Choosing a Stain or Finish for Your Logs

People often come to me, asking what is the longest lasting best performing stain out there? Unfortunately, there is no golden product out there that will “last forever”. I usually answer with, “The best performing stain is a maintained one.” Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.

There are absolutely better performing stains than others. My test logs in the back of our shop are each coated with a different product so that we can measure their deterioration rates and how the finish performs in general. With that understanding, we can begin to determine the value each product offers based on it’s overall durability combined with its ease of application and maintenance. In my years of restoring and maintaining log exteriors I have observed many stains and watched how they withstand the Montana sun and weather. I hate to say it but what I’ve found is that the top performing stains are usually the most expensive. In this case, the adage “You get what you pay for” holds true. Based on each customer’s budget we will  suggest the best stain they can afford. Ultimately it is protecting your home investment and its integrity. These products also look amazing on your logs. An example of a easy product to maintain, is one you can simply wash every year and re-apply a top clear coat with reflective natures. You may only hit the south and west walls every other year or every 3 years to keep ahead. This top coat protects the pigmented stain that ultimately protects your logs.

How we choose our log home stains

In many cases my clients will do their research and find out what stain suits them the best. If they go with my choice I will make my decision based on the structure’s location, it’s surrounding climate, the homeowner’s schedule and lifestyle, as well as their budget. I will look at the home’s design – the eves, overhangs, decks, generation of logs, the building’s orientation to the sun, gutters and other factors. Typically I will choose one of the top contending, brand-name stains. I completely stay away from the low end stains. I absolutely will not put them on any of my projects or associate my name with a cheap product that will underperform and quickly fail. Trust me, if you don’t already know the value in the top products, you don’t want to have to learn it the hard way by applying an inferior product.

Applying the stain or finish for durability

Equally important to the product is the application of it. The applicator’s knowledge of the chemical composition of the product itself, the logs, and structure are all important considerations. The product’s sensitivity to the conditions it is applied in are equally important, and all contribute to how well it will last. Temperature, sun, log moisture content, dry time between coats, application procedure, and application amount are just small parts of ensuring the product lasts and its warranty is enforceable. Any one of these factors can work against you to make the most durable stain fail.

Give us a call or email me and together we can look at some options.