A mud home is a structure made of earth dug from the same plot of ground on which it is erected. This soil is enriched with locally available natural additives such as rice husks and paddy straw. It is this mixture that gives mud buildings their distinctive property. The ingredients are molded into shape by hand or with simple tools and then dried in the sun or under cover.
These days, mud houses are becoming increasingly popular in developing countries because they are inexpensive to build and maintain, require little water, and can be easily repaired or replaced if damaged. Also, mud houses are considered environmentally friendly because they use materials that would otherwise have been discarded, such as old tires and scrap metal. In addition, mud houses are fire-resistant and insect-proof.
There are several different methods used for building mud houses. The most common method is to start at one end of a site and roll a large drum filled with mud over itself to make a wall. As the mud dries, more is added to the outside of the drum and rolled away from it. When the house reaches proper size, the walls are trimmed up and windows and doors are inserted. The roof is then built using wood beams and thatched with palm leaves or other vegetation.
Mud houses are very economical to construct because there are no special tools required and only local labor is needed.
Building mud dwellings is an art more than a science. Because earth-based structures are naturally insulated, they will be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They are highly robust if built correctly, and proponents of earth houses believe they are earthquake resistant. Also see: Log Cabin, Shanty.
Mud buildings have been constructed for thousands of years. The Egyptians built their mud brick homes to last a lifetime without any help from modern builders or engineers. Their techniques for building with mud and straw were not lost over time; rather they were simply abandoned because they were too expensive to build and live in. Today, some rural Egyptian villages remain untouched by modern technology because the cost of construction is beyond the means of most people.
In Europe, there are still many farmers who build their own shelters each year because they are too expensive to buy. In fact, it was only recently that farmers started buying farms instead of renting them, which means they must be affordable enough for them to be profitable investments.
The world's oldest surviving mud house is located on St. George's Island in Egypt. It was discovered by accident in 1876 when workers were excavating for stone to build a school. During this excavation, they came across several well-preserved mud houses.
Mud is a mixture of water and various types of soil, silt, and clay. Over geological time, ancient mud deposits solidify to produce sedimentary rocks such as shale or mudstone (generally called lutites). Sand is a granular substance that occurs naturally and is made up of finely split rock and mineral particles. Shells and bones are also considered sand. Coarse sand is used for making concrete, while fine sand is used for glass painting and other crafts.
The word "mud" comes from the Old English mōd, which itself comes through the Latin mucca, meaning "she-goat". The term "sand castle" is first recorded in 1611 as "a little island of sand built by the sea" and refers to an artificial mound of dry sand used for coastal defense.
Muds differ from sands in their color and composition. Sands usually have a white color due to the small size of the grains. In contrast, muddy waters tend to be brown or black due to the presence of organic material from decaying plants and animals. Sands are usually composed of silicon dioxide (45% by weight), with smaller amounts of iron, magnesium, aluminum, and potassium. Mud consists of water mixed with organic matter and minerals such as phosphorus, sulfur, and calcium.
In terms of volume, sands can be many times more abundant than mud because they pile up on shoreline formations or get washed away by floods to form new beaches.
Mud is a liquid or semi-liquid mixture of water and any combination of soil types (loam, silt, and clay). It commonly appears after a rainstorm or near a body of water. Modern muds are used as fertilizers because they contain many nutrients that help plants grow.
Muds differ from quicksand in that sand in quicksand is fine enough to flow like water, but mud isn't. In mud, particles are large enough to resist flowing, so the entire mass tends to sink. Quicksand also sinks as more dry land is exposed by erosion or when the water recedes. As it does, more sand becomes exposed to the action of wind and water which further diminishes its density. This may eventually cause it to lose its sinking property completely.
Muds are usually composed of clay and water. The amount of clay present determines how thick the mud will be when dry. For example, if you mix one part clay with two parts water and stir it well, you can make a thin paste that will dry hard. If you add more water than necessary, the paste will be thicker when dry. Clay particles bond together when wet which helps them retain their shape even when dry.
The type of clay present in the mud affects its color.
Houses in hot climatic regions are composed of thick mud because it keeps the dwelling cooler than an open one with no roof. The mud acts as a barrier, preventing heat from entering homes. The majority of mud houses are found in rural areas where the weather is mild in the summer and warm in the winter.
They are also used for economic reasons. If you can't afford to build a house out of stone or wood, then a mud house is your next best option. These houses are easy to construct and only require basic tools. In fact, some families may even own the land upon which they build their mud houses, which saves money since you don't have to pay for land fees or taxes.
The thick layer of mud used to build a mud house provides much-needed insulation against heat and cold. The thicker the mud wall, the better it insulates against heat and cold. A thin shell of plaster does not provide enough protection from the elements.
Mud houses are also very affordable. You can build a decent-size house for less than $20,000 these days. That's less than half the price of many traditional wooden buildings. And if one part of the house needs repair, all you need to do is scrape off some of the mud and re-coat it on the damaged area. This process allows you to keep living in your house while it is being repaired.