Log-Home Maintenance Checklist

The key to keeping your logs in tip-top shape is routine inspections. So, schedule some time to walk around your log home, at least every fall and spring, to check up on the condition of your logs. During these inspections, use the following checklist to make sure you’re covering all of the areas of concern.

Mold/Mildew

Possible causes:

______ 1. Sprinklers wetting your logs

______ 2. Gutters leaking (or no gutters at all)

______ 3. Spigots dripping or spraying the logs when the hose is in use

______ 4. Splashback from downspouts

______ 5. High humidity due to your geographic area

______ 6. Greenery too close to the home, holding water in

______ 7. Logs uncoated? (Uncoated logs collect mold and mildew easier)

Solution:

First, adjust or move any hoses or sprinklers that may be wetting your logs on a regular basis. Also, install or repair gutters to keep water from running down your logs. Trim bushes and trees back from the home at least 18 inches. And finally, make sure to periodically clean your logs with appropriate treatments or a power washer.

Fading Stain

Possible causes:

______ 1. UV degradation

Solution:

Clean your logs before applying a new coat of compatible stain. Also, consider more permanent protective measures like incorporating shade trees into your landscape, building porches and opting for wide roof overhangs.

Peeling Stain

Possible causes:

______ 1. Logs weren’t cleaned prior to staining, resulting in peeling stain

______ 2. Water entering checks (or cracks)

Solution:

For this problem, you can either treat each specific area as it occurs, or start from scratch and re-apply a whole new stain. If you see checks, look to see if they’re large enough to be filled with caulk, which will seal them and keep water from seeping under the protective coating.

Chinking/Caulking Pulling Away

Possible causes:

______ 1. Applied to an incompatible stain surface

______ 2. Logs not cleaned prior to application

______ 3. Not tooled properly

______ 4. High percentage of log shrinkage/movement

______ 5. No backer rod or bond breaker installed

Solution:

Remove the chinking where it’s no longer adhering to the logs, clean the logs, and reapply new chinking. If no bond breaker was installed during the first application, install backer rod prior to applying the chinking, which will help with adhesion in the future and keep the chinking/caulking from tearing.

Insects

Possible causes:

______ 1. The cause depends on the type of insect you’re dealing with, as some are nesting and some are feeding on your wood.

Solution:

Feeding insects (carpenter ants, termites, post powder beetles) can be treated with borate products if there is no coating on the logs. Insecticide additives can be used to help ward off nesting insects.

log maintenance, treatment

3 Comments

  1. Al McCoubrey January 4, 2008 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    We had a bat infestation under our porch resulting in staining of the logs. What is the best way to clean the logs.

  2. Katy Richter August 17, 2015 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    We are considering buying a log home and noticed something like sap dripping from all the knot holes. This is mostly in the back in a wide area with a lot of sun exposure. What would be involved in mitigating this problem? Is it a problem? And is it costly?

  3. Bob Pautz August 29, 2015 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    We have a log home in Northern Wisconsin for about 9 years. I always treated it for the first 5 years and the only
    problem we have now is UV rays on the east and west side only. Where the sun rises and sets (east and west).
    On those 2 sides we have certain logs that are turning black, and others that are peeling and when I sand they
    turn gray and look and feel dry.
    What do I do in this situation and how can I resolve?? I tried a Stain & Sealant product and when I went over a small area it turned black and the black stayed black or got blacker..

    I need help to know what to do to make it look like the original north and south where no sun hits it..

    Bob P. Wisconsin

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