[GSBN] Cordwood Walls

Graeme North graeme at ecodesign.co.nz
Wed Jan 7 15:59:10 CST 2015

Hi Tom - 

I have looked into cordwood walls before, and I think that the issues have already been well covered.

Shrinkage is a very real issue.  When I asked one of the prime "he shall remain a nameless north american" exponents of cordwood on how to deal with it he said that he went around the outer edge of each log with silicone.  Really!

I have a few hardwood cord-wood logs in some earth walls in my house, just for the fun of it. If I had not banged a few nails into the sides of them to tie them in, I could easily push them out through the walls now.

On the +ve side, end-grain timber is almost as good as natural earth for moderating humidity, and there is thermal mass to be gained, but overall my preference would be to restrict use to either internal walls or externally clad/insulated external walls.  And to tie the wood well into the mortar.

Hope all is well



On 8/01/2015, at 5:54 AM, Tom Woolley <tom.woolley at btconnect.com> wrote:

> We have  been asked to advise on building a cordwood building in Northern Ireland
> The site is in the Sperrin Mountains which has nearly 100% RH all year round
> average rainfall is well over 1000mm per annum though I am surprised it is not higher
> There are two issues
> The building will need to meet reasonably high insulation standards under the building regulations
> I have found articles claiming that cordwood gives good insulation but I find this hard to accept
> Log cabins on the west side of Ireland rot in a few years where the end grain is exposed but maybe cordwood would do better?
> What is the best timber to use ?  Oak is indigenous here but not available commercially
> Any help much appreciated
> thanks and Happy New Year
> Tom
> Tom Woolley
> tom.woolley at btconnect.com
> 80 Church Road
> Crossgar
> Downpatrick
> UK
> BT 30 9HR
> 00(44) 28 44 831164
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