Building with Adobe in Mexico

Eco-building with clay bricks in Mexico

Within 10 weeks, I have built together with the good Tobi and a few helping hands three mud houses. The foundation of all houses had already been cast finished when we arrived at Ha Omek Ka. Foundation in this case means one 30 cm wide circle of concrete with a diameter of about 3 meters, which is necessary for the houses not to start to swim in the rainy season. The adobe bricks (A mixture of pine needles, clay and sand) were already made. As mortar we used loamy, moist soil (mud) which ideally should be enriched with sand (the sand reduces the shrinkage during drying).

To give the constrctution even more power and build a second floor (Tapanko / loft bed) with a roof on top of it four concrete columns were cast. However, this is not optimal because between the concrete and the clay there is no material connection and a similar design should be reconsidered (install the wood colums either inside or outside of the wall, but not “in” the wall. If a second is not necesarily needed, additional columns can be omitted entirely).

Working with never straight beams and planks, a lack of electrical tools and the scorching sun must be considered working on a construction site in Mexico. On the other hand we have learned for example, how to cut corrugated iron with wire and a piece of wood or how to make the wood termites proof by painting it with a tar-gasoline mixture.
The plaster consists a limestone / clay / sand mixture and the walls of the upper floor was finally built from cheap boards blends (Costeras). Overall, the price is for all 3 houses in about 6000 €.

Advantages of building with adobe bricks
  • “free” building materials
  • costefficient to make
  • high availability worldwide
  • good thermal properties (at daytime cool and at nighttime warm houses)
  • comfortable living environment (humidity controlled)
  • reduces pollution
  • easy to work
  • binds pollutants

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