What happens when the mortar of your stackwall corner starts to move and crack?  The picture below gives a good example of a stackwall corner in distress.  There is vertical mortar crack most of the way down the wall.

The horizontal quoins (6 x 6″ beams) should have been staggered for the best effect. These are 24-inch beams and every other one should have been 36 inches.   There will be examples of how to do this at the end of this post.  To learn how to avoid this kind of mortar cracking visit https://cordwoodconstruction.org/stackwall-corners-with-the-right-stuff

From a distance this cordwood home in New Brunswick, Canada looks beautiful and inviting.  It is not until one gets closer that the stackwall corner reveals its problem.

The second-story window is attractive and lets in a significant amount of light.

Each of the corner quoins has had a degree of separation.  One way to stop mortar separation is to add screws and nails to the quoin (where the mortar will attach) BEFORE it is mortared.

One other suggestion to improve this cordwood home would be to split some of the wood (50 to 70%) and use a few completely-dried larger logs to break up the “look” of rounds being all the same size.  Another suggestion would be to make overhangs should larger, at least 24 to 36 inches.  This size overhang (in the pictures) needs to have gutters and downspouts to avoid log damage from splashback. You can see the bottom logs have been degraded with snow and rain. 

STACKWALL WITH BEST PRACTICES.  Build each corner like a post and screw and nail them together BEFORE building the cordwood wall! Note the lap joint on the top plate.  The other way to solve this problem is to simply use a post (instead of a stackwall corner)!


The original stackwall corner built as a post to satisfy building codes in Minnesota.  The other posts are 150 year old barn beams with a pressure treated 6 x 6 on the outside, functioning as a load-bearing post (below). 


Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Construction: Best Practices DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.”   www.cordwoodconstruction.org  

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

Here is a jpeg of the new Cordwood Construction DVD cover which is also available for immediate download  at https://cordwoodconstruction.org/

The 30 part menu for the Cordwood Workshop DVD.