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Video Clip - Making Mud Blocks


Sun-dried mud bricks and blocks are environmentally friendly, with one of the lowest energy requirements of any building material. They are used all over the world in areas of low rainfall, but also in wetter areas, provided that waterproof protection is applied. Read more about blockmaking at the bottom of this page.


This clip shows mud blocks being made in one of the compounds visited in February 2005. The great majority of family compound buildings are built of mud blocks, as cement is too expensive, and these blocks were for an additional bedroom. A small hole is dug in the ground and water poured in. The soil and water are then mixed until the correct consistency is achieved. If the soil is too wet the blocks will collapse, whereas if it is too dry the finished blocks will have cracks and soon fall apart. When the mixture is ready it is shovelled onto a sheet and then transported to the drying area. The soil mixer now has a rest whilst his colleague forms the blocks. A simple metal mould is placed in position and the block maker takes a large handful of the mixture, rolls it to give a light covering of dust and then throws it into the mould, this is repeated until the mould is full and then the top surface is hand finished by patting and levelling. Finally the mould is removed and placed alongside ready to make the next block. There is obviously considerable skill involved with making sound, long lasting blocks. The mixture must be correct, the mould needs to be filled properly to eliminate air pockets and cracks and then it must be removed carefully to avoid damage to the block. Then after two days of drying in the sunshine the blocks are ready to use.

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