Maintaining your cabin is a yearly job. Once to twice a year you should go around and inspect your cabin for insect damage, mildew build up, stain deterioration, and failures in the chinking or caulking. If all these areas are ok then you should go ahead and pressure wash your log home from a distance. Start from the top and work your way down. What you are trying to do is remove any dust, dirt or pollen. When this is complete then let it dry for a day or two and then apply a few coats of clear coat with a bug deterrent and mildewceide. All clear coats should be applied with an airless sprayer. Clear coats are designed for layers of protection. The more layers the better off the log home will be.
Blasting is the most effective way to prep the surface of your log home. This is a process that should be left up to a professional. The best way to describe what you are blasting does it to compare it to a sun burn on a human. As you sit in the sun for a long time without sunscreen your skin will burn. And as your skin burns the dead skin on the exterior of your body starts to flake. This is much like the logs on a log home. Many years without proper maintenance and protection will cause the exterior skin of your logs to deteriorate. Staining over a log with the skin on it that has no integrity is just a temporary fix. The proper way to remove the dead skin of your log is to blast the exterior off and bring it down to a new log. There are many advantages to blasting. One is that it removes all of the old stain and it will leave a slight texture to it. This texture opens the pores of your logs and allows for the stain to bond better than if the logs were completely smooth. After several coats of stain are applied the texture will not be as noticeable as before the blasting. And over years of maintenance the more coats applied, the less texture will appear.
We have repaired and restored hundreds of homes, cabins, and other log structures throughout the United States. Logs needing replacement can be matched using the same method and building style and precision as the original building. Sometimes there are problems with the bottom logs due to structural problems. We can assist you with a redesigned foundation to keep these problems from happening again.
When filling checks on your log home you should only fill the checks that are larger than 1/4 inches width. However checks also help your log to release moisture. It is recommended that you fill any checks on the top side of the log, due to any rain running down the wall. Any checks on the underside of the log do not need to be filled. But you can fill these checks if you desire, it is purely aesthetic. It is also recommended that you fill any checks that run into a window or door frame. These are all spots that insect and heat loss can occur.
When restoring a deck it is important to clean the surface. The best way to bring it back to its original beauty is to blast it and remove any old stain, dirt and debris. Blasting the deck will properly prep the surface. It is recommended that you put a solid stain on the deck surface. From experience we have found that a solid stain holds up better to harsh elements and will also need less maintenance. A semitransparent stain will need more maintenance.
Caulk and chink for your log home. Which one is right for you? The rule of thumb is if the gap between log courses is ¾ of inch or less, you should use caulk. If it is larger than ¾ of an inch, you should use chink. These products are designed to withstand the movement of your log home in these applications. Grip Strip backer rod should be used to fill the larger openings. This makes a flat surface and allows the chink to stretch like a rubber band when applied properly. A properly caulked or chinked log home will be much more efficient to heat and cool. Gaps around windows, doors, and between log courses and in the corners can rob your log home of comfort. Improperly installed or failing caulk and chink is also one of the primary causes for log rot and heat loss.
When staining your log home you must make sure that the surface is properly prepped. It must be free of pollen, dirt, and dust. When applying the stain it must be brushed in. It can be applied with an airless sprayer but it is very imperative that you back brush to make sure that you are thoroughly coating the log. The most effective stains on the market for your log home are water born. Water born stains allow for your logs to breath and continue releasing the moisture inside the log. Water born stains are film forming, meaning that the more layers of stain or clear coat the better the protection. In addition, when they are applied correctly they are protecting your cabin in layers. The first couple layers are the color that you choose, however the real protection is in the clear coat. The clear coat is a UV absorber and a water repellent. This is wise to put as many coats of clear on as possible. When applying the clear coat you should apply it with an airless sprayer and back brush any drips. We recommend that you apply 3 to 4 coats of clear coat. It is more cost effective to add a mildewceide and a bug deterrent in the clear coat before applying; it will insure to help prevent mildew from forming it will also prevent bugs from burrowing in your cabin. It is also common for carpenter bees to borough in the kiln on dried parts of your cabin, such as your soffit, and facia.