The Owner-Builder Network

Using Cordwood – 1 Building Technique but with Many Names

Have you ever heard of cordwood masonry, cordwood construction, stack wall, log-end, stovewood or stack wood?

It is a wall-building technique that has been used for centuries to construct homes, barns, saunas, and other structures.

The method involves laying whole or split logs, with the ends facing out, in a bed of mortar.The thickness of the walls is determined by the length of the logs used. Cordwood walls are typically 12 to 24 inches thick but can be thicker or thinner depending on the application.

Here’s a home that uses an inexpensive and environmently friendly wall building technique.
Here’s a home that uses an inexpensive and environmentally friendly wall-building technique.

Cordwood masonry is a very versatile construction method and can be used to create a variety of different looks. For example, the logs can be left whole, or they can be split into halves or quarters. This flexibility makes cordwood masonry an excellent choice for a wide range of projects, from rustic cabins to more modern homes.

With remains of ancient structures dating back at least 1000 years in Europe, it is certainly not a new building technique.

Whilst labour intensive, the construction method is simple and can be inexpensive and environmentally friendly.

Advantages of Cordwood Construction


One of the advantages of cordwood masonry is flexibility. This means that cordwood homes can be built in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, making them ideal for both small and large families. Additionally, cordwood homes are relatively easy to construct, since the materials can be easily sourced and cut to size.

Various species of cordwood can be used and typically builders use species that are commonly found in their area. The technique is an economical use for log ends or fallen trees in heavily timbered areas.

Aesthetically Appealing

Cordwood construction is not only advantageous because it is eco-friendly and economical, but also because it can add a beautiful, rustic aesthetic to any home or structure. This type of construction can be used to create interesting and unique architectural features, adding visual interest and value to your property.

Great Insulation

Cordwood masonry is an excellent way to insulate your home. The wood is a natural insulator, and the masonry construction helps to keep heat in and cold out. This technique is also very durable and can last for many years with proper care. If you’re looking for a way to improve the energy efficiency of your home, cordwood masonry is definitely worth considering.

Low Maintenance

This technique results in a strong and durable wall that is also low maintenance. The main reason why these walls are low maintenance is that the logs themselves act as a natural barrier against the elements. The logs protect the mortar from moisture and pests, and the mortar protects the logs from rot. This means that these walls don’t require any special treatment or sealing, and they will last for many years with little to no maintenance.

Environmentally Friendly

There are many reasons why cordwood construction is environmentally friendly. First, the materials used are all natural and renewable. Logs can be sourced from sustainably managed forests, or even from your own property if you have a wooded area. The mortar used to fill the spaces between the logs can be made from clay, sand, and water – all of which are readily available and environmentally friendly materials.

If planning on building your home in an area near the woods, would you give this wall-building technique a try?

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If you liked these, you will also like viewing these log and timber frame homes…


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