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Technical Tip by "Angela Vogel"

 
 

Yearly inspection of your log home:

One of the most overlooked steps in maintaining any home is frequent inspection. If you can catch small issues they are much easier to fix! It helps to make a diagram of the home so that you can mark areas of concern. Keep the diagram for next year so that you can revisit these areas. Take pictures that you can show us; it helps us make better suggestions.

  • Are there any logs contacting foliage, organic mulch, or the ground? This includes landscaping that may have grown up against the house or soil grade that has become too close to the sill (bottom) log. Also, keep firewood away from the house!
  • Does the current finish pass an adhesion test? If you don't want to strip off the current finish, you may be able to just recoat. Press a piece of masking tape onto the log ensuring good adhesion. Rip it off like a band-aid. If a lot of stain came off with the tape you should remove the finish before applying anything new. Try this in a few different spots as some areas wear faster than others.
  • Are there any discolored areas? Does it seem to be underneath or on top of the finish? If it's under the finish you will have to decide if you want to remove the finish to get at it.
  • Wash with Log Wash: Is the current finish repelling water? Look at the color. Often times, simply removing dust and dirt reveals that the color is still even and bright.
  • Are there insect holes or frass (nsect debris)? All log homes will have a few insect holes, but most, not all, insects are only interested in wood that has a high moisture content. The best thing to do is to clean out any existing holes and seal them with Check Mate 2 or EnergySeal to prevent moisture from getting in. You will also have an easier time of noticing new ones.
  • Are there any soft, decayed areas? Probe log ends, upward facing checks, under windows, and the lower few courses of logs with something like a screwdriver. Also, try to figure out where all the excess moisture is coming from, then remove sources of moisture.
  • Are there any areas where the sealant is torn or separating from the substrate? Small tears in the chinking are usually very easily repaired by applying more over it and tooling it in.
  • Are there any gaps that have developed due to settling and shrinkage? This is a greater concern on homes that are less than five years old, but regular soil settling and erosion can occur around a home of any age.

Once you know what areas of your home need a little extra attention it is much easier to find a solution. Frequent inspection and cleaning will ensure that your little concerns don't turn into big problems.

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