A wealth of information relating to adobe repair and preservation is found here, along with the pros and cons of adobe water-repellents. Here you will also find information on the many different kinds of adobe there is to choose from when deciding to build your own house, along with information on rammed earth.
The proper repair and preservation of adobe can accurately be described as an art form. There are correct methods of restoration that when properly employed will enhance and prolong the life of your adobe. There are also incorrect methods and incorrect use of repair materials that can literally spell doom for your adobe and result in the acceleration of deterioration.
For example, putting a thick coat of stucco over an old mud adobe home can be among one of the poorest preservation choices you can make. Many people have done just this, believing that it will solve their severe deterioration problems when in fact it may greatly accelerate the problem. One of the most important and critical questions when it comes to evaluating sound solutions for your adobe problems is "What is causing the deterioration in the first place?" No corrective or restoration method should be initiated until this question is thoroughly answered.
The greatest threat to adobe is when it comes in contact with water. One of the ways that water damages adobe walls is from the rainwater run-off from roofs. If your adobe home or building has a flat roof and the scuppers (drain pipes) do not protrude far enough away from the walls, the rainwater from these draining scuppers may very well "channel" down those walls with the potential of causing severe damage both to the exterior and interior of the earth walls. "Splash back" is also a common problem. This occurs when the rainwater falling from the scuppers hits the ground below and "splashes back" towards the walls. Worse yet is if the rainwater falling from the scuppers not only splashes back but actually drainstowards the walls instead of away from the walls, soaking the ground beneath.
If your adobe home or building has a pitched roof and the eaves from that pitched roof do not extend an adequate distance past the walls, you encounter the same damaging scenario as that described in the paragraph above from a rainstorm. This situation can actually be worse than the one described above, for eves can extend across a great distance around the home and the falling water from the eves can affect a much greater area than the small target area underneath an isolated scupper.
Another common problem that has the potential to cause great damage to adobe walls are careless watering or over watering of plants which have been planted too close to the walls. I encounter this problem all the time and I advise adobe homeowners who have concrete stem walls of a few inches (or no stem walls at all where the adobes are sitting right on the ground) to leave at least a minimum distance of no less than 24 inches between your adobe walls and your plants; 36 inches is even better. Adobes are like sponges and they can absorb an incredible amount of water. Keeping water away from contacting your adobe walls in any fashion is the single best measure for insuring the continued health of your adobe structure.
A continuing raging debate is whether or not one should apply a "sealer" (italicized to draw attention to the fact that the word is misused) to protect adobe. This is an extremely valuable debate and should be thoroughly investigated before launching into any "sealing project" on your adobe home or building. In my repair manual, entitled "Repairing and Preserving Your Adobe Home", I delve into some detail on this subject.
There is no longer simple choices when it comes to choosing what kind of adobe you may wish to build your house out of. The choices between the various kinds of adobe can be quite bewildering to the adobe novice, and each type of adobe has its strengths and corresponding weaknesses. Because of these myriad of choices, there is at least the same amount of confusing choices when it comes to figuring the correct repair methods for these different adobe "bricks".
For a quick start guide, click on the link buttons or the "Products" button to your left. Or, to see photos of the work we do, click on the "Before and After" photos button...also on your left. Keep scrolling down on this column on your left to see other photos and articles, clicking on them at your leisure. There is quite a bit of information and photos...
Roy E. Spears, owner.
(520) 331-4004 Call me anytime.
(Please note: there seems to be a glitch when people send me requests for information through the "information request form". I don't always receive these. If you wish to contact me, call me at (520) 331-4004. Or if you prefer, email me at "email@example.com".
Roy E. Spears has been a contractor for over twenty years, specializing in adobe repair and restoration since 1985. He is the author of the newly released CD "Repairing and Preserving Your Adobe Home", which is the only how-to, step-by-step manual on adobe repair. His company can help you troubleshoot, pinpoint and solve problem areas with your adobe home, and you can have the confidence that you are receiving this information from an experienced, licensed contractor (AZ Registrar of Contractors #130714).
Adobe Masters is a multi-faceted company. Our services include: crack and adobe repairs, custom white and mortar washes, minor roofing repairs and application of premium elastomeric roof coatings, foundation and stem wall crack repairs and resurfacing, application of premium water repellents to adobe walls, etc.
Call or email Roy E. Spears anytime with your questions. He will be glad to help in whatever way possible.
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