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On Your Own

Rich Moen dreamed of a log home since he was a child. As an adult, he built his dream home in Goshen, New Hampshire, from scratch. It didn’t hurt that Rich had the dedicated help of his parents in building the 2,300-square-foot home. Although he hired a professional crew to build the roof system and install the windows and doors, Rich saved thousands of dollars by investing his own time and energy, and grew closer to his parents in the process.

If you’re thinking about doing some projects yourself, keep your abilities and time constraints in mind. A few projects you might consider are log finishing, chinking, tiling and painting.


Exterior Log Finish

With any type of finishing project, the experts recommend following the product application instructions to the letter for the best possible results. Start your exterior work with a borate treatment for the logs. Next, take a few readings to make sure the wood temperature is at least 50 degrees. Remember, the air temperature may be above 50 degrees, but the logs could be cooler. Hold off on finishing your logs until they’ve dried to a moisture content of 18 percent or lower.  Also, after finishing you’ll want a minimum of two days without rain, because rain will destroy the finish.



This job requires a degree of skill, so you may want to leave it to a professional. If you decide you want to give chinking a try, take time to perfect your technique, and tackle the job in warmer weather (chinking tends to stiffen when the weather or the product itself is cold). Be sure the chinking product you choose is compatible with your wood finish, regardless of whether the finish will be applied before the chinking is in place or after.


Interior Log Finish

One key to success for the do-it-yourselfer who wants to finish the interior of a log home is timing: Apply finish before the windows and floors go in. Again, you’ll need to be sure the wood temperature is at least 50 degrees and that you’ve read and understand the application instructions. Always wait the recommended time between coats.



Installing tile can be an excellent do-it-yourself project, if you take your time. If you have little or no experience, start by tackling a floor tile project first. Floors are often easier to keep straight, and you can hide things, like bad cuts, under the baseboards. Preparation is the key to a good tile job. Make sure that whatever material the tile will sit on is perfectly flat. Plan out the tile placement well to make sure you have the fewest cut tiles as possible. Cleanup is important, too. Grout and grout haze must be thoroughly removed from the finished tiles before the grout becomes too hard.



If you’re painting new interior walls, be sure that all drywall compound is thoroughly dry before painting.  New walls should be sanded smooth and any dust should then be removed before paint is applied.


Story by Janice Brewster