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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: 

  1. “Winning,” or digging up the sandy clay that will form the bricks.
  2.  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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

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