How to Render Adobe on a Concrete Block Wall, with Video


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Spreading adobe
Photo by Tom Keeling

Once you have done your tests, reviewed them and decided which ratio of sand to clay to use then you are going to be ready to apply them to your wall. Try to make enough mixture to at least finish a wall at a time as it is a bit difficult to merge a dry section from a previous day into a new section the following day.

Make sure to fully mix all your ingredients dry. It is much easier to put in the time now mixing than try to separate clumps of clay later on.

In this video, we didn't use a fiber but if you were going to you could now add thin straw, chopped into lengths no greater than your small finger. You could also use goat or other hair if you had access to that, or you could break up pieces of dry horse manure for an even finer fiber. Fibers reduce cracks and in the case of horse manure, when used as a final render it adds a beautiful mesh-like effect which you can only see if you look very closely.



Once you have a homogeneous mixture you can add water. Keep adding it slowly until you reach your desired consistency. You may notice that natural building guides usually dont show a quantity of water. This is because the ambient humidity and the humidity of you ingredients will dictate how much water you need to add. So it is always best just to keep adding water slowly whilst mixing well until you reach a workable consistency. For a render I would say a good consistency is one you can pick up in your hand but does still easily fall off, not holding its shape. If you can see water pooling on the surface it may be too wet in which case you will need to add more dry mixture.



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