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Adobe Style Homes are Often Found in the Southwest

Adobe Home

Adobe style homes can be found throughout the Southwest. Adobe has been used for thousands of years as a building material. In fact, it was the first building material used by man. Adobe is a Spanish word that comes from the Arabic word atob, which means sun-dried brick. Dirt and clay are mixed with straw, water is added to make mud, and the resulting mixture is placed in a mold and laid in the sun to dry. The best soil for adobe is 15-30% clay, with the rest being sand or other aggregate.

Adobe walls will absorb heat and radiate it into the house at night. Because the creation of adobe style homes is so labor-intensive, it’s considered to be one of the more costly forms of architecture. However, by making use of free labor provided by family and friends, the expense can be reduced dramatically.

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Several different homestyles make use of adobe for construction. Adobe homes may contain such Southwestern style features as:

  • vigas,
  • latillas,
  • portals,
  • bancos
  • and nichos.

The walls are typically very thick, sometimes created with an airspace between bricks which can be filled with sand or other materials as insulation.

Adobe House

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