Three Ways to Keep up on Log Home Maintenance
You've invested so much in your log home, both emotionally and financially. Chances are, your home is the largest financial endeavor you will have made in your lifetime; and because of that, you’ll want to make sure your oasis, away from the stressors of the world, remains in tip-top shape year after year. Log homes, like any other style of home, require their own type of maintenance regime so that little problems don’t develop into major headaches. There are any number of things you can do to keep your log home as ‘healthy’ as possible; and here are three things to look for when doing log home maintenance.
1. Moisture & Debris Issues
Twice a year—once in early spring and once in the fall--examine your rain gutters and clean out any debris. This will keep the logs from deteriorating due to excess moisture that is sure to be present with a clogged gutter system that allows water to drip where it shouldn’t be dripping, causing logs to catch water run-off, leading to rot issues.
Your roof should get a visual exam while you are checking your gutters. Moss and lichens can accumulate on the roof which will rot the wood, also. Washing the growth away with a power washer, on a low setting, works very well.
If you see any leaves, pine needles, dust, pollen, bird or insect waste, spider webs or other debris that has accumulated on lower-level logs, washing the rubbish away with a good-quality log-wash is just one more way to keep rot at bay! Washing would be the better option than just brushing the debris away since brushing won’t be able to reach the tiniest of crevices.
And speaking of logs, any log-ends that extend past the roof line are vulnerable to rot, as well; and they should be cut back to keep them less exposed to the elements. Check your sprinkler system while the water is turned on and examine the logs to make sure none of them are receiving any of the spray.
Excess moisture is enemy #1 for logs—keeping them as dry as possible is crucial. Darkening areas on logs may, very well, indicate log-decay due to moisture accumulation, over time. You should wash your log home once a year, anyway, and that’s a good time to search for any darkening of the wood that might not be as apparent before a washing takes place.
Sanding, re-staining and re-finishing will need to take the decay’s place. In some cases you can use wood repair epoxy for permanent repairs of rotted wood. You mix it, mold it like children’s play-dough; and when it hardens, you carve it and sand it as if it were actual wood. It’s adhesion is impressive and is designed to flex and move with the wood.
2. Failing Caulking
Every spring, do a thorough inspection of all chinking and caulking. Be on the look-out for pinholes, tears and cracks which will all serve as effective entry points for moisture to travel beneath the logs’ finish. Fungal and mold is one headache you don’t want to have to deal with. When moisture finds its way behind caulking and finishes, it will actually lift from the surface of the wood since moisture prevents proper adhesion. If silicone caulking has been used anywhere in your home, have it removed for several reasons: 1) it does not adhere well to wood 2) poor adhesion will result in eventual peeling, leaving logs vulnerable to moisture and 3) it does not accept stain.
3. Stressed Finishes
A yearly exam of your stain, especially on the outside, is extremely important. If you notice any flaking (gray or black stains) or peeling, be sure to sand, clean and recoat the areas of concern. If your logs’ surface appears noticeably dull, then it might be a good time to apply a new coat of stain and topcoat. If you splash a small amount of water onto a dulled section of log and the water immediately runs off, then your logs still have enough water repellency.
And though a new coat of stain may not be necessary, a new top-coat should be applied to keep the water-proofing working optimally. These suggestions have only covered some of the basics, but by subscribing to a regularly–addressed maintenance program, you can save yourself thousands of dollars that would, otherwise, go towards more intense repairs. As the old adage goes: A stitch in time saves nine. Performing the necessary maintenance steps regularly will, most definitely, prevent more costly and time - consuming issues later on.