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Ask the Expert: How Do I Extend the Life of My Log Home's Stain?

From the experts at Perma-Chink Systems, Inc., here’s how innovative maintenance materials can extend the beauty and durability of your home’s logs.


Photo: Courtesy Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.

One of the most common questions from prospective log home buyers is: "I love a log home, but isn't the maintenance demanding?" It's misconception, but understandable: Conventional oil-based stains and film-forming stains used on log homes of yesteryear did demand a lot of upkeep. But today's options for stains and clear coats prove just how far the science has come. Now, stains last much longer — and so do your logs. Here's how you can make sure you're getting the most out of your log home maintenance.  

It Starts with the Right Stain

Stain does much more than enhance the beauty of a log home. It protects the logs from water damage, insects, and ultraviolet (UV) exposure. A good stain works with the logs, not against them. 
Wood is an organic material, expanding and contracting with daily and seasonal fluctuations of hot and cold weather. With a film-forming stain, it's important to choose one that is flexible and can move with the log without cracking. 
Wood also holds moisture, and micro-fissures invite more moisture into the log. This trapped moisture makes logs vulnerable to insects and mold, both of which cause deterioration. Therefore, any strain applied must also be breathable in order to allow any moisture inside to escape. 
Perma-Chink's Lifeline stain series is both flexible and breathable. It also comes in an array of semi-transparent colors. Most of Lifeline's stain colors have a pigment load for protection, but the nano particles are so fine, the grain of the wood remains the star of the show.

Photo: Courtesy Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.

Products That Preserve

On its own, a stain will only last a couple of years, perhaps a little longer if it's protected from the elements and the sun by the home's architecture. Because stain plays a critical role in protecting the longevity of the logs, it's essential to re-stain when it begins to fade, an indicator that its protective qualities are compromised. 
However, a clear coat on top of the stain stretches the amount of time between staining. Applying Perma-Chink's Lifeline Advance as a top clear coat can extend the life of the stain for up to 9-10 years before the stain needs to be re-applied, depending on the exposure. (South- or west-facing walls receive the full force of the sun and elements, while north-facing walls and those under eaves are much more protected.)

Photo: Courtesy Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.


Lifeline Advance works much like the SPF protection you use on your own skin. In this case, instead of protecting your skin from harmful rays, it dramatically slows the amount of time UV rays break a stain down. Additionally, this top clear coat enhances the stain with a rich luster, imparting a gloss or satin finish. 
To add further protection to your logs, you may want to consider a stain formulated for the cut ends of logs. These ends are usually at the corners of a log home exterior or on top of the fence or deck railing posts. Cut ends essentially expose a tree's vascular system, which is designed to wick water. Think of cut ends as a bundle of tiny straws. A product like Log End Seal provides a clear finish that works like a thick clear topcoat, keeping water from penetrating the log or post.

Annual Check-Up

Another important step in extending the life of your stain is to wash your log home once each year with a product like Log Wash, preferably right after pollen season. Washing your home gives you a chance to inspect it and look for indicators that either the stain or finish need to be re-applied.


Preserve and Protect

You love your log home. Shouldn't it love you back without demanding a schedule of maintenance upkeep? Perma-Chink's specially formulated line of stains, finishes, and sealants ensures that your home is one that is made for more living, less working and gorgeous beauty all the time!

Photo: Courtesy Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.

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