Storing the Mud Bricks
It is often going to be the case that you will not use your mud brick right away!
Even a small 8mx4m house we built here took us about 1400 bricks. Which means you will have to make all the bricks you need (and maybe some extra) at least a few weeks or months before the actual day of the construction. This means that your precious bricks will need to be well cared for until they are used, or they could start to get damaged.
With two ladder frames, with each frame able to produce 7 bricks and 4 people working full time, we were able to produce about 200 to 250 bricks per day. This would include digging the mud, adding rice husk, mixing, transporting to mud brick drying site and finally putting it into the cast.
Remember that when building the mud house, mud bricks are used for the inside of the walls, after which they are plastered and then protected from the rain and sun by the roof. The rice husk is organic matter, and will easily take a beating from the weather. It will slowly start to deteriorate the quality of the brick. Also, if your area has termites, then that's one more thing to protect your bricks from.
So how do we do it? Firstly, it’s about choosing the right place. You want an area that isn't getting too much sunlight and also a spot that rain water does not accumulate.
If you’ve already got some kind of a warehouse then it's easy. put them in there and take them out when you need it. But most of us will want to store the bricks near the area where construction is going to take place. Remember that these bricks should weigh anywhere between 9-11kg when dry depending on the type of soil you have, so moving around over 1000 bricks is no easy matter.
Which means that storing the bricks near to the construction site would make things easy when construction starts. Also this is where the decisions that you made earlier, about where your mud pit is will really matter. If your mud pit, drying area and construction area are all nearby, that makes things much easier.
Assuming that you’ve finally decided to store your mud bricks next to the construction site, then here are the next steps. Firstly, put a plastic or tarpaulin sheet on the ground before putting your bricks down, this is especially useful if you have termites in your area. Termites will eat the rice husk in your bricks.
Remember that the mud bricks are made out of 2 things, mud and rice husk. Which means mud bricks have two things, food (rice husk) and their home(mud).Combined, this is a very attractive combination for termites.
If you allow the termites to eat up the bricks, then when you pick them up to use it, they will be weak and possibly break. This is because the rice husk is what holds together the mud and gives the brick its form. This is the purpose of the plastic sheet as it will prevent the termites from being able to get to the mud bricks from underneath.
The next Important thing is how the bricks are placed. If you simply place the bricks one over the other after sometime the mud will glue to each other due to moisture. you will end up with bricks that cannot be separated or might possibly break in the process of being separated. This reason it is important to have the long side of the brick on the floor so basically it looks vertical.
The 40 centimeter side will be on the floor and the 20 centimeter side will be looking at you. Take a look at the picture for a better description.
You can stack bricks like this up until about the height of your shoulders. In fact you can keep going higher but then it becomes difficult to get the brick especially if you are working with shorter people.
Possibly the most important part is to find a plastic or tarpaulin sheet to cover the bricks. Make sure that the sheet is dark and does not allow light to go through. And to prevent wind from making it fly Away use heavy material to put on top of the sheet. You are ready to put away the bricks for a few months.
And that below is our final look of our Mud House!