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Building a Modern Adobe Style Home with ICF Blocks

Modern Adobe Style Home

An ideal wall system for a modern Adobe style home would be an insulated concrete form (ICF) wall assembly. The design flexibility of ICF Blocks allows for the thick, round-edged walls of an Adobe style home. In addition, ICF Blocks create energy-efficient Adobe homes that are durable and disaster-resistant.

Traditional Adobe Style Homes

Traditional Adobe style homes, particularly those in the South West, draw their inspiration from the Pueblo and Spanish Missions in New Mexico. The unique architectural features of a traditional Adobe style home have remained popular for hundreds of years.

  • Adobe-style homes have thick, round-edged walls with small, square square windows that reflect the look of the traditional Indian Pueblos.
  • Adobe-style homes have projecting wooden roof beams (vigas) extending through walls and typically have large wood components, like heavy doors, ceiling beams, and porch posts.
  • Adobe-style homes have flat or gently sloping roofs with parapets. Parapets are low walls that stretch above the roofline. Drainage canals (canales) sometimes extend through them.
  • Earth-based materials, like sun-dried mud, clay, and straw, make the bricks to construct the exterior walls of traditional Adobe homes.

Adobe Construction in the South West

Adobe construction is well suited to the brutal heat of the Southw West because the bricks have high thermal conductivity. High thermal conductivity within the walls of an Adobe home ensures the house stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer. 

In the daytime, the thick Adobe walls absorb the heat of the sun, which helps keep the interior of the house cool. During the night, the heat slowly releases from the walls, which warms the interior of the home. A continuous porch around the house shade the deep-set, small windows of an Adobe home, which further keeps the interior of a house cool.

Three other advantages of traditional Adobe homes are they are inherently fire resistant, pest resistant, and provide excellent acoustic properties.

Problems with Traditional Adobe Homes

The strength and durability of traditional Adobe structures may diminish over time if overexposed to water, either from rain or the water content in the brick. Too much water weakens Adobe brick, which impacts the integrity of the structure and makes it susceptible to damage, particularly during severe wind events.

Building a Modern Adobe Style Homes

with Insulated Concrete Blocks

Building a modern Adobe style home (sometimes called Pueblo Revival) with ICF Blocks has all the advantages of traditional Adobe homes – design flexibility, energy-efficiency, pest-resistance, good acoustics, and fire-resistance. However, ICF Blocks have several added benefits, including durability, and moisture- and wind-resistance.

ICF Blocks are Adaptable to the Design of an Adobe Home

ICF Blocks are simple to shape and cut and have the flexibility and strength to accommodate the Adobe architectural styles.

ICF Blocks are Energy-Efficient

The ICF Wall Assembly continuous insulation (R-14) stops thermal bridging and provides a comfortable and energy-efficient building envelope that is compliant with the current building codes (ASHRAE 90.1 and 2015 IECC). An ICF Air and Moisture Barrier limits thermal convection by preventing the infiltration of air and moisture to the interior of the home.

ICF Blocks are Fire-Resistant

The ICF Wall System meets the NFPA 101 code and has an ASTM E119 fire rating of four hours and ASTM E84 values for flame speed of zero and smoke development of twenty.

ICF Blocks Provide Good Acoustics

An ICF Wall System achieved a high Sound Transmission Class rating of 51 and a high Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class performance rating of 47.

ICF Blocks are Wind-Resistant

ICF Blocks maintain their integrity during intense winds of over 200 mph and also resist damage from debris flying over 100 mph.

ICF Blocks are Durable

ICF Blocks are, durable because they are not susceptible to wood rot and termites damage.

Get an Adobe Look with ICF Wall

An ideal wall system for a modern Adobe style home is an insulated concrete blocks (ICBs). The design flexibility of ICF Blocks can easily create an Adobe style home that is energy-efficient, disaster-resistant, durable, and comfortable.

2 Responses

  1. hi

    we plan to build an ICF adobe like home here in Western Colorado starting Q1 2021. I have a hand drawn plan with roof, fdn, elevations and some main details but would like to have an ICF pro with adobe experiences look it over (and maybe be the builder).

    What / who do you suggest? Note, I am also writing to Fox Block regional reps today too.

    Thanks for any assistance

    Steve McCarney

    239 829 1996

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