Compressed Earth Blocks
Compressed earth blocks (CEBs) are machine-made adobes. The soil composition used for making CEBs and adobe are nearly identical. However, the CEBs are compressed into more uniform and straight edges, which provides a different look than an adobe wall. Our machinery can produce a variety of shapes to suit your building needs.
We'd love to show you around production yard where we make CEBs and adobes. Contact us to set up a tour or click on button to view short video.
Making and Building with Compressed Earth Blocks
Colorado Earth is proud to be utilizing a new line of custom CEB equipment from Ital-Mexicana. This equipment is working to support building efforts throughout Mexico thru the organization Echale a tu Casa
Step One - Origin of Material
Origin of our material is a nearby quarry 0.75 miles away. We use overburden material from aggregate mining excavations.
The soil is a sandy clay mix with the correct percentages of each to make a suitable block.
Photo by: Living Craft
Step Two - Manufacturing Site
Once the material is delivered to the site, the manufacturing process begins.
The fact the material is local and comes from such a short distance gives rise to one of the lowest embodied energy building material available on the market today.
Step Three - Screening the Soil
The material is screened on-site to approximately 3/8” which is used for block making.
Step Four - Running the Equipment
Our continuous line of equipment allows for streamlined production. The screened material is loaded into the two primary hoppers, and a separate hopper which holds the stabilizer (lime or cement).
The pictures below show the process.
Step Five - Dirt is delivered to the TerraPress Block Machine
Screened soil and cement are mixed together at a constant rate to achieve 6.5% stabilization. This hydrated soil is delivered to the block machine.
Step Six - Block Production
Blocks are ejected from the machine at the rate of 250 per hour. These fresh blocks are stacked directly onto a pallet where they will be transported to their building site.
Step Seven - Wall Construction
Compressed Earth Blocks are structural and do not require any other supporting wall system. A continuous bond beam is placed over the top of the wall and the finished walls are typically plastered with a lime-based coating for long-lasting protection.
Step Eight - Finished Product
The finished product is timeless and will last for generations, providing a safe and healthy home. Roughly 1.5 million lime stabilized CEBs were used in the construction of over 400 homes in Loreto Bay, Mexico, as shown in this photo.
Credit: Jim Hallock
Adobe bricks have been produced for over 10,000 years. The same material that is used to make the CEBs is used to make adobes. Here the mixture is wet and poured into forms on the ground. The freshly molded bricks can be handled the next day and put into a stack where they are left to air dry. Our specially shaped bricks incorporate services, scaffolding, and reinforcement. The bricks have slight undulation and the finished wall is generally more organic in appearance.
Click here to request a quote for CEB, Adobe Bricks, earth mortar or plaster materials. Our team will work with you on what size blocks would be most suitable, quantities, delivery options, and design.
Earthen Mortar and Plasters
We provide screened mortar and earth plaster material for your projects. CEBs and adobes are laid in the wall using the same material as the blocks, but screened down further for mortar, and even finer for plaster.
It can be difficult to describe in words the feeling when you are inside a well-constructed earthen home. It could be the fact that natural finishes manage moisture, thus regulating indoor humidity levels, and lowering the chance of mold growth. Or it could be the thermal mass, helping to regulate the inside temperature. Or the fact you’ll never have to paint. Listen to what our home owners have to say:
"I like the texture and the way they reflect light…the feeling of a dense surrounding. Warmth."
"I love the general appearance of my adobe walls. They give the interior a quiet, calm atmosphere. "
"I like the feeling of solidity and the sense of mass.”
Links to Lime and Earthen Plaster recommendations:
Living Craft - www.livingcraft.design
BioLime - www.biolime.com