How to Repair and Preserve Your Adobe Home?

tips to paint adobe bricks

Adobe bricks are created from a mixture of sand, silt, and clay. This soil form is mixed with water and exposed to the sun for drying.

An adobe wall plastered with naturally the same adobe mixture plaster necessitates routine upkeep, especially if it’s constantly exposed to the outdoors.

If the plaster erodes further, it needs to be replaced immediately.

Breaking Adobe bricks into smaller pieces is easy to do and an effective way to repair an adobe wall.

And the good thing is if you decide to plaster or paint over the repaired area, you won’t actually see the bricks, so aesthetics aren’t really important here.

So, how do you exactly repair and preserve the adobe walls in your adobe home? Let’s take a look at the steps in this helpful guide…

Repairing the Plaster

Start by removing any cracked or deteriorated plaster from the wall using a scraper.

Mix up some adobe plaster, following the same recipe you used for the bricks. 

Next, spray the area you’re going to patch with water until it’s slightly damp.

Coat the damp area with plaster until all of the cracks and depressions are filled out and match the surrounding plaster. Allow this layer to dry completely before proceeding.

Repairing the Mortar

Once you have repaired the outer plaster, remove any loose or damaged mortar from the joint between the bricks.

Extract all of the mortar from joints that are two to three times wider than the depth of a usual mortar joint.

Now start making adobe mixture, which is used to make bricks; however, make it slightly wetter than the standard recipe. You will also need some dry adobe plaster.

Next use a spray bottle filled with water to mist over the area around the repair job lightly until it is dampened but not soaked through.

Fill in gaps with fresh mortar using a trowel and allow it sufficient time to air-dry properly.

After that, use adobe plaster to cover up repaired areas completely.

Repairing the Adobe Bricks

If only a small section of your brick is deteriorating, you can scrape it out and patch it with adobe mortar.

However, if a substantial amount is affected, you’ll need to replace the whole bricks or at least a majority of them.

To do this, first, scrape out and remove all deteriorated parts (including any good brick that might be necessary to have a stable surface for new materials).

Getting the area, you’ll patch wet will make it easier to work with. After that, add some mortar to the brick and insert it into the wall.

If needed, put more mortar around it, so the patch is even with everything else.

Let the mortar dry, and then plaster over the repaired spot.

Tips and Warnings

Do not replace adobe mortar with lime or cement mortar. Also, do not use regular bricks, concrete blocks, or cinderblocks to replace adobe bricks.

The wall will crack because these types of mortar don’t have the same thermal expansion rates as adobe mortar.

Moreover, if you see any crumbling walls or major cracks that can’t be repaired easily, do not try fixing these structural problems on your own. These should be left to professionals.

Can Adobe Bricks be Painted – Tips and Tricks

The beauty of adobe brick walls is that they can be left unpainted if you like a natural earthen color look.

And if at any time in the future you desire to change the muddy colors of beige and brown, you can cover the neutral shades of your adobe home by painting.

Fortunately, painting adobe bricks are not so challenging if you keep a few things in mind. These are:

  • Applying paint directly to adobe walls is not recommended, as adobe will quickly absorb it.
  • To get better results with adobe bricks painting, you must first mix and apply a sealer to them.
  • Use different sealers and paints for coating interior and exterior adobe walls because of the changes in weather and temperature affecting the walls.

Sealing Interior Adobe Walls

Tapioca powder (a natural glue) mixed with water works well as a sealer for interior adobe walls.

In a bowl, mix 1.5 cups of tapioca powder with 1 cup of cold water until combined. Then in a pot on the stove, bring 4 liters of water to a boil.

Add the tapioca mixture to the boiling water and reduce the heat to simmer. Stir continuously until the mixture becomes clear.

The mixture should be applied on a well-repaired adobe wall with a brush and left to dry overnight.

Once the sealer is set, you can apply two coats of water-based latex or acrylic paint for interiors.

Sealing Exterior Adobe Brick Walls

Linseed oil is ideal for sealing and protecting exterior adobe bricks from moisture, wind, and extreme temperatures.

You can prepare the sealer by mixing one part of boiled linseed oil with three parts of paint thinner.

Using a brush and/or sprayer, apply two coats of linseed oil to the already repaired adobe walls. Allow it to dry between coats.

Once the sealer has been dried and set for at least 24 hours, you can paint your exterior adobe walls with an oil-based or acrylic paint that is designed for outdoor use.

When painting exterior adobe bricks, make sure you use weatherproof paints that can withstand extreme temperatures and UV protection.

Also, ensure to apply two or three coats of paint, allowing it to dry between each coat.

few difference between adobe and bricks

What’s the Difference Between Adobe and Brick?

The biggest difference between adobe and brick is that adobe is sun-dried, whereas brick is kiln fired at a very high temperature.

Unlike traditional bricks, adobe is made from clay, straw, and water. It is then mixed together and formed into blocks or bricks that are dried by the sun.

This method is not only economical, but it also allows for a more customized design.

Because of the sun drying, adobe walls do not need to be fired in a kiln, which greatly reduces the cost of construction.

Can You Finish and Make Adobe Bricks Waterproof?

Adobe homes are a great way to save money, but only if they’re waterproof.

Many people wonder if adobe bricks are waterproof – they’re not. But they can be easily finished and made so with the following methods:

  • Firing adobe bricks in a homemade kiln
  • Sealing the adobe wall with paint or epoxy
  • Covering walls with 2-3 coats of mud or portland cement
  • Covering the bricks with two coats of concrete or stucco spray

Once you’ve taken these steps, your adobe wall will be waterproof and strong enough to last a long time.

However, I recommend that you leave at least one wall of your adobe home unfinished to give the house a unique and rustic look.

This will also help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Additionally, if you decide to paint your adobe walls, make sure to use a special kind of paint that can withstand harsh weather elements.

The bottom line

No matter how you choose to paint, finish or make your adobe bricks waterproof, it is important to remember that adobe is not an indestructible material.

To get the best results, it is important to take the time to properly repair and seal your adobe walls before painting them.

With the right preparation, materials, and techniques, you can ensure that your adobe walls will be able to withstand the test of time. Good luck!

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