Such material as adobe was invented at least 6 thousand years ago. It is mentioned in ancient Egypt, and in Europe it was not without the help of the Mauritanian troops. It is believed that the Indians also invented adobe themselves, but did not make bricks from it. They also built adobe in Russia, and not only in its warm regions.
What is it and what is it made of?
It should be noted that adobe is only one of the names of the material, but it was it that stuck with Russian-speaking people … The Türkic word can be translated as “finely grated straw”. Sushnyak, kalsh, as well as lampach, adob are also the names of adobe. And in construction it is called raw brick.
The adobe contains clay soil, it is diluted with water, and then thoroughly mixed. Components such as straw and flax fiber supplement the soil.
They are cut into pieces from 9 to 16 cm long … Sand is also added to the composition, which helps to reduce the fat content of the clay. If the fat content is more than needed in the final composition, the material will crack.
Once upon a time, in the manufacture of adobe, manure was also used, diluted in equal proportions with water. He insisted for a day and was added to the mixture for construction. In the modern world, there is no need for this component; it is replaced with either liquid glass, or casein, or even the familiar PVA glue.
What else can be in the adobe mixture:
- gravel component, crushed stone, lime;
- earth, as well as cement;
- antiseptic additives;
- fire retardants;
- special plant fibers, such as reeds;
- dry needles and even algae;
- expanded clay.
Additives don't just make the formulation more convenient to use. They can adjust the thermal insulation qualities of the material, its strength, and affect the specific gravity of adobe.
They also help to avoid the subsequent shrinkage of the structure, as well as deformation of the house made of adobe blocks. If we compare this material with the usual bricks, there is a significant difference - it does not need to be dried in an oven, it reaches an acceptable state in air. They make buildings of one floor from adobe, sometimes fences are erected, but only in areas with a dry climate.
Advantages and disadvantages
Saman is considered one of the simplest and perhaps the cheapest building material. But adobe construction is not always permissible - first of all, it is a rural region and seismic activity is not higher than 8 points. The advantages of adobe include a number of factors.
- Comfortable microclimate. This is ensured by the high hygroscopicity of the mixture. The growing humidity level in the house leads to the fact that the adobe composition begins to absorb excess, water is predictably stored in it. In hot weather, moisture reserves will be pushed into the air, and walls can replace air conditioners and humidifiers.
- Raw cost. It is acceptable because all raw materials are natural. Well, or the main thing. And the process of making adobe is not difficult to call, the same roasting is not required.
- Good thermal inertia … This provides an impressive mass of the adobe wall. The soundproofing features of the material are also good.
Fire resistance … It is also rated as high because there is little organic matter in the dry forest. If the blocks are made using a special technology, the ignition of the adobe house will be completely excluded.
- Shielding of electromagnetic waves … This ensures the presence of aluminum in the clay.
It would be unfair to note only the advantages of adobe construction. These are the disadvantages of dry forest houses.
There is no proper moisture resistance. To remove this drawback, a number of traditional measures must be taken in the house - the walls must be plastered or whitewashed with lime.
- Possibility of pest attacks. This is if the composition contains a lot of organic matter. Insects or rodents, indeed, may be interested in such a building.
- You cannot use the house immediately after construction. Therefore, the structure must dry out and stand. But this is for regions with an average climate, in a hot one - there is no such need.
- Construction time limitation. It is more effective to do this in the summer.
- Heavy adobe requires layers of insulation. This usually means that you will need to use pressed straw: it will be plastered with clay or a mixture of clay and lime.
Finally, the construction process itself. Most of the manipulations are carried out manually, which means that labor productivity is not called effective. While you prepare the material, while you build it, it takes a lot of time.
And this is without reservations, indicating the nuances of the construction of a building from dry wood. For example, during finishing, its lower part is reinforced with a metal mesh with small cells, covered with a special composition (plaster) based on acrylic - this way the house will be protected from rodents.
Types of mixtures
Two types of adobe are used in construction - light and heavy. And this definition is based on the proportion of two components: straw and clay.
This material can be characterized as strong and dense, which gives it the ability to neither burn nor sag. Dry wood is considered "breathing", able to keep its shape. In such a mixture, clay and straw are used, which means that the environmental friendliness of the material is one hundred percent. Clay in the finished material is 10%, that is, making a brick from such a mixture will definitely not work. But there is no need for this either.
A house is built from light adobe as follows: a wooden frame is placed on the finished foundation, the frame is lathing. And in the cavities that are formed in the crate, a light adobe mixture is laid. On the one hand, it is not difficult to build with lightweight material, on the other hand, a lot of wood for the frame will be required. That is, the method is no longer as cheap as it might initially seem.
Structures erected from heavy adobe are built in virtually the same way as houses made of foam concrete, brick, cinder block. They are more durable, which is expected, but the blocks are harder to make, and drying them is also not very easy. There is more clay in such blocks, and sand can be added, the proportion of clay and sand reaches 40% or even more. Therefore, this material can be used to form load-bearing structures.
To form a brick as a unit of adobe building material, shapes are needed. As a rule, they are made of wood. The form is initially made 15 centimeters more than necessary - after drying, the adobe block will decrease, which means that this must be taken into account when creating the form. After making the molds, the mixture is compacted tightly in them (taking into account that it has already lain for the necessary time). Excess mixture is removed with a board. Heavy adobe bricks are usually air-dried for two days.
It makes sense to wrap the walls of the mold with polyethylene and pour it over with water: this way the finished block will be easier to get out of there.
