The most common type of brick is the popular red clay you see on so many houses. But perhaps the oldest is adobe brick.
Adobe brick, which gives a wall, decorative trim or a fireplace surround an authentic old-Mexico look, is made from native soil and organic additives, like clay and sand.
If you want to build a house with adobe brick, the brick also must contain a concrete stabilizer.
Throughout the Southwest, a few companies specialize in manufacturing adobe brick. But some people make it themselves. If you want to try do-it-yourself brickmaking, consult with your county extension agent, a soil conservation expert or a masonry contractor to make sure you’re using clay that is suitable for brickmaking.
Making adobe brick takes four steps and lots of patience:
- “Winning,” or digging up the sandy clay that will form the bricks.
- Mixing the soil with water until the material is stiff. Some do-it-yourselfers add straw or dried manure to the mix, but it’s not necessary.
- Forming bricks from the mix, which involves filling forms. Compact the mix and make sure the corners are completely filled. Carefully remove the form from the wet adobe.
- Letting the bricks dry for at least three days. Then turn them and let them dry for several weeks. Don’t do this during monsoon season; if it rains on you drying bricks, they could lose their shape