Adobe House

The Adobe Structure

A bit of History & Introduction

Adobe Bricks

Other Names  – Mud Brick, COB Brick, Adobe Brick, Earth Brick

Adobe building and structures have been around for thousands of years and can be tracked all the way back to 500BC.  They are usually a mix of clay, straw and sand and then mixed with water.  Wooden forms are made in the shape and size of the bricks required then the mixture is then poured in and left for some time to dry, once semi dry, the moulded bricks can be tipped out and left to dry, this is best done in a hot climate but in the shade, if they are dried in direct sunshine they can be susceptible to cracking which in turn produces a weak brick.  Once dry they become very hard and extremely heavy and have great strength.

Although the methods have changed over the years, nowadays new techniques and slightly different mixtures can be found.  Such as adding lime, animal dung and other materials that have been experimented with and work just as well if not better.  They can now be hydraulically pressed into the moulds, although it is not as satisfying as using your hands.  By using a lime based cement in the mixture it can help the structure against rain and water damage due to its excellent waterproofing qualities.

It takes around 6,000 bricks to construct a small single story house, if using the standard adobe brick size!

The construction of the walls are the same as the traditional building method called a running bond, the brick courses are laid using the same mixture of the bricks minus the straw.  This is known as the mortar.

The modern day foundations in Europe are usually made from poured concrete or stone/rock formations.  The traditional method would be to compress the earth as much as possible to support the weight of the adobe bricks above it.

Positives in Buying and Owning an Adobe House

The first thing is the incredible thermal mass the adobe brick can contain, this results in the brick being very slowly heated up over the course of the day from sun or internal heating, and thus keeps the heat in the brick for many hours and slowly re-radiating the heat back throughout the night.  This works best in countries that have cooler evenings otherwise you may end up with a very hot house day and night.

Due to the incredible insulation factors, it is a very energy efficient way to keep the temperatures right throughout the year.

The structure of the adobe house is very strong as the walls are usually a couple of feet thick, it is quite a common site around Central and Eastern Europe to see 200year old Adobe Houses still standing strong, it’s a matter of maintenance, but so do all houses made from any material.  Some of the oldest buildings in the world are made from mud.

Negatives in Buying and Owning an Adobe House

It can sometimes be difficult to wire and plumb and an adobe structure and needs very good planning, it is a good idea to think of using trunking or to install additional interior walls.  It can also be a messy job when hanging items on the wall.  Another thing to think about would be pipe leaks, if this were to happen it would cause more structural damage in an Adobe House compared to a standard wooden frame/brick house. Most plumbing is now exposed to render this problem.

There is also the continual upkeep of Adobe, it can be quite labour intensive.  You can not just leave it for years without renewing and repairing, there is constant maintenance to be aware of and it does not take much skill, but these skills and lots of spare materials should be available.  Particular problem areas are at the base of the walls where erosion usually takes place.

If you are in an earthquake zone, it’s not recommended to build or buy an Adobe House as they are particularly known to suffer from earthquake damage.

The Adobe House in Hungary

There are many beautiful examples of the adobe structure in Hungary which have been maintained well and renovated into modern examples of living, these range from mansion houses in cities to small dwellings in rural villages.

Hungarian Thatched house

You will also find lots of little farmhouse type properties and civilian homes made from the adobe brick which can be bought very cheap and with some good planning and repair can become excellent and characteristic home. They usually have lovely oak wooden beams and other beautiful features unknown to the modern house built.

Adobe Farmhouse Hungary

There are also many houses to be found from about £2000, some are in a state of total disrepair and would need an incredible amount of work, but its worth looking out for ones that are still standing strong externally as with local work and materials can become superb homes for less money than renovating a brick or stone home.  You are usually buying for character and charm in these smaller houses but they are wonderful to go home to and very inviting, it’s nice to get inside and think of the past.

Adobe House in Hungary

If you would like to see a list of our Adobe Houses for Sale Contact Us

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