Adobe & Compressed Earth Block
Throughout the ages, adobe has been used as a building material, in all parts of the world. Sun-dried, earthen blocks are stacked and mortared with mud to form walls. This wall is extremely strong and supports the roof without additional structural elements.
Adobe has a very high thermal mass, making it ideal for solar thermal gain. However, it lacks any significant insulating value. Exterior adobe walls need to be supplemented with some type of insulation. A double wall construction with a six-inch air space allows us to insulate with blown in cellulose and avoid the use of spray foams. The innovation of the compressed earth block machine can streamline the process. With the machine blocks can be made easily on site with moistened clay soils. The compressed blocks do not need any drying time, and can be stacked in the wall immediately. There are also smaller than conventional adobes allowing a narrower wall thickness. We also use adobe in thermal mass design elements within the home and for stylistic interior walls and details. Exposed adobe walls need no plaster prep and accept earthen plasters readily.
- Very low R-value
- (.5 per inch)-Model Energy.
- Code requires additional insulation.
- Very high thermal mass.
- Excellent for storage of solar thermal gain.
- High breathability, if breathable plasters are used.
- Load bearing, no additional framing needed.
- Raw blocks accept earthen clay based plasters without wire netting.
- Adobe blocks are usually 10" x 14" x 3"
- Compressed earth blocks are usually 12" x 6" x 4" depending on type of press used.
- Adobes are commonly stacked for a 10" wall with 2" or more of rigid or spray-on foam applied to exterior.
- Compressed earth blocks and adobes can be used in double wall construction to provide a 6" air space for blown in non-toxic insulation such as cellulose.
- Overall wall thicknesses vary from 6" to 28" depending on technique used.
- Concrete or wooden bond beam is required to bear the roof's ceiling joists or rafters.