Log home owners often talk about how much work log homes are to keep up. My answer to this is, it doesn’t have to be. When a log home is set up properly it should be fairly simple. You also have options. We offer a maintenance service and I encourage people to utilize it. If not, and you want to do it yourself, I ask that you actually do it. My process of annual maintenance goes as follows.
Typically I will take a walk around a home and look for new checking, bird nests, excessive dirt build up, or drastic changes in the finish, and try to determine the source. Often it’s due to snow build up, missing sections of rain gutter, upward facing checks, or other obvious causes.
Cleaning the Logs
Next I will log wash the entire exterior. We start by wetting down a section of the logs, then applying log detergent to lift any dust, dirt, pollen, and debris. Within 15 minutes (or before it dries) I will rinse it off from top to bottom with a fanned pressure washer tip or simply a garden hose with a spray tip. Do this as many times as needed. If there is a significant build up of dirt or debris you may have to use a soft bristle brush and scrub the area.
Be careful to not scrub so hard that you affect the top coat of the stain. A log wash is important to clean off the dirt, pollen, and debris that may be dulling the finish. You need the stain or top coat to be clean so it can utilize its reflective natures (reflecting sun) to its fullest. Also, I want to keep the pores of the stain clean. Stains need to breath in order to release moisture when it enters the wood. This step will significantly extend the life and enhance the performance of your stain.
Touch up the Finish
Depending on how the finish is holding up, I will apply top coats or additional stain to the areas where it is starting to show some dulling or breakdown of the finish. Typically this will be the south and west sides, due to the sun, but not in every case. I will find areas of logs that are protected by eves or soffit and compare. If they are different in sheen or pigment I will add stain or top coat to these areas. I like to keep way ahead of allowing the sun to break down the stain.
Final Touch Ups
After my initial inspection I will fix any areas requiring additional attention. Pay special attention to filling in any new cracks or checks that are upward facing because these encourage water to more easily enter the logs.
Annual log home maintenance doesn’t have to be a pain. In many cases you will only be washing your exterior. Washing the home 2 times a year is easy to do and offers additional protection. On average you can perform annual maintenance on a house in anywhere from 3 hours to a full 8 hour day.
Take care of your home, its finish and sealants. Your result will be a beautiful looking exterior that looks maintained and cared for. These simple tips will hep you protect your investment and home from the elements.