How to build a cordwood house

Nearly everyone has seen a cordwood house, yet no one really knows what it is. I hope to shed some light on this building technique that is growing in popularity across the world. I will explain exactly how a cordwood house is constructed and the relevant pro’s and con’s to consider before starting on your own project.

How long will a cordwood house last? Here is a compilation of the pros and cons of cordwood homes.Cordwood houses are a popular choice for many people building a home. They are cheaper to build, environmentally friendly and last longer than other types of homes. So what’s the catch? There is no catch actually. A cordwood house is just as safe as any other type of home. The key is in how you build your home and what kind of wood you choose.

How to build a cordwood house

Cordwood houses can be built to last for centuries, but there are some drawbacks.

Cordwood homes are made of logs stacked in an interlocking fashion, with mortar between the logs that is usually made from clay, sand and straw. The walls are usually plastered over with cement or stucco to prevent moisture damage and freezing.

The natural insulation of the wood keeps the home warm in winter and cool in summer. The design also allows for passive solar heating, meaning that the house absorbs sunlight during the day and releases it at night.

A cordwood house is not an inexpensive option, but it can be cheaper than other types of passive solar homes since you don’t have to pay for expensive construction materials such as steel beams or insulated windows. Cordwood homes require less maintenance than other types of passive solar homes because they have fewer openings in their walls.

As with any type of house construction project, there are pros and cons to building a cordwood home:

Cordwood construction is the art of building with logs that have been split into thin slabs, or “cords.” The slabs are stacked with mortar between them to form walls, sometimes augmented with wooden beams and timber frames.

Cordwood houses are often built using local materials, such as wood from a nearby forest or stone from a nearby quarry. The technique has been used for centuries in Europe and Canada, where it was popularized by Finnish architect Lars Mytting in his book Cordwood Building: An Introduction to an Earth-Sheltered Way of Life.

Cordwood homes can be built on any foundation — they don’t require a basement or crawlspace like traditional timber frame houses do. They’re also comparatively inexpensive to build compared to other types of structure because they use natural materials (logs) instead of manufactured materials (plywood boards).


Low cost

Self-sufficient in terms of materials (you can use local materials)

No need for special skills or training to build one yourself

Cordwood construction is a building method that uses wood, usually lengths of wood called “cordwood” (or “sticks”), to create walls. Cordwood masonry has been used as a sustainable building technique for many years, but it is not without its downsides.

Cordwood houses are fairly affordable compared to traditional stick frame construction, although they are not necessarily less expensive than other types of sustainable homes. They also have a lower carbon footprint than stick frame houses because they use local materials and can be built with minimal energy consumption.

Cordwood Masonry Gains New Fans - The New York Times

They’re inexpensive to build in terms of materials and labor costs.

They’re easy to heat and cool because the thermal mass of their walls helps insulate them from changes in temperature.

They’re fire resistant because there are no combustible materials inside the walls or roof cavity.

You can build your own cordwood house for less than $10 per square foot if you do all the work yourself or hire someone who knows how to do it properly (and there’s no shortage of people who claim to know how).


Cordwood homes are made from the same materials that were used to build log cabins in the 1800s. The difference is that cordwood houses are constructed using 16-inch lengths of wood called “cords.” A cord is a stack of wood that is 128 cubic feet and weighs approximately 42 pounds per cubic foot. The size of each piece of wood used in a cordwood home depends on the species of wood used and whether it was split or unsplit.

Cordwood houses are generally considered to be low impact because they use local materials, avoid toxic glues and adhesives, and can be built with little labor. They also require less energy than conventional construction methods. However, building with cordwood has some drawbacks as well.

Cordwood construction is a type of natural building made from logs, or cordwood. The term “cordwood” refers to the size of the wood segments used, which are usually 4″ x 8″ (10 cm x 20 cm). The small size of each piece and lack of adhesives or other structural elements such as nails make cordwood construction very forgiving.

Cordwood walls are typically built in a step-by-step manner; first laying logs flat on the ground and then stacking them one atop another. Each log is laid so that its top edge is aligned with the bottom edge of the log below it. The gaps between logs should be filled with mortar or clay plaster.

