How to Make Earth Plaster in 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps
The use of earth plaster is very common in natural buildings; it is the same mixture used in adobe. Though easily made, its use is not widely known. Rafael Loschiavo, from Ecoeficientes, teaches the step-by-step method for bringing a new life to a run-down wall without the need for major renovations.
Loschiavo specializes in sustainable architectural solutions and puts its principles to use in his works. In an interview for CicloVivo, he says that we must demystify the idea of expensive sustainable architecture. “Lots of design choices don’t add cost, and such is the case with passive architecture, which makes use of nature itself to provide ventilation, shadowing, and lighting. For example, creating agreeable and efficient environments.”
In one of his renovations, the architect decided to renew a brick wall that had been coated in layers and layers of plaster and paint. The wall was scraped off to remove the old layers and a new electrical installation was made. After this, it received the earth plaster made of dirt, sand and natural fibers, which was mixed by bare feet and manually applied to the wall.
How to Make Adobe Plaster
To make adobe you need a sieve, a bucket, and a canvas
- 1 bucket of dirt (choose your preferred dirt color)
- 1 bucket of dung (from livestock or horses)
- 2 – 3 buckets of sand (depending on the level of sand in the dirt)
The Step-by-Step Guide
- Mix the sand and the dirt until you get a uniform mixture
- Ground the dung well and mix it dry with the dirt and sand
- Build a mound with a hole in the middle, like a volcano, and pour the water into it, little by little, so as to avoid spilling it into the canvas
- Mix it using your feet. You will be able to feel the mixture start blending and when it does, do spiral movements inside out to ensure uniformity
- Apply the plaster to the wall by hand
The result is a rustic wall, naturally colored with natural fibers, with a brick line detail. It is important to stress that the dung does not smell once the mixture is applied.
Rafael Loschiavo writes for the Portal Ecoeficientes, and works in architecture and consulting. See more of his works here.
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