Earth materials have been used in the form of adobe or rammed products for the construction of load-bearing walls in buildings. In Portugal, the adobe has been used predominantly on the central coast, particularly in the Aveiro district. Although many old adobe buildings in Aveiro have been abandoned, some of them can be refurbished with minor maintenance and repair works.
Representative samples from typical adobe blocks, from various constructions in the region were collected and characterized for their mineralogical composition, particle size, aggregate content, water uptake, durability and strength. These basic properties provide a basis for the development of adequate interventions, preserving the characteristics of the buildings. This study compares the main characteristics of adobes from two different locations (Anadia and Murtosa). The most important differences between the two groups of adobes are the particle size distribution, the mineralogical composition, the water absorption and the mechanical and durability properties. The study improved the knowledge of the traditional construction methods and will enable decisions for rehabilitation of adobe buildings to be made. Knowledge of the main characteristics of adobes allows those participating in the rehabilitation process to obtain the basis for the rehabilitation and conservation of old buildings.