The technology can claim to be unique, as it allows you to build houses of the most unusual shapes. Finding a building project is not always easy, because in commercial construction such houses, to put it mildly, are not popular. And not every architect knows how to work properly with adobe. The material is in demand in modern ecovillages, perhaps the future belongs to them in terms of preserving the adobe tradition.
Now the projects of such houses are adaptations that have been removed from the projects of buildings from other materials, only taking into account the peculiarities of adobe.
You need to understand that houses existing today, built using this technology, have only a unique wall material - adobe, and the roof, foundation and floors will be quite traditional. Therefore, it is definitely impossible to say that such a construction project does not resonate with a modern one.
And yet, adobe houses today are a niche for green building, in which the house is viewed precisely as a tandem of man and nature. A house built on the principles of organic architecture will naturally blend with the landscape; unique shapes and textures are another plus of such buildings. Each house is as unique as a natural phenomenon.
Let's consider what projects you can focus on
- Round house - an unexpected architectural solution, which is nevertheless quite comfortable for living. It can be two-story or have an attic floor.
A more traditional attic structure… The bathroom is inside the house, just like in a standard dwelling
Authentic adobe house, which can be found in ecovillages
Unusually shaped adobe structure, consisting of a main part and an extension
This is how the home looks in the evenings… A charming, fabulous view, especially in summer
Another example showing uniqueness of architectural forms
Close to traditional adobe construction
Obviously, there are authentic options, not like modern houses, somewhere reminiscent of a Cossack house, and somewhere fantasy buildings, but there are dwellings that are hardly distinguishable from traditional buildings.
There are 3 strategies for building such a house. The first one is the dwelling is being built from raw, adobe blocks. And this method is very similar to brickwork. At the first stage of work, the material itself is made, all blocks must be equal in shape. Then they are traditionally laid out, the clay-sandy solution is used. The seams can be up to 1.2 cm. The main disadvantage of this method is that it will take a lot of time to make and dry the blocks that will be required for laying the walls.
The second option is to use permanent formwork. The technology requires the use of light adobe. The adobe is hammered into a formwork made of wood. The walls will subsequently need to be plastered with clay mortar, but only when the base material is dry. Since fixed formwork is used, the cost of building such a house will predictably increase, but the savings on the foundation still significantly affect the overall estimate.
The third way - monolithic walls are erected frameless. A powerful mixture is made of clay, water and straw, which is portioned onto the foundation. The layer erected in one working day should be small, only 15 cm maximum. To prevent it from slipping, the wall is smoothed out and quickly plastered.
But the main disadvantage of this process is its long shrinkage, it will take about a year.
Building a dry forest house consists of several steps
- Checking the composition. Clay is also different, which means it needs to be checked. The master prepares several samples for testing, these will be cubes or balls 10 cm in diameter. The proportions of clay and sand in each sample are different, the first is 1 to 1, the second is 1 to 2, and so on. First, these balls / cubes are dried, which takes up to 5 days. An ideal lump of adobe is homogeneous, it is great if it does not lend itself to scratching with a fingernail. The test for strength will be like this: drop a piece from a one and a half meter height, if it remains intact, the test passed. Shrinkage is given no more than 2%.
Preparing clay for construction. A year is given for this, the material must be covered with straw. The clay is laid out in a recess dug in the ground. A tarp is placed on the bottom of the pit. Clay and sand are thoroughly mixed with their feet, then straw is added. The length of the fibers should be comfortable for subsequent mixing. It is important to understand that a long "fiber" is considered a good element for reinforcement
Adobe bricks… To make them, you will need wooden forms, rectangular bottomless cells with dimensions of 200x200x400 mm. You can protect the boards from moisture with oil. The material is placed in molds and compacted. The excess is removed with a wire, the mold is disassembled, the blocks remain in place. Formed blocks from 3 days to a week should lie down. The warmer the weather, the faster they will dry. Before laying, the block surface should be slightly moistened with water
Laying out the walls with adobe bricks… The principle is the same as when using other stone materials. A break in rows is required. The solution is a clay-sand mixture, sometimes flax fibers are added to it. Overlappings for openings can be made of boards treated from moisture
Foundation… The best option for the base for an adobe house would be tape. Its depth is below the level of soil freezing, its width is 200 mm (and this is the minimum) more than the thickness of the walls. The base material can be concrete, brick and rubble stone are used less often. The height of the plinth is on average 50 cm. Do not forget about several hydro-barriers between the walls and the base. But the pile foundation is used if the soil on the site freezes by more than 90 cm. Such a foundation is used more often for a frame house made of dry wood
Roof… The rafter system should be light, therefore the best option would be a gable roof, the slope of which is from 30 to 45 degrees. It is also necessary to look at the current wind agenda. A soft roof is preferable
Exterior wall decoration… It is easier and more profitable to decorate the walls from the outside with plaster. Layer from 5 to 10 cm. Acrylic, silicate, lime compositions are used for this. The main thing is that they are vapor-permeable
Cladding inside. As a rule, this is painting with lime, to which natural pigment has been added. You can, of course, just glue the wallpaper onto the primed walls. The adobe house also accepts plaster. Plasterboarding the walls, however, is a bad idea. Yes, many people decide that this can be leveled, strengthened, and partially insulated, but this finish is for structures of a different type
The construction of adobe houses has many technological nuances that need to be familiarized with those who plan to build such a house with their own hands.
For example, the rafter system of this house requires a Mauerlat, which will relieve the walls of the building from uneven load. If a two-story house or a building with an attic is being built, a reinforcing mesh will be required every 3 block rows. The roof overhangs in the adobe house should be at least 70 cm - this will protect the walls from getting wet.