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BellaOnline's Southwest USA Editor

Tips For Building Adobe Homes

Make sure you have read the first part of this series: Build An Adobe Home

First... You need to lay out the site for the foundation trenches. These should be cut, shaved and cleaned to a depth and width of 24 inches. This width allows about 12 inches workable space on the outside of the wall so you can plaster below ground level. To make the foundation, as well as the walls, of adobe is economical. You cement these bricks together with a pliable mud of adobe clay.

Before you start the walls you should decide the kind and size lintels to be used for the doors and windows. Are you going to use straight or arched lintels? And will they be made of concrete, steel or wood? No matter what the material used, the must overlap their intended opening by 10 or more inches on each side. Remember, unburnt adobe does not have the strength of baked brick or concrete.

Their are many more technical tips that you will need to learn to finish the outside walls. Their are anchors, plates and bolts that must be used in positions to accept the roof trusses etc.

Next... comes the "roughing in" of the plumbing for sewers, drains, vents and gas lines. This should be done before the floor is laid.

You must install the door frames at this time, too. Then their feet will be buried in the concrete poured for the floor and they will be firmly anchored.

Now... the floor. First be sure the ground between the walls is brought in the proper level. When finished the floor should be approximately 5" thick.

Next you need partition walls. These are of 8" adobe and can be laid as soon as the floor is dry. You can treat these the same as the outside walls by building them to the proper height and then capping them for the ceiling joist connection.

Finally... the roof. You can have this of any design or construction you like but it is wisest to put it on immediately, so as to protect the walls from the weather.

Of course... you have to now put in wiring and plumbing of course.

You will have tremendous leeway in interior decoration because it is possible to cut in niches, make arched walls and shape fireplaces all to suit your personal taste.

Now you can have a house that is as individual as you are... unique masterpiece. And... you will have the security of a well-built house that can weather heat, cold, rain and time. An adobe house can last generations... if properly cared for.

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