Wood finishes should be doing quite a bit these days. They determine the color of the home and protect the wood’s surface from conditions like moisture and high altitude sunlight. The finish needs to protect the wood from U.V. rays, repel moisture, and breathe so that if moisture does enter, it can escape.
There is a common misconception that if you see stain on wood it is doing something. This is not true. Most of the time you can see the color or tint but with a closer look that is all it is. If I were to spray water on these homes they would soak up the water, rather than repel it as they should. If water is constantly entering your wood or logs and evaporating out you will get cracks (checking) that will begin to snowball away from you. Each crack in the log allows more water in and ultimately you end up with mold, rot or dry rot.
A proper finish will have enough pigment to block U.V. rays and be repellent of moisture. A simple spray bottle test will determine this. If your stain is allowing water in it is failing. Next, you need to give it the scratch test. Take a coin or your fingernail and give it a good scrape. I can almost guarantee you that if the stain isn’t repelling water, then it will flake right off too. At this point you’re best off stripping the old stain or finish entirely. It is a waste of time, effort and money to stain over a failing product like this.
Don’t be fooled by your stain. Make sure it is working for you and for your home.