Your logs need to stand up to rain, snow, sun, wind and insects. Regular maintenance is the key, and establishing a routine is the best way to ensure you stay on top of your home’s maintenance needs.

Maintenance projects can be difficult to perform and even more difficult to understand. So how do you protect your investment and get the most out of your log home? And how do you decide which products will work best on your logs in your climate?

Unfortunately, the choices are not cut and dried. There are many important decisions to be made and what’s right for one home may not be right for another.

All homes require a certain amount of maintenance. Log homes are no exception. But maintaining a log home doesn’t have to be more work than with any other home. Log homes do present unique challenges, however, and those challenges will vary from home to home depending on wood species, climate, environment, the home’s design and other variables.

Keeping Moisture At Bay

Most experts agree a log home’s two biggest enemies are sun and water. You simply have to keep them out. This is easier said than done, however, and it’s a job that starts from day one. But protecting your logs from moisture right away will prevent rot and guard against other problems.

So how do you do keep your logs dry? You have to be careful that while protecting them against water you still allow them to breathe. This means using products specifically developed for logs.

Logs move and breathe, and many coatings aren’t flexible enough to handle the strain. The coating can eventually crack and peel, which means you will have to strip the logs and start over. Treating your logs with a preservative that keeps moisture at bay while allowing them to breathe is your best option.

It’s not easy to choose the right product. Always consult with someone in the log maintenance industry to determine what your situation requires. Don’t settle for the cheapest solution you find, however. You get what you pay for.

Blocking Out The Sun

Another major concern is keeping harmful ultraviolet rays from turning your brilliant logs into dull, lifeless wood. Protecting against the sun is more of an aesthetic than structural issue.

But isn’t part of owning a log home being able to take pride in how it looks?

With conventional homes, this problem is solved by applying heavy stains, paints and coatings that completely block out the sun. This isn’t an option with log homes, however, because most log home owners want to maintain the natural beauty of their logs.

Protecting your logs against the sun’s harmful effects is an ongoing process. You have to follow a regular maintenance schedule, which may mean reapplying finishes every two to seven years, depending on the product you’re using and the level of exposure.

Choosing Products, Getting Started

How do you choose what’s best for your home? Though it can be confusing, experts suggest you not make it more difficult than it is.

Do your homework. Check web sites, magazines, even manufacturers, and ask a lot of questions. You may even want to find a home that has been coated with the product you are considering to see how it has withstood the elements.

It’s also important to think in the long-term. Choose a finish that will look good both when you apply it as well as several months and years down the road.

Compatibility is another issue, especially when you’re facing a restoration job. Consider what finishes have already been used on your logs and how they will work with the products you will be applying. Contact the manufacturer of the existing finish and ask them how their products work with others, and what products they would recommend for your maintenance tasks.

After you’ve chosen your finishing products, create a clean surface. If there’s any doubt in your mind that the surface of your logs is dirty or contaminated, strip them and start from scratch. Stain, dirt, mold or mildew on the log surface will be sealed into the wood if you don’t remove them before reapplication.

Staying On Top Of Things

The key to it all is staying on top of maintenance issues. Log home maintenance isn’t a one-time deal. You have to keep up. This doesn’t mean you’ll spend all your time caring for your logs. It just means you have to be conscientious and stay ahead of the game.

Establish a routine and stick with it. Walk around your home as often as possible, at least twice a year, to look for possible trouble spots, then fix them right away.