burnt adobe homes for sale in tucson

All about Burnt Adobe homes in Tucson

Last Updated on August 23, 2021 by Kim Labriola

Burnt Adobe is at home in Tucson

Tucson is said to have the most burnt adobe homes in the United States. Lucky us! Most of these homes were built between 1950 and 1970. Burnt adobe was used in many styles of homes including Ranch, Midcentury Modern, Territorial, and Spanish Revival style homes. Burnt adobe homes are easily recognizable in their natural state, although sometimes they’ll be mortar-washed, painted, or stuccoed over the years. It’s a real treat to see burnt adobe home interiors and exteriors with the adobe left natural, without an opaque paint or plaster coating.

An expample of mortar washed burnt adobe in a home built in the 1960s in Tucson
An example of mortar washed burnt adobe in a home built in the 1960s in Tucson, possibly designed by Juan Worner Baz

What is burnt adobe?

If you’re new to Tucson or Southern Arizona, you may not have heard of burnt adobe before. It’s a regional material made in the northern part of Sonora, Mexico that gained popularity during the post WWII building boom. But once you’re familiar with the material, you’ll see it almost everywhere in Tucson.

Burnt adobe, which is different than mud adobe, is made of mud and clay that is formed into bricks then fired in ovens. They are much larger and thicker than red bricks and are easy to spot. The exterior of the burnt adobe blocks have a hard shell which needs to be protected from water by using a sealant that needs to be reapplied periodically. Burnt adobe is made in the northern part of Mexico, which is one of the reasons it is such a popular material in Tucson. It isn’t used much farther north than Tucson, due the prohibitive cost of shipping.

Mid century modern burnt adobe home in Windsor Park neighborhood in Tucson
Burnt adobe gives this midcentury modern ranch home a Tucson twist

Types of burnt adobe

There are 3 types of burnt adobe: Sasabe, Querobabi, and San Luis. The first 2 are named for the towns where the adobes are made. Most burnt adobe homes in Tucson use the Sasabe adobes, probably because the town of Sasabe is closer to Tucson than Querobabi. Sasabe adobe is more orange while the Querobabi adobe is more red, and the San Luis adobe is multicolored with hints of yellow, black, orange, red, and brown. San Luis adobe is striking in appearance, but was rarely used in Tucson.


interior of a home with unpainted burnt adobe
If you’re lucky enough to have unpainted burnt adobe on the interior of your home, please don’t paint it! It’s difficult and time intensive to strip paint from burnt adobe.

Search for burnt adobe Tucson homes

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57 Matches Found
$485,000
2828 N Longhorn Drive, Tucson, AZ
Active
3BD 3BA 1945SF
Last Modified: 6:31am, September 20, 2021
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Listing Office: Long Realty Company
$470,000
5645 E 9th Street, Tucson, AZ
Active
4BD 3BA 3153SF
Last Modified: 4:28am, September 18, 2021
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Listing Office: Homesmart Advantage Group
$465,000
5513 N Northern Hills Drive, Tucson, AZ
Active
4BD 3BA 2504SF
Last Modified: 7:00pm, September 20, 2021
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Listing Office: Homesmart Advantage Group
$439,500
4710 E Adams Street, Tucson, AZ
Active
3BD 3BA 2172SF
Last Modified: 1:41pm, September 1, 2021
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Listing Office: Buckelew Realty
$425,000
7801 E Elida Street, Tucson, AZ
Active
4BD 2BA 2241SF
Open House: 10/01/2021  4:00 pm -6:00 pm
Last Modified: 4:28pm, September 22, 2021
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Listing Office: Engel & Volkers Tucson
$425,000
5520 E Camden Street, Tucson, AZ
Active
4BD 2BA 1763SF
Open House: 09/25/2021  1:00 pm -3:00 pm
Last Modified: 6:55pm, September 24, 2021
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Listing Office: Realty Executives Arizona Territory
New Listing $420,000
9086 E Bellevue Street, Tucson, AZ
Active
4BD 2BA 2738SF
Last Modified: 7:42pm, September 23, 2021
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Listing Office: Coldwell Banker Realty
New Listing $419,000
4009 E Kilmer Street, Tucson, AZ
Active
3BD 2BA 1910SF
Last Modified: 8:57pm, September 23, 2021
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Listing Office: Realty Executives Arizona Territory
$415,000
7020 E Potawatami Drive, Tucson, AZ
Active
4BD 2BA 1714SF
Last Modified: 6:31am, September 19, 2021
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Listing Office: eXp Realty
$410,000
3050 N Tecumseh Court, Tucson, AZ
Active
3BD 2BA 2135SF
Open House: 09/25/2021  10:00 am -12:00 pm
Last Modified: 12:52am, September 25, 2021
IDX
Listing Office: Tierra Antigua Realty
The data relating to real estate listings on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) program of Multiple Listing Service of Southern Arizona. IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Listings provided by brokerages other than the listing brokerage here are identified with the MLSSAZ IDX Logo. All Information Is Deemed Reliable But Is Not Guaranteed Accurate. Listing information Copyright 2020 MLS of Southern Arizona. All Rights Reserved.

Interested in buying or selling a home in Tucson? Contact us to go over your needs. 520-975-8956 or Hello@RealTucson.com


tom-gist-designed-homes-tucson-arizona-midcentury-modern
Tom Gist was a midcentury modernist builder who typically built of burnt adobe.

Burnt Adobe Builders and Architects in Tucson

Many of Tucson’s most well known midcentury builders and architects used burnt adobe in their home designs. Josias Joesler, one of Tucson’s most popular architects, was partial to using mortar washed burnt adobe. Juan Worner Baz, who was Joesler’s successor after his untimely death, also used the warm texture of burnt adobe in some of his work. Bennie Gonzales designed a noteworthy townhome community in Tucson that utilized white painted burnt adobe blocks. Tom Gist one of Tucson’s most celebrated modernist builders, used burnt adobe almost exclusively. Windsor Park, a midcentury modern community developed by J. Herbert Oxman and designed by architect David Swanson used burnt adobe in many of their homes. The Lusk Corporation used burnt adobe in most of their midcentury communities in Tucson, Indian Ridge is one of Lusk’s most celebrated Tucson neighborhoods. Countless other midcentury architects and builders also used the popular regional material.

Pros and Cons of Burnt Adobe

  • Warm, rustic aesthetic look of burnt adobe is appealing to many
  • Thicker mass allows for less heat transfer than some other types of older materials like red brick
  • More fire resistant than some other types of construction
  • Natural elements such as rain or water can erode adobe easily
  • Maintaining burnt adobe with a special sealer is needed periodically

Interested in buying or selling a unique home in the Tucson area? We can help! Contact us at Hello@RealTucson.com or 520-975-8956


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