Cordwood homes and barns: Also known as stack wall, log end, stovewood or cordwood masonry. If you do the labor yourself, and use wood from your property, this is a very inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to own a home.
Alan Adolphson’s Cordwood Home in Hope, Maine
The whole house is built with 14″ Aspen (poplar). All the walls are load bearing. Great Stuff foam was used for insulation. Originally found from “www.midcoast.com/~adolphsn/alan%27s/” you can visit cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com for more information.
Looks like stone from afar, originally via midcoast.com, go to cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com to see more.
True arches around many doors and windows. The photos below were from midcoast.com, however you can see more at cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com.
Do not place the split logs with a flat surface facing upward, they will collect rain.
Although spacing the split wood close together is fine, it should not touch, as this could promote damp conditions leading to rot.
Stone fireplace & oven to left – cordwood wall on right.
A spectacular view of the angled roof.
45 Amazing Cordwood Homes Around North America
1) The Kruza House
The Kruza House, built in 1884 in Shawano County, Wisconsin was ”built of stovewood laid in a bed of mortar.” For more go to lsvejda.wordpress.com.
2) Bracebridge Bed & Breakfast
Cordwood Lodge Bed & Breakfast in Bracebridge, Ontario. The lodge is a forest retreat, even providing guest bedrooms. You can find out more from bedbreakfasthome.com.
3) Renyard Felt’s Home
Renyard Felt’s cordwood home near Adel, Georgia. The home is made of cypress and was built in the 70’s. Using dry wood and building with slow curing mortar is key to minimal cracking. Information on building cordwood structures can be found at cordwoodconstruction.org.
4) Perch Lake Carriage Home
You don’t need to live in a temperate climate to have a cordwood home, they can also provide great shelter from the snow.
5) Camp Cordwood
Camp Cordwood, Northern Michigan. With cordwood building, curves are easy. Thenauhaus.com has more pictures of this camp on their site.
6) Mushwood Home
Mushwood on Chataugay Lake by Rob Roy. The dome is an impressive addition to this home. Image by Pseu / Flickr.
Cradlerock under construction, Ontario, Canada. This photograph was found at “cradlerockhomestead.com/LayingCordwood.aspx”.
8) Carlson Home In Rochester
Cordwood Home by Rob Roy near Rochester, NY., image by Peter Turkow. Originally found via Rob Roy’s FB page. The door adds a nice creative flair to this cordwood home.
Carlson Home near Rochester, NY. by Rob Roy. Via Rob Roy’s FB page.
Beginning Of A Cordwood Home
Local building codes often require a supporting structure, such as post and beam, then cordwood as an infill, even though the cordwood alone could support a substantial load. Originally found at snras.blogspot.com.
9) Kenai Cordwood House
Mark and Chelsea’s home in Kenai, Alaska. The walls are 14″ spruce with foam insulation in the center cavity between the two 3″ mortar beads. For more examples go to thenauhaus.com.
Another view of Mark and Chelsea’s home in Kenai, Alaska.
10) Cordwood Lodge
Cordwood Lodge, Northern Wisconsin. Go to daycreek.com for more information.
Cordwood Lodge, Northern Wisconsin. This picture was found at daycreek.com.
11) Window In A Cordwood Wall
Creating a structurally sound cordwood home is about more than understanding how to make a cordwood wall. Other elements, like a window, are just as important to ensuring your home lasts a long time.
12) Off-The-Grid Cordwood Home
Cordwood home in Upstate New York, off-grid. Rainharvest.co provides many products, including natural materials you need to construct a cordwood home.
13) Luke And Amy’s House
Luke & Amy’s cordwood home of debarked cedar in Spartanburg, SC. Lots of overhang for South Carolina’s wet weather. Via: cordwoodconstruction.wordpress
14) Higgins’ Cordwood Home
Cordwood House by Wayne Higgins (Stonewood) – Log cabin on left, shingle for the second floor, cordwood on right. More information can be found at daycreek.com.
Ravenwood is a double wall, LPM, foam insulated triangular home in upstate New York by Bruce Kilgore and Nancy Dow. Daycreek.com has more photographs of constructing a cordwood house on their website.
16) Cordwood Garage
Cordwood Garage in New London, MN. Photo by Greg Harp. This is one part of a larger cordwood home. Go to pbase.com, for more information on the construction of this house.
