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Your Guide to Log Home Living

These 6 simple preventative measures can protect against more expensive maintenance needs down the road



The adventurous spirit that helped many of our ancestors forge a new world is still alive in those who live in log homes in the Rocky Mountain West. That same boldness inspires so many of us to reach for something better, something that enables us to have a different way of expressing our individuality. And while designing a log home in the mountains is the quintessential “pioneer way”—so, too, is knowing how to keep it in good shape. 

Your plan for the log home of your dreams should not overlook planning for scheduled upkeep. Maintenance should not be viewed as a chore or just an expense; it should be considered as an investment in your homes’ longevity and value. Log homes will appreciate in value if they’re properly cared for.

If you are new to log home living, then you may be new to the care and feeding of a log home and have some questions or reservations as to how this should be done. 

As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and the same rings true for log home preservation. With a little planning and timely execution, it is not as difficult as it may seem. 

Here are six simple and small preventative measures you can take to protect against more expensive maintenance needs down the road.

1. Keep an eye on the sunny side.

A walk around your home at least twice a year will help you become acquainted with your home and the condition of the sealants and finishes. If you do see something, get up-close-and-personal to see what is happening. Pay close attention to the south and west sides of your home; these are the areas that typically catch most of the sun and its ultraviolet rays, which will cause those areas of your home to show the quickest signs of needing maintenance. Many folks are under the impression that you always have to re-stain the entire home when in fact all you may need is a touch-up on the weathered side. 

2. Pay attention to the sealing system.

Notice the sealing system, especially around doors and windows. Checking and fissure development is a naturally occurring process in large timbers; make note of any checks that face upward to catch water and hold moisture, which may cause problems. Make special note of any that run behind door and window trim that may allow moisture to work its way to the interior. Also, look for any telltale signs that your stain or finish is beginning to need attention; fading, peeling, or dark areas under the finish are good indicators that mean it is time for a maintenance coat.

3. Give it a good wash.

Plan on washing your home at least once a year to remove all pollen, dirt and other airborne pollutants that may have settled on the surface—and no, it does not always mean that you have to pressure-wash your home. The use of a mild detergent and a garden hose will remove most unwanted contaminants without hurting your home’s finish. Contrary to popular belief, bleach is not a cleaner and should not be used, as it is dangerous and also harmful for the environment and the wood on your home.

4. Keep it trim.

Any landscaping, such as shrubs, bushes and vines, should be trimmed back so as not to interfere with air circulation on your walls. The walls should be allowed to have good circulation. Over time, landscaping that is touching the home can scuff the finish and provide too much moisture to remain on the surface.

5. Seal the deal.

Remember those upward facing checks mentioned earlier? Those should be filled with the proper sealant that is designed for that purpose—and make sure to follow the directions provided to achieve success. Again, any sealant that needs replacing or repairing should be done at the same time, as well.

6. Take heed of pests.

While you are doing your walk-around, look for any evidence of insect activity that could be the start of some unpleasant results. Sawdust or “frass” may be left from the activity of powder post beetles. Look for any signs of termite tunnels that lead from the ground up to the base log or lower plate. Take the proper action to eradicate these types of pests by calling the local pest control guy to help you with removal and prevention. Carpenter ants are pesky insects that do not actually eat the wood for food purposes, but they do damage by creating nesting areas in and around the home. Keeping your finish in good shape to prevent moisture accumulation will help to deter these pests, and all insects need water to survive.  Store firewood away from the house as it is a haven for insects.

Tony Huddleston is the Vice President of Sales and Operations at Perma-Chink Systemsthe largest manufacturer of log home chinking and sealants. View their profile or contact Tony at tony@permachink.com.

Content for this article provided by Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.

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