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Report on Compressed Earth Blocks — 15 Comments

  1. Hello from southern mexico,
    I recently acquired an Earth Blox ceb machine. The blocks turn out beautiful, but they arent as strong as I had hoped. I’m feeling like the curing process is the problem.
    Any tips on proper curing? We’re adding 6 to 8% portland cement to the mixture.
    Thanks for your comments.
    T.H.

    • Two ideas: Did you add fiber such as straw? Also, research the proper drying process of adobe bricks (sun dried mud bricks). You want to dry your bricks/blocks gradually from the inside out while stored in the shade. Rapid drying in the sun for example creates weaker bricks. Also, use clean water and ‘strong soil’ (weak soil is a common problem because it lacks bonding strength).

      • Thanks for your comments! So quick…
        Im trying to avoid using straw and other organics, since this is a mechanized hydraulic press (made by Vermeer). I’m thinking that the drying process is where our problem is. I also think i may have to add some soil with more clay in it to the mixture.
        I’m still in the experimenting & learning stage, so any advise or suggestions are welcomed.
        Thanks again for your help!
        T.H.

        • Read up on cohesive/strong soils and keep doing tests. There’s a big difference in soil types. Engineers prefer special mixes such as road base. This is the material used under roads.

  2. At our office, we design and build residential and commercial buildings with Compressed Earth Blocks in the Central Texas region with time-tested techniques that meet code and performance requirements.

    Our partners provide the machinery and specialized construction teams for this underutilized and exceptional building technique.

    CEBs outperform adobe and concrete masonry at a price nearly matching wood framing, with easily available material and a ridiculously high on-site production rate.

    Feel free to contact us at Frontier Architects for design and collaboration opportunities.

  3. The adobe code developed in New Mexico is accepted in many locations. We are using that code in Florida, until I can get the Florida Building Commission to accept SCEB’s in their own right.

  4. I have an automatic interlocking compressed earth block machine and have done testing with enzymes. They have failed miserably when used alone. However, when added to the soil/cement mixture just prior to compression, it adds to the stabilization.

      • Yes, this is very common. The standard pattern is a regular running bond. Also many builders create different size columns. They can be integrated into the wall or build separately.

    • That’s possible, although it’s time consuming to figure it all out. My Geopolymer House blog has lots of info on geopolymer, including recipes. Use the built in search engine using keywords recipe or formula.

  5. I like this approach to construction blocks, both their inter-locking feature and their composition. Concrete is no longer inexpensive and a reasonable substitute is needed to hold down building costs. Will it ever be able to clear the hurdles of building regulations in America? I hope it does.

    • I think this type could get permitted in the US. Check out the New Mexico earth building code and contact earth building architects in the area.

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