Improving the Durability of Straw-Reinforced Clay Plaster Cladding for Earthen Buildings

Mahmoud R. Maheri* (Corresponding Author), Alireza Maheri, Saeed Pourfallah, Ramin Azarm, Akbar Hadjipour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Many historic earthen structures in the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of Africa and Latin America are traditionally protected against the rain by straw-reinforced clay-plaster applied as a protective layer to the exterior of the building. The plaster is effective in keeping the building dry and can sustain the severe temperature changes of the regions; however, the plaster is susceptible to relatively fast water erosion. This article presents the results of a program of experiments, aimed at enhancing the durability of this traditional plaster against rain erosion. Hydrated lime and a very fine-grained aggregate (crusher dust) are used to improve the resistance of the straw-reinforced plaster. Samples made of the improved plaster mixes are tested for compressive and flexural strengths, water tightness, and resistance to water erosion; the results are used to obtain an optimum mix proportion for the improved clay soil plaster. The results indicate a substantial increase in the strength and durability of the plaster by using small quantities of these low-cost additives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-366
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of architectural heritage
Issue number3
Early online date8 Apr 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • clay plaster
  • straw-reinforced clay
  • kahghel
  • lime stabilization
  • earthen buildings
  • water erosion


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