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Survival construction: Adobe blocks

Adobe and Cob sometimes referred to these days as “survival cement” has been used for building structures for thousands of years. They are an all-natural mixture of clay, sand, straw (or other fiber) and water.

Adobe is usually formed into sun-dried bricks, while cob is built up in layers.  When mixed in the correct proportions, the resulting material is as strong and durable as concrete

Advantages of adobe blocks

As a construction material that’s been used for centuries, adobe definitely offers several benefits. Despite its “primitive” aspect, here are a few of the advantages of using and working with adobe:

  • Virtually fireproof
  • Low-cost
  • Durable
  • Biodegradable
  • Non-toxic
  • Doesn’t require costly tools or equipment to make or handle
  • Has good insulation properties
  • Offers decent soundproofing
  • Has good water resistance
  • Repair or maintenance is easy and cheap

Disadvantages of adobe or cob

  • It needs continuous maintenance and proper care.
  • Can be time and labor-intensive to build
  • Not appropriate in certain climates
  • Rodents can build tunnels and nests in the thick walls

Is the Mud Good Enough?

Before you begin to mold the mud into bricks, first you have to determine whether the mud you’ll source will hold together because the goal is to figure out how to make mud bricks strong. The simplest way to do this is to first get your prospective mud from a source that’s withstood the elements. A good “source” would be from the top or sides of a hill, as this has already withstood rain and erosion. Once you’ve taken a sample of the soil from this “source”, roll it up into a ball. If the soil has retained its shape without crumbling easily, then you have figured out the first part of how to make bricks from soil.

What you will need for adobe bricks

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