Splashback from rain and snow can degrade and discolor the cordwood. Letting snow stand against your cordwood is a recipe for mildew, mold and rot. Lichens will even try to build where water is present before it starts.
The reader will notice that the log ends and mortar on the bottom row are starting to turn green. This does not bode well for the longevity of this particular building. These two buildings have small roof overhangs, the cordwood is on grade and not above grade and there is no slope away from the building.
This extreme example of a cordwood fail shows some of the bottom logs completely rotted out and many of the other logs have loosened and can be punched through.
There are several ways to prevent splashback. These are done in the pr-planning phase.
- Keep the area next to your home graded so the soil slopes away.
- Use a gravel type material next to the house so the rain is scattered.
- Bury a drain tile (sloped to daylight) under the drip line to funnel water away from the area.
- Use large overhangs.
- Gutter the eaves.
- Use block or rock at the base so any snow or rain that manages to find a way, will be deflected by an impervious material.
- Add a wrap-around porch. This type of solution also keeps the UV rays of the sun away since most of the exposed log ends are covered by the shade of the porch.
The following pictures show the various solutions in action.
Sloped away, block on the bottom, large overhangs.
Gutters and downspouts, a 6-foot overhang and split-faced block.
Metal roof, gutters, block.
Large overhangs, rock knee wall 24″.
Stone looks very nice and provides a splashback barrier.
These gutters in Alberta have an electric heat tape to prevent ice dams.
Pelle’s cordwood sauna masterpiece is well-positioned to have reduced splashback.
The Cordwood Education Center in Wisconsin has gutters and a 6-foot overhang on the western side.
A wrap-around porch keeps the elements at bay.
All of these suggestions need to be built into the pre-planning of your home, cabin, cottage. Now that you know what can happen and how to prevent it, the next step is in your hands (and feet).
Should you get interested and want to build one that is warm and energy-efficient? Want to learn from others mistakes and not have to repeat them? Then you should get a copy of Cordwood Construction Best Practices.
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