There are several keys to making your log-home stain last as long as possible. Among them is, first and foremost, to purchase quality stain. But that’s not the only key.

“Today our sealants are stable for 3-5 years and can be touched up more often to lengthen the life of the stain,” says Sean Gahan, senior chemist for Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.

But he explains that the best tip to making your project last is to do your prep work. This includes reading the instructions thoroughly and asking questions of your stain dealer. Sean also recommends investigating the quality of the product you are using. “You really do get what you pay for when buying stain,” Sean adds.

Here’s a checklist of things to do to ensure a long-lasting stain.

  • Clean logs with a chemical wash and then thoroughly rinse it off.  Anything left on the logs will repel the adhesion of the stain.
  • Stain with a high-quality product. The stain contains the pigments and UV protection that the logs need to fend off the effects of the sun.
  • Pay special attention to the log ends. This is where the grain is exposed and is a natural place for moisture and insect infestation to enter the log.
  • Varying woods need varying stains. When it comes to other wood species on the home, such as cedar shakes, the homeowner needs to take their time and test to see what colorations the stains make. They may have to use a different color stain to keep the same overall look. Also, make sure all surfaces are sealed. Water can get behind the shakes and enter the wood through unprotected areas.
  • Follow with a clear coat, just like you would for a car. It will protect you stain job and your logs from the ravages of nature. “It adds durability, longevity, UV protection, color retention, and acts like skin and is your first line of defense against the elements,” says Sean. Stain is not like paint with all the pigments and titanium dioxides that make a long-lasting protection. Stain has fewer pigments and thus needs to be sealed properly and often to hold off the main overhaul that may be needed.
  • Once your stain/seal project is complete, inspect your home twice a year to see if there are areas that need attention. Do a wash each year to get rid of dirt, pollen and other foreign substances that can trap and hold water and degrade the system. Also if dirt is carrying mold/fungus spores and food for the spores to eat, then all that is needed is the heat of the home to complete the triangle and you have new neighbors living on your home and using your logs walls as a future food source. Then look at checks and cracks and determine if they need attention, especially those that are facing up.
  • Apply touch up coats of the clear coat in between full refinishings. This will extend the life of your stain and give a boost of water repellency.

Every home needs maintenance, some more than others, but if you follow the recommendations of the log home and maintenance companies, you should have a normal experience with your wood home.