Cordwood walls are most commonly made up of two-foot lengths, although they can be built using any length desired. The length of your wall will depend on how many logs you have available, how much space you have available for your project and how tall you want your finished wall to be. It is important to remember that cordwood walls are very heavy when dry and very light when saturated with water – so don’t plan on moving them around once they’re built!

Cordwood houses have a unique look and feel that many people find appealing. They’re also inexpensive to build, and the materials for cordwood walls are readily available in many regions.

But how long will a cordwood house last?

Cordwood construction is based on stacking round logs with the bark still on them into a wall and filling any gaps between them with mortar or clay. The resulting wall has an insulating value similar to that of a typical log cabin — about R-30 or so — but it also has thermal mass, which means that it can absorb heat during the day and release it at night, helping keep your home comfortable in all kinds of weather.

Because of its thermal properties, a cordwood wall can act as an air conditioner in the summer and heat source in the winter. This makes it especially useful if you live in a climate where extreme temperatures occur frequently throughout the year.

The way you build your cordwood walls will affect how long they last:

If you use mortar instead of clay fillers, your walls will be more durable but will require regular maintenance to keep them waterproofed (including annual repointing).

If you use clay fillers instead of mortar, your walls should last longer

Cordwood houses have been built for centuries, and they’re still being built today. The oldest cordwood homes have been around since the 17th century, and some of them are still standing.

Cordwood construction is an excellent option for people who want to build a house on a budget. It’s also an eco-friendly alternative to conventional stick framing and other types of building materials.

How to Build a House of Cordwood Masonry - The New York Times

Cost-effective – Cordwood houses cost less to build than most other types of homes. They’re also more affordable than many other forms of green building.

Eco-friendly – Cordwood houses are made with local materials that are easy on the environment and require low maintenance over time. They don’t contain any toxic chemicals or off-gassing compounds that can harm your health or the environment as it ages — which means they’re great choices for people who want to minimize their carbon footprint while living comfortably in their home.

Maintenance – The biggest downside of cordwood homes is that they require more maintenance than most other types of housing structures. Since the walls aren’t sealed against moisture penetration from outside sources, you’ll need to make sure that your house stays dry enough inside so that mold doesn’t grow on your walls or flooring

Cordwood houses are made of wood stacked like cordwood. They are a popular alternative to conventional construction, and can be built quickly and cheaply by an unskilled labor force.

In terms of durability, cordwood houses have been around for centuries and continue to be built today. The oldest known cordwood home in the United States is a house in New Hampshire that was built in 1792 by Colonel William Howard, who served under General George Washington during the American Revolution.

Cordwood homes have been built in all 50 states and around the world.

Cordwood homes are made of masonry, often called cordwood masonry or CMUs. They’re also known as “nail-laminated timber” or NLT for short.

The name “cordwood” comes from the way the masonry units are laid up: like a stack of firewood. In fact, cordwood homes were originally built by stacking up logs and filling in the spaces between them with mortar or concrete.

Cordwood walls can be made of many different materials, including concrete, wood and straw bales. They’re usually stacked on site (as opposed to being prefabricated off site), but they don’t have to be.

Cordwood Construction welcomes you - Cordwood Construction

Cordwood is a building material made from compacting and stacking firewood logs. It is similar to a log cabin, but instead of using logs, the walls are built with cordwood. The process for building with cordwood involves carefully laying each piece on top of the other, so that they are all flush with one another. When drywall is added to the exterior of the structure, it can be finished to look like any other type of house.

Cordwood homes have been built around the world, in many different configurations. They are often referred to as “earthships” because they are designed to take advantage of natural resources and produce their own power.

1) Low cost – Building with cordwood is much less expensive than traditional methods of construction because it uses inexpensive materials (firewood) and simple tools (no power saws).

2) Energy efficient – Cordwood walls provide excellent insulation due to their mass and thickness. This makes homes more energy efficient and keeps them warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

3) Sustainable – Cordwood is made from renewable resources that can’t be depleted or destroyed like concrete or metal could be if used for building materials.

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