17) Cordwood Carriage House
Cordwood Carriage House, New London, Minnesota. For a rectilinear house without a heavy post-and-beam frame, stack wall corners can be built of squared log-ends called quoins. The stacked corner functions as a post. Originally found via facebook.com.
18) Bear Claw
Bear Claw by Ojibwe tribal artist Bill Paulson, in the wall of the cordwood home on the White Earth Reservation in Naytahwaush, Minnesota. You can see other amazing pieces by Bill Paulson on cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com.
19) Northern Wisconsin Home
Cordwood home in Northern Wisconsin. Daycreek has more information about making cordwood buildings on their site.
20) Cute Cordwood Home
Cordwood home. Cordwood is a great option for building a home, because the plans can be personalized. For more on the conversation surrounding this photo, go to ourcedarcottage.blogspot.
21) Cordwood Fence
Cordwood isn’t just for building homes, this fence adds a touch of class to this patio.
22) Cordwood House In West Canada
Richard Flatau, West Canada. For more photographs like this, go to daycreek.com.
23) Lakewood Hollow
Lakewood Hollow, from lakewoodhollow. On their website, they discuss how building a cordwood home can be a way to have a mortgage-free house.
24) Stone And Cordwood Home
Stone, shingle and cordwood house. If you have stone on your property, start building with that. Collect logs and let them dry for about a year, then add a cordwood addition to your stone home. Image by Mark Angelini / Flickr.
25) Cordwood Barn
Cordwood Barn, Oconto County, Wisconsin. Originally these two photographs of this Oconto County barn were found at “www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wioconto/StovewoodBarn.htm”.
Cordwood Barn, Oconto County, Wisconsin.
26) Stone Creek Camp
Stone Creek Camp, Flat Head Lake, Montana. Originally found on stonecreekmontana.com, the architects can be found at anderssonwise.com.
Stone Creek Camp, Flat Head Lake, Montana. Architects: anderssonwise.com
Stone Creek Camp, Flat Head Lake, Montana. Architects: anderssonwise.com
27) Canadian Cordwood Home
Cordwood home in Quebec, Canada. Love the old pipes, as well as the wall. For more information, visit troglodium.com.
Inside Luke And Amy’s House
Luke and Amy’s cordwood home in Spartanburg, South Carolina. More information and ideas can be found at cordwoodconstruction.org.
28) Mermaid Cordwood Cottage
Inside cordwood walls. You can see how they designed this cordwood house with glass to give the home a personalized touch.
Mermaid Cordwood Cottage in Del Norte, Colorado. Via: cordwoodconstruction.org.
29) Cordwood Wall
Log cabins look great with an accent wall made with cordwood.
30) Feather By Bill Paulson
Feather by Ojibwe tribal artist Bill Paulson, in the wall of the cordwood home on the White Earth Reservation in Naytahwaush, Minnesota.. Image: Robert Zahorski. For more pictures of this house go to cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com.
31) Cordwood Home With Arched Door
Grant Nicholson’s arched door on his double wall, slip form, cast quions cordwood home in Owen Sound, Ontario.
32) Glass Bottle And Cordwood Wall
Glass bottles frame the window. Cordwood walls on top of a stone foundation. Image by Scot DeGraf / Flickr.
33) Rainbow Valley Farm
Indoor tile mosaic ‘stream’, interior cordwood wall, and hand-hewn beams from self-harvested timber at Rainbow Valley Farm. Photograph by Kristi / Flickr.
34) San Paolo Cordwood Wall
Cordwood wall by architect Lara Freitas of San Paolo, Brazil.
35) Cordwood House With No Mortar
Cordwood Home (without mortar) of Armin Blasbichler, Tyrol, Italy. You can see more photos at arminblasbichler.com.
Cordwood Home of Armin Blasbichler. Cordwood and clocks are sandwiched between glass. More information on the building can be found on arminblasbichler.com.
36) Cordwood Bathroom
Cordwood in the bathroom, via blueforest.com
37) Mecikalski Store
Mecikalski Store, built in 1900, in Jennings, Wisconsin. Eighteen-inch lengths of cedar logs were used.
38) Truckee Retreat
The cordwood wall combines both the modern and rustic style of this room.
