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Thursday, 25 August 2011 17:15

Annual Log Home Inspection


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. is accepting log home maintenance articles from subscribers and log home owners. Contact us for details.

Published in Maintaining Log Homes
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