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Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:17

Get Your Log Home or Cabin Ready for Winter


Technical Tip:

Winterize your log home.

Most people are accustomed to spring cleaning, but if you are a home owner, you know that your house needs attention year-round. Fall maintenance is much like spring house-cleaning, but more preventative and less “cleaning. And its much easier to do it now rather than wait till the weather turns nasty.

Fall means leaves and plenty of them. You will certainly need to clean out your gutters. A word of caution: most of the automatic guard systems only screen out large leaves while allowing gunk and small sediment to accumulate. You still will have to routinely clean the nasty rotting gunk out of your gutters! So an alternative is to have your roofer regularly come and clean your gutters every fall. You should make sure that the drainage area around the downspout is functioning properly as well. The roof area should also be checked for any leaks around the flashing at the chimney and around the vents for the heating or sewer system.

While inspecting the roof area its important to check for any holes or access spots where squirrels, raccoons or bats can enter your home and make themselves a vacation home for the winter. Clear away all debris from around the foundation of the house.

Caulking around all exterior areas is a must. You probably won't find but a few areas where the caulk needs replacing, and its not a big job to replace old caulking with a fresh bead where needed. Weather stripping also should be examined and replaced if you find any that is curled or coming loose. Neither the caulking nor weather stripping replacement is a heavy job. It just takes some care and close examination. This can usually be done in a day for a moderate-sized home.

Your exterior walls should get a good cleaning. In addition to making your home look great, a wash-down with Log Wash will get rid of the dust, dirt and grime. Freezing weather is especially hard on log exteriors and a little bit of upkeep now may prevent costly repairs next spring.

Once your walls are clean, go around your home looking for signs of worn stain and failing sealant. If the stain looks faded or dingily, you should consider applying another coat of Lifeline stain and Lifeline Advance topcoat. Don't forget, the topcoat is an integral part of the system and will help protect your home and extend the life of your stain.

While you are at it look for any new checks that may have opened up, especially on the top half of round logs where water can enter. Our Check Mate 2 comes in a variety of colors and is the perfect solution for closing up those potentially damaging checks.

Properly sealed joints and gaps go a long way in preventing cold drafts during the winter months. In these days of rapidly rising fuel prices it is important to keep cold air from entering your home. Energy Seal is specifically designed for this purpose. Pay special attention to places where wood meets masonry. Reseal with Energy Seal. In addition to saving you money on heating bills, it will help to keep your home warm and comfortable.

Many log home owners have fireplaces or wood stoves that they use to create an attractive atmosphere or as a source of heat. Typically fall is the time of year that most people build their inventory of firewood to carry them though the winter. Here are a few things to keep in mind when storing firewood: Never store firewood on your porch or deck or next to your home. One thing is for certain, along with the firewood comes a whole community of insect pests. Although some like wood roaches, pill bugs, centipedes and ground beetles are harmless, infestations of wood boring beetles, termites and frequently carpenter ants can start from stored firewood piles.

Store your firewood at least two feet away from the side of your home and keep it off of the ground. This helps keep the firewood dry and allows air to circulate throughout the wood pile. When you bring firewood inside, only bring in as much as you plan to burn in a day. Firewood stored by the fireplace may look attractive but once the logs warm up and the bugs start to emerge, you may think otherwise.

Preparing your home for winter in the fall can make life so much easier for you in the cold, dark winter weeks ahead. You'll rest easier knowing that you won't have to fight the elements when the inevitable emergency or problem crops up, as it always does. You can sit back in front of your fireplace with your family and enjoy those cold months secure in your well-protected home!

Log homes and autumn leaves seem to go together. Enjoy the season and don't hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions about maintaining your log home.

Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.

East: 1-800-548-3554
West: 1-800-548-1231

Published in Maintaining Log Homes
Monday, 25 October 2010 17:26

Are Log Homes Energy Efficient?


Here is one of the most misunderstood questions concerning Log Homes, energy efficiency.

Log Home companies boast that their homes are the MOST energy efficient, and many owners claim that Log Homes are more energy efficient, but where's the proof you need?

Well, back in the 70's, some state building codes added energy requirements calculated in "R" -values. This was a measurement used to calculate the rate of static thermal resistance, NOT heat storage, or rate of heat loss. Log home producers objected to this, and sought recognition of Thermal mass, whereby solid-wood wall logs heated by the sun retain that heat as the outside temperature falls, then radiates heat back inside the home, requiring less heating energy use.

The National Bureau of Standards and Technology erected test buildings and recorded their energy consumption, their findings were amazing. I found that over a 3 week spring heating period, log building used 46% less energy than the same sized insulated wood-frame building; during the 11 week summer period, the log building used 24% less cooling energy than the insulated wood frame building; and during the 14 week winter period; the log building used 15% less than the insulated wood-frame building.

Minnesota Department of Public Services and the National Association of Log Builders National Research Center at a study in Minnesota, measured air leakage of 23 log homes. It concluded that the worst leakage's were not log related but instead, they were at Cathedral ceilings, windows and door frames and the tops of the walls.

Many more tests have taken place by many institutes and the conclusion...... " Log Mass is a significant benefit" to home construction.

But..... no home , no matter the type of construction, is energy efficient if poor construction methods are used.

Ask them if they are happy with their home and what their heating bill is like.

The preceding article was written by "Thomas Laidlaw" a loghome builder.


Comment by
Martin Lee Turnbull
We moved into a lovely log home at an altitude of 8200 feet in the early fall of 2002 near Steamboat Springs Colorado. Much to my surprise the exterior of the home, which looked good, had not been maintained in 10 years. In the first months of fall and early winter we discovered serious air leakage. All the logs were plumb and the home was solid. The doors and windows were square. No leakage there. Over the years of settling the foam between the logs had absorbed wind blown sand and was naturally grown down. The walls leaked. I chinked the interior walls on two levels and stopped 90% of all airflow. The exterior walls were chinked in the summer.
In the middle of first winter we would see snow drifts behind our home 6-8 feet high. On cold days the average temperature was 8 degrees with the nights dropping to -10 degrees.
Note... This 2700 sf home was heated by one propane heater with a maximum output of 33000 BTU. Once the logs were warm the heater the heater easily maintained the set temperature of 69 degrees. If we had guests the heater was turned up to 72 degrees to accomodate their needs.
Heat does rise. The upper level of our home was always warm and toasty. The lower lever was comfortable to us. On extremely cold days we used a ceiling paddle fan in the loft to push warm air down.
There are no airpockets in the walls of log homes. Once the cells in the logs are warm the home stays warm. My personal opinion is that there is no way a conventional home will ever be as warm and inviting as a log home. I know, I have lived in both. We shall have a log home again in the near future.
Yes Tom, our heating bill started high but soon dropped to $750 - $800 per year.
Be of good cheer.