Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Kullfallet, Construction 

Making the walls look nice

Is there anything more depressing about a house than rotten moldy walls? It is as if the house fails in its primary function to provide shelter. The Kullfallet walls were in dire need to be replaced.

But the wall boards sit on a timber frame, which first has to be inspected and fixed. If taken well care of, a timber house like this can last for centuries. But given a chance it will deteriorate quickly by moisture and vermin like ants and rats.

It was with some anxiety I removed the exterior boards, to find out what trouble was hiding beneath.

Luckily for me, most logs were perfectly fine, a few with just a bit of surface damage. 

The logs were insulated with moss, as can be seen in the closeup below.

But some areas had real problems and had to be replaced. The below part was removed with a chain saw. Then I bolted together three pieces of 45x170 mm studs, and forced them into the hole with a sledge hammer for a tight fit.

A rotten sill proved to be a difficult problem. I used a 20 ton jack to lift the house while I removed the sill with the chain saw. With all hidden nails in the logs, and plenty of rocks close by, the chain had to be sharpened many times and was essentially used up in the process.

Ants can do a lot of damage to a log house, and this was very evident as I got the pieces of the sill removed.

I mounted horizontal 45x95 mm studs to the timber frame to give space for some exterior insulation. This proved tricky because of how uneven the house is in all of its dimensions.  Below you can also see the replaced sill log resting on new sill paper, and the new window frames for a bit smaller windows, 100x100 cm and 50x50 cm.

Then it was time to fit the fiberglass insulation and protection paper.

I screwed strips of wood to the studs to create some space that makes it easier for the exterior boards to dry up during really wet weather. Then I carefully positioned the boards to make it look nice around corners and windows.

I mounted the new windows and the rest of the boards, and it looks pretty nice! At a later time I will cut the boards near the ground, and paint the window frames white. 

This was one wall, three more to go. This is the traditional board and batten method to cover a wall, still used for many houses in Sweden.

I took a break and walked to the bog on my property to find a lot of cloudberry flowers. Looking forward to make some jam out of all those berries.

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