Traditional Mexican homes were made of adobe with red clay tiles for the roof. Materials to make adobe and roof tiles were readily available and suitable to the hot, dry climate of the region.
Adobe is a mud product typically made with a clay-based soil, straw and water. Builders mix the adobe and make it into bricks for construction purposes.
Walls are built from the bricks, with wet adobe used for mortar. Most homes also have a thin coating of adobe on the outside to create a smooth surface, which is then whitewashed or painted.
Adobe homes are common in Mexico and the Southwestern United States, where the technique was introduced by the Spanish who first established settlements in the area. The Mediterranean region boasts similar architecture.
Adobe is ideal for locations where the climate is hot and dry. Because it can disintegrate quickly when exposed to regular moisture, it is not appropriate for areas that remain damp or rainy year-round.
True adobe homes are vulnerable to moisture and other disasters, such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Adobe's clay-based design is not strong enough to withstand such harsh elements.