|There are several books concerning how to build a house using adobe bricks. The ones I have read all had something important and useful to add to my knowledge. The following is a list of some of the books I have read on the subject, plus my opinion on how useful they are: these are my OPINIONS on these books--- other people will have differing opinions.|
|Adobe Build It Yourself Revised Edition, written by Paul Graham McHenry Jr.||This is the first book you will probably wish to read if you are considering building an adobe residence, barn, wall, or other structure. It is excellent in all areas---- from explanations of the 'hows' and 'whys,' to drawings that make clear those explanations. I recomend this book kery highly. This book is also, incidentally, one of the best-selling books on the subject.|
|Adobe and Rammed Earth Buildings Design and Construction, written by Paul Graham McHenry Jr.||Yet another excellent book from the author of the above book. Given only two selections of which books to read, these two by Mr. McHenry are the ones I would choose.|
|Making The Adobe Brick, written by Eugene H. Boudreau.||This book was published in the year +1971 GC [Gregorian Calendar]. This book is a good source on discovering many of the requirements for building with adobe--- from how to create the brick, to how to lay up the brick properly. This book might be the first one will wish to look through to get an idea of the labor involved; unfortunately, this book is not readily available since it is out of print.|
|Adobe Architecture, written by Myrtle and Wilfred Stedman.||Out of the pile of books about adobe I have read, this was the least useful in learning how to build. On the plus side, this book includes several sample floor plans; it also shows the distinction between different styles of adobe structures: Pueblo, Santa Fe, Ranch, and Territorial. On the negative side, it shows very little detail on building, has 44 pages, and cost nine USA dollars.|
|Pueblo Architecture and Modern Adobes, written by Joseph Traugott.||This book displays the designs of the architect William Lumpkins. While there is no information about how to build in this book, there are many floor plans showing the Pueblo style, with the New Mexico flair that is, in my opinion, the most attractive. Most of the sample floor plans are vastly more complex and expensive to build than to my taste--- more than 99% of humanity could not afford the money and labor to build these residences. Given hind-sight, I suppose I would not have purchased this book.|
|Adobe Houses for Today, written by Laura Sanchez and Alex Sanchez.||This is a well-rounded book which explains how much labor one can expect to put into building a residence out of adobe, and which parts of that construction will receive the most labor and expense. There are a dozen floor plans, with information on how to modify and expand these floor plans to meet the builder's needs.|
Doors and windows will require a lintel. A lintel is described as "The
horizontal beam that forms the upper member of a window or door frame and
supports the structure above it." This may be made of wood, cement,
or even steel. In this image we see that the window frame has been set
into the adobe wall without what one would call a "proper" lintel:
the frame itself is acting as the function. This photograph was taken of
the one remaining wall at Valley Wells Ranch, where there is a gold mine
(more or less).
Throughout the years, various miscreant, villainous, low-of-intellect scoundrels have shot at and otherwise defaced and vandalized this wall.
Here we see what can be called a "proper" method of constructing
a window. You may use your mouse to "click on" the image to
see a larger version.
First, the adobe wall is elevated several inches off the ground via concrete footing--- this isolates it from ground moisture.
While the wall was laid up, wooden "Gringo blocks", which are the same size as the adobe brick, were laid so that the window frame could be screwed into them. There are Gringo blocks on both sides of the window.
The wooden lintel was then placed over the window; the lintel supports the weight above the window. The lintel could also be made of cement.
(Note that doorways are made the same way.)
Finally, there is a bond beam of cement half-way up the wall, and then finally at the top of the wayy (not shown here), used to tie the walls together.
This image shows a door frame with stucco on the adobe walls. The lintel here
has been very slightly bowed ---on purpose--- to add a bit more strength to
the load support. One cannot see the lintel's length because the stucco
is covering it, but this lintel extends all the way to the wall on the left,
and seven inches into the wall on the right.
The walls are ten inches thick. If properly patched and protected from rain, this structure could last hundreds of years with very little damage. Since adobe is very heavy, the structure will settle a bit no matter how thick the foundation and no matter how compact the land. If cracks form because of this settling, they should be patched as soon as they have formed to prevent moisture from entering the adobe.
||To show the top of the window construction, this image displays a wall that has had its stucco covering removed from the outter wall. (Note that the roof extends well beyond the face of the wall, so that protection from rain was achieved.) This door appears to be missing a lintel, perhaps due to the top of the door being too close to the roof: without the lintel, you can see that the top of the door frame has sagged a bit so that the opening is bowed downward. If this doorway had a door, the door could not close because of this sagging.|
Speaking of roofs, ain't this ceiling gorgeous?! The main beam runs
lengthwise down the center, and was made of peeled, uncut timber.
The "vigas" extend from the main beam, to the walls, and
then several feet outside the walls. Stucco was used to seal the
adobe and make all of the wall through-holes moisture resistant.
This ceiling is about 45 years old.
For "the mother of all fireplaces," this one gets my vote.
The native stone wall is molded into contors, which one can see by
looking at where the stone wall meets the mahogany ceiling. The
stone retains heat and distributes it across a wide area, so that
the entire building can be heated by this fireplace during the
The fireplace has a level top made of stone, where one may place things to be warmed---- food, tea, coffee pots, and even blankets for later sleeping in. When the fireplace does not have a fire going inside, the top of the fireplace could be used for photographs and nicknacks.
Cut into the face of the fireplace are two openings. These may be used for baking or cooking, and probably had iron doors covering the openings (that were later stolen).
The chimney is deep inside the wall, and one cannot see it here.
Using adobe bricks, one has a vast number of options on style and
construction. Adobe bricks can be made in every conceivable size and
shape, limited only by the weight the builder can carry. External
walls may be made very thick, while internal walls made be made with
modern drywall material.
Presented here is one flor plan for a Pueblo style house I designed. My intest was to seperate the private sleeping area from the rest of the hose, which is more public.