Contrary to popular belief, wooden houses have a very high life expectancy. Of course wood should be pretected from humidity, but if the owner takes care of his house it will last very long. When designing a wooden house we make sure that water can always escape from the house and that walls are ventilated. What would then be life expectancy of a wooden house?
We have several examples of old wooden houses in Europe.
- In Lithuania we have the Palūšė church: built around 1750.
- A church from 1750 is not that special, there are many wooden structures still from the 18th century, such as the local church in Deltuva close to our office: built in 1752.
- and then there is the Stelmužės church in the Stelmužės manor park: built in 1713, next to the oldest tree of Lithuania (top of the page, 1500-200 years old).
- In the center of Amsterdam we have the Warmoesstraat 90: built around 1485.
- It is said that the oldest house in Europe is in Switzerland: the House of Bethlehem: built in 1287. In nearby Steinen work is underway on the restoration of a house one generation younger, from 1320.
It is safe to say that a log house can easily live into the next century. Maintenance is key. Our marketing manager lives in a wooden house build by her grandfather. Recently she decided to replace the outside bardage with new planks. Let’s take a look at the logs that Vaida found behind the bardage and insulation. The first photo shows part of the house, left is already renewed, on the right is the old bardage.
The next photo shows the corners. This is not laminated wood, instead it is simple solid wood. The corners are dovetail corners, handmade, very nice. And as you can see: after 60 years these corners are perfect. Vaida added new insulation and a new bardage and this house will stand for another 60 years.
Between the logs you see dried fern, that’s what they used to stop the drought. Can’t build more eco than that.