Egyptian houses were made of sun-baked bricks formed from straw and Nile mud. The buildings constructed using this type of brick included palaces, temples, city walls and tombs.
One of the primary building materials used was mud, which was preferred because of the scarcity of wood and of rain in Egypt. The mixture of Nile mud and straw resulted in strong bricks resulted in bricks that were three times stronger than when straw was not used. As long as the foundations were free from floods and ground water, the Egyptian walls could stand for years.
Stones were used as building material only on rare occasions when river mud was not available. People preferred brick houses, and stones were reserved to build tombs and temples. Limestone was the common stone used in these situations because it is soft and can be shaped easily.
Mortar was another essential part of Egyptian architecture. When building with stone, they used a mixture of quartz and gypsum with some lime as the mortar. This was more convenient to use in the drier climate of Egypt than in wetter conditions. For mud bricks, the mortar was made of the same material that made the bricks, but without any additional organic matter.