Log homes require regular maintenance to keep them looking great. That includes cleaning, staining, and chinking.
It also requires regular inspection by trained professionals. The inspection should cover things like caulking and chinking, rot damage (and how deep it goes), air leakage, mold, or mildew.
Stain removal involves blasting the wood with crushed glass or other media to clean off the existing finish and bring the wood back to bare wood. This is a critical step in any log home restoration project. The professionals at Richardson Log Homes LLC can help with this type of work.
The preparation phase of log home restoration involves cleaning the logs and removing the old finish. Depending on the condition of the stain and finish, this could involve chemical stripping or power washing. Once the old stain is removed it is important to inspect and clean any areas of rot or wood damage. This is also the best time to make repairs, replace any rotten or damaged logs and chink any holes or cracks.
The most common type of log damage that requires a full restoration is rot. If left unchecked rot will destroy the integrity of your logs. In some cases, the best solution is to completely remove the rotten log and replace it with a half log. This is generally the most cost-effective and long-lasting solution.
If the rot is limited to surface areas, oftentimes, it can be repaired by chiseling out the affected area and applying a quality log preservative. This will keep moisture from entering the logs and causing damage.
Moisture is the biggest enemy of wood, and without the ability to air out, it will quickly degrade and deteriorate. It is important to have a professional inspector do a thorough inspection of your log home to determine how much moisture damage has occurred and whether the damaged logs can be repaired or need to be replaced.
If your logs have been stained with a water-based product that has failed, media blasting is the most effective way to remove the existing finish and restore the wood to its original state. We use a blaster that uses recycled crushed glass instead of sand for this process because it is less messy, more environmentally friendly, and does not impregnate the wood with organic materials that can later mold or rot.
After the surface is bare, it will be cleaned to ensure that any remaining mildew and dirt are removed. We will rinse and dry the entire wall before it is ready for chinking or caulking. Once the chinking or caulking is done, the walls will need 3-6 days to fully cure before the next coat of stain can be applied.
Log homes are different in many ways from conventional home structures and require a special inspection approach. Home inspectors who go into this unique type of home without a comprehensive understanding of the differences may find themselves in a position where they have to perform repairs that could have been prevented if they had had a better grasp on what makes log homes tick.
One of the biggest problems for log homes is water damage and rot. This is a huge concern because wood is extremely porous. The good news is that if the rot is limited to surface areas and does not penetrate the core, the log can often be repaired by chiseling out the rot, treating it with a quality wood preservative, and then staining it with a new stain. This is a job for the homeowner or can be performed by a professional who has experience with log home restoration.
In addition to rotting, logs can also be damaged by insects and other pests. This is why it is important to have a plan in place for protecting the exterior of the home from these invaders. This plan should include regular cleaning and treatment of the exterior with a high-quality wood preservative. It should also address the use of insecticides around the exterior of the home.
Another common problem that can affect log homes is settling. This is typically a result of improper construction methods and moisture intrusion. The best way to protect against this is to have a qualified home inspector do a pre-purchase inspection. This will allow the homeowner to negotiate with the seller on items that need to be addressed before moving into the home.
In general, when inspecting a log home, it is a good idea to make a diagram of the home and note any potential issues that need attention. This will help the homeowner keep track of what needs to be done and will allow them to make a list of priorities. Inspecting the corners of a log home is also important because this is where rot and other issues commonly develop. Other important things to check for are clogged gutters and downspouts, which can cause moisture to build up on the outside of the log walls and cause additional deterioration.
The repair phase includes processes like caulking, chinking, and applying borate preservatives to log surfaces. This is also the time to re-stain the exterior of the home if needed. Generally, a full stain should be applied every three to five years to protect the wood from water damage and insect infestations, such as termites.
A professional can determine whether a simple re-stain is all that is required or if the house needs a full refinishing job. Refinishing is more labor-intensive than re-staining and takes longer, but produces amazing results. It is important to understand the difference between these two services before requesting a quote from a contractor.
To begin the process, a professional log home expert will inspect the house to locate problem areas. This inspection will include checking for rot, identifying insect infestations, and assessing the level of wood damage caused by the elements. The inspection will also look at the chinking and caulking to ensure they are in good condition.
If the level of wood damage is significant and reaches into the interior of the log, it will often need to be replaced. This may involve cutting away the damaged section of the log and putting in a new face, similar to half-log siding.
After repairing the rotted logs, professionals recommend an in-depth cleaning of the exterior surface. This will help remove dirt, pollen, mildew, and spider webs. It will also help remove the “mill glaze” that develops on new logs from the manufacturing process and can lead to premature stain failure.
Then the professionals will prepare the logs for refinishing. Depending on the level of finish and staining that is needed, this can be accomplished with either sanding, media blasting, or chemical strippers. If the refinishing is going to be extensive, he says she advises clients to get quotes from several contractors so they can find the zone that costs for their particular house should fall in.
If there is an existing coating on the logs that will need to be removed, a professional can use an organic solvent to strip the existing finish from the logs and allow for refinishing. Another option is media blasting, which is a dry method that uses a mixture of compressed air and a corn cob medium to clean the logs down to bare wood. This is a much faster, safer, and more effective way to strip the logs than traditional sanding methods.
The finishing phase of log home restoration includes staining and chinking. Logs need to be sealed and re-chinked to keep water, insects, dirt, and pollutants out of the wood. Without proper care, the wood can become brittle, causing rot and mold, which leads to costly repairs. Keeping the logs properly stained and sealed with a quality product will extend its lifespan. Routine inspections can catch problems before they get out of hand.
A good inspection will determine whether any damaged logs need to be replaced. Often, logs with moisture damage that is limited to the surface can be repaired with chiseling and a quality wood preservative. This may be a cheaper option than replacing the log, which can be quite costly.
If you notice mold growth on the logs or if the sealant is flaking, it’s time to re-stain your cabin. The sealant will help the logs repel moisture, preventing mold and mildew from forming in the wood, and preserving its structure.
Adding a new coat of stain will also protect against UV rays that can dry out and degrade the wood. The stain will also help prevent bugs and pests from damaging your cabin, preventing them from breeding in damp, dark areas.
When it comes to refinishing your log cabin, a professional will help you select the best products for your needs. They will consider the amount of sun exposure your logs receive and how much staining you’ve done in the past. A stain that’s too light will allow the wood to dry out and will need to be re-stained more frequently, while a stain that’s too heavy will lead to excessive bleeding in knot holes.
A professional will also help you decide if your home requires caulking or chinking. Caulking will repair gaps in the seams between your logs while chinking provides an all-important barrier against wind, rain, and pests from entering your log cabin. Both caulking and chinking will need to be cured for several days before the second coat of stain can be applied.