Building a house out of cordwood is also called stack-wall construction. Normally, firewood logs that are either whole or split can be used in such a construction. From afar, a cordwood house looks like it is built from stone because it uses the same technique as stone masonry, and cordwood houses are green and environmentally friendly. These houses are aesthetically appealing and physically durable. However, building one may prove to be challenging.
Create a precise, logical blueprint. Remember that the walls of cordwood houses should be around one to two feet wide. Wider the walls are more insulated but the risk of rot and mold is significantly higher. Start out by drawing a precise foundation. An experienced civil engineer is the best person to help with the blueprint.
Get your building permit by showing your approved blueprint and a house plan to the appropriate agency in your area. Agencies require a variety of documents; call your municipal building department for details. Make sure you have a permit before you begin construction. A state may demolish buildings without permits, and/or you may have to pay a steep fine.
Calculate how much cordwood, concrete and insulation you need based on your blueprints. Purchase cordwood from any firewood supplier, and obtain the sawdust insulator free from sawmills. Purchase the other utility-related materials with the help of a civil engineer.
Lay the foundation---preferably with concrete. The concrete method is the easiest for a beginner, but you may require additional help. If so, consult a civil engineer, who will discuss with you the feasible materials to use on your plot of land.
Construct a basic framework of the house based on your blueprint. Lay the roof before the walls are filled in with cordwood so you'll have a dry place for storage of the cordwood.
Lay the cordwood as you would stone, and spread the top with mortar. Lay the next layer and continue until you reach the top. Put in a layer of insulation inside this wall, and lay another wall. Continue until the wall is filled in to the planned thickness. Leave spaces for windows and doors where you want them.
Install your windows and doors following the installation steps included with most DIY windows and doors.
Seal your house, paying particular attention to the windows and doors. Do not seal the logs because that will cause your walls to rot.
Finish the interior by bringing in an electrician to install the electrical wiring and a plumber to install the piping. Put up drywall if you wish to cover the cordwood.