Building a Cordwood House

How to build an energy efficient house from cordwood masonry, including fuel savings from earth sheltering, insulation and the floating slab.



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The sand pad is compacted in three runs of about 6"" each.
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The 16' screed board spans from the perimeter footings to the 7' diameter masonry stove foundation. This shows Insulation, mesh, and footings.
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Rob at work on a cordwood masonry
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Two Thousand Square Feet for $27,000 . . . and a $75 Fuel Bill!
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Dry stack corner blocks (8"" x 8"" x 16"") like cordwood in the bermed wall.
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Using a trowel, apply surface bonding cement to a dampened wall.
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The sun-facing cordwood masonry wall made easy. First lay an insulated double bed of mortar on the slab.
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Jaki Roy uses a stainless steel butter knife to smooth the mortar.
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Then, tie the inner and outer beds together with log ends. Repeat.
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The masonry stove is 5' in diameter downstairs and reduces to 4' upstairs. Flues crisscross through the masonry to increase conduction.
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Place waterproofing membrane vertically on the bonded walls.
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The octagonal post-and -beam frame cuts the radial rafter spans in half. The masonry stove acts as a load-bearing column at the center of the home.
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The French drain is made of perforated flexible tubing.
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We place 4"" of extruded polystyrene on the top of the membrane, protecting it from the freeze-thaw cycling.
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Sixteen rafters go all the way to the stove; the others stop at the octagon.
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We apply waterproofing membrane to the primed spruce deck.
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After laying a layer of 6 -mil black polyethylene over the foam insulation, we install a 2"" crushed stone drainage layer, then straw, then 7' - 8"" of earth.
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Diagram of the house.
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Construction details
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