand, clay, straw, or grass and water. Mix until you feel a plastic consistency. Grass gives reinforcement and uniformity and ensures that when they dry, strength is guaranteed. Place the prepared mud on the wooden forms, level with hands, and later on remove the forms. Leave the bricks to dry for a minimum of 4 days.

The use of mortar with the same properties as the brick gives excellent results. Today, people prefer to use the cement mortar, which is also fine. What is key is stability and compatibility. If the mortars are incompatible and unstable, the thermal expansion varies and the bricks formed will not be high quality as expected.

When building foundations, consider a very strong material. For instance, in many adobe constructions built many years ago, the use of adobe on the foundation was boosted. What I mean is that builders would incorporate fieldstones, double walls filled with stones and seashells. Today you can choose a different material in the basement for maximum foundation strength.

Walls, roofs, and floors in adobe construction have a key role to play in the success of the entire project. Adobe walls are massive and their use dated back in the 16th Century. Adobe roofing was prevalent back then, but today, people prefer metal roofing. On the floors, the bricks are used and later polished with tiles.

Choosing adobe construction is effective because it guarantees maximum utilization of materials, money-saving and you get excellent results.

Adobe Construction Sustainability

Adobe surfaces require a lot of attention. That’s why protection of the surface coatings with whitewash, lime plaster, mud plaster and stucco is key.

In modern Adobe construction, you can check the soil components to weigh sustainability. Enhanced properties boost the adobe bricks making them more acceptable even on projects that require high-end quality and strength.

Note that the adobe will not entirely bond with the wood, metal or stones. It is because it exhibits some movements which might be greater and cause cracks and separation. The physical properties of the adobe seem to be a limiting factor at times, but when damages occur, rehabilitation guarantees strength and durability.


Adobe construction requires keenness to be perfected. Understand what is expected, the efficiency and also sustainability of the building approach. Many individuals have done the construction successfully, and with modern interventions in place, the use of bricks remains a fashionable building approach to consider.