39) Small Barn
Cordwood Barn, via gallery.pasty.com
40) Stackwell Barn
Stackwell cornered barn, Canada. The image can be found at cordwoodmasonry.com.
41) George J. Sauvala Barn
George J. Sauvala barn, 1929. Between Houghton and Chassel Michigan. Image: Wayne Higgins, via daycreek.com
42) Large Cordwood Barn
Cordwood Barn. The contrasting board and cordwood sections define this barns structure.
43) Cordwood Chicken Coop
Stovewood Chicken Coop, Michigan, built in the 1930s. © Bob Kisken, via fadingad.com
Building From The Ground Up
For a cob mortar mix: 5 gallons clay soaked in water, 5 gallons sawdust, 5 gallons dry manure, 5 gallons sand, 2-1/3 c. flour glue/EM, 1/3 c. psyllium powder, and 1 tsp. EM ceramic powder and 1-2 gallons of water. For more information go to home-n-stead.com & daycreek.com.
44) Sage Mountain Center
Sage Mountain Center, Montana. Love the mix of rectangular wood with the logs, via sagemountain.org
Sage Mountain Center, Montana. Love the mix of rectangular/square wood with the logs. You can see more at sagemountain.org.
Cordwood construction, the inner wall space will be filled with an insulating material. Daycreek provides more information on how to build a cordwood wall on their website.
Cordwood workshop in Grand Marais. See more pictures and info here: bennetthouseproject.blogspot
Spray foam as insulation at White Earth Reservation, Minnesota, via minnesota.publicradio.org.
45) Finished Cordwood Home
More about cordwood on Wikipedia. Image by Greg Webster.
There are remains of cordwood buildings in Greece and Siberia that date back a thousand years.
Before You Build With Cordwood
As with all building methods, planning is necessary. Logs need to be dried to prevent expansion, shrinking and cracking. Trees should be cut and debarked, then allowed to dry for 1-2 years, before they are cut into lengths. Or, if you want your wood to dry faster, split it. The wood will dry faster, and it will crack and check less when in the wall. Before placing in the wall, spray or soak the cordwood in Borax. The Borax acts as an insecticide, a wood preservative, and a fungicide. Use four cups of Borax (borate) mixed in a gallon of hot water. This can be sprayed on, or the logs can be dipped in the solution. You want your mortar to be ‘soft’ or a little flexible, not straight concrete or brick mud because the logs continually shrink and swell.
R-value depends on the species of wood, thickness, and insulation you chose. Cedar has an R-value of 1.5 per inch; cut to 18″ the R-value would be approximately R-27. The mortar will need to be insulated to bring the R-value up to par with the wood. In Canada, Cliff Stockey builds double wall homes (not shown): two cordwood walls with a vapor barrier and insulation in between. Cliff states that a 24″ (8″ cordwood + 8″ insulation + 8″ cordwood) double wall has an R-value of 40+. Although this sounds like double the work, it is not, as you only need to point the outside and most inside wall. daycreek.com
Wood Types For Building A Cordwood Home
Softwoods are best. Cedar has a good R-value (1.5 per inch) and is naturally decay resistant. Hardwoods have a tendency to swell and crack mortar joints. The best softwoods: white cedar, white pine, cottonwood, poplar, red cedar, spruce or larch followed by hemlock and poplar. If all you have is hardwood, you must split the wood and let it dry for only months instead of years, otherwise, it will expand in the wall.
For a 32′ x 36′ one story structure – you need approx 5 cords of cedar wood.
Cordwood Building Resources
- cordwoodmasonry.com: Earthwood Building School’s full length how-to videos
- thenauhaus.com: Best Practices with Cordwood Construction By Richard Flatau
- groups.yahoo.com: Yahoo cordwood forum
- daycreek.com: Info on spray foam and double walls.
- daycreek.com: For more photos.
- inspectapedia.com: Table of Insulation R Values.
The Best Book About Cordwood Building
Cordwood Building: The State of the Art, Rob Roy (Editor)
Collects the wisdom of more than 25 of the world’s best practitioners, detailing the long history of the method, and demonstrating how to build a cordwood home using the latest and most up-to-date techniques, with a special focus on building code issues. Author/editor Rob Roy has been building, researching, and teaching about cordwood masonry for 25 years; and, with his wife, started Earthwood Building School in 1981. Information about what species of wood are best, how to select, prepare and store the wood.