Building a cordwood house

One green building technique is building using stackwall or cordwood. This means that for constructions you are using firewood logs. Cordwood structures are very resistant and some of them exist for more than 100 years.

1. First of all you need to design your cordwood house. Walls are 12″ to 24″ thick. You need to take this in consideration. Also this means that you need a foundation to sustain all this. Concrete slabs are the easiest way to achieve this need. You may need a plan and an approval from an architect. An engineer or architect will be able to tell you if you need any additional structures.

2. Get a building permit from your local authorities. Getting an engineer or architect to sign the plan will be better for you.

3. Now you can start the construction. You will need to set the foundation. Unless you have some experience with concrete, it’s better to hire a professional.

4. While the concrete is drying, go and look for materials (you can do this before pouring the concrete, just to make sure that you have all the materials). You can buy this wood from any firewood supplier. The thing you need to have in mind is that the wood should be cured for at least 6-10 months. Also the bark needs to be removed, to avoid any air infiltration problems. Cedar is one of the best materials. You can also use pine and fir wood. Sawdust is great for insulation and the best part is that you may get if for free from any sawmill. You can also buy it from farms. You will also need windows and doors. Consider insulating the building with fiberglass.

5. Now build your house frame, in case you’ll have a load-bearing timber frame with cordwood infill. If you want to work away from the elements and have a dry place where you can store the materials, you can work on the roof.

6. Use mortar and logs to build the wall. Use mortar only on the 1/3 outside and inside on your logs. The middle should be mortar free.

7. Put insulation between the mortar. Make sure that you pack the sawdust well so avoid it from settling later.

8. don’t forget to leave spaces for doors and windows.

9. After you have built the walls, seal the crevices around the windows and doors. You may need to do this again as wood expands and contracts.

10. Use a conventional roof. It fits better with cordwood homes.

11. If you want, you can cover the interior with drywall. don’t waterproof the log ends because it increases the chance of rot.

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