We've outlined a variety of key points that can be a part of any log home maintenance program.
- Conduct an inspection your log homes exterior 2-3 times per year.
- Create a record of your maintenance activities. Include the date and findings of inspections, record the type of maintenance work done and the location or area of the home, note areas of potential concern and document the overall condition of the stain finish of each side or area of the home.
- Take photos or video for reference, especially those areas that are of concern or might need re-coating more frequently.
- Keep a record of the finish stain brand, date of application, contractor info, stain color, costs, caulk color/brand and other products that you use on your log home.
- Inspect the logs for checks that face towards the sky or any check that tends to hold water. A great time to inspect your logs is after a good rain. Fill those checks with a quality high performance caulk specifically made for log homes. For large (wide and deep) checks use a backer rod then apply the caulk.
- Closely inspect log butt joints, corners (inside and outside) and between log courses. Make sure any voids or gaps are caulked. Check existing caulk and inspect for loss of adhesion and re-caulk as necessary. Pay special attention to the corners of your log home that are prone to water leaks and the potential for rot damage can occur. Make sure all voids and joints around the circumference of each log is caulked.
- If you log home has chinking, inspect for cracking or loss of adhesion and re-chink as necessary.
- Check window and doors by inspecting the flashing above and sill below (if you have a wood sill) to insure that it's secure and caulked properly. Also check the caulk around the window and door trim and re-caulk as necessary.
- Inspect the joint(s) between the log siding and full logs such as on gables ends or the log siding covering the bond. Caulk by filling any gaps.
- Check the logs on the side walls of dormers and make sure they do not contact the roof shingles. The logs should be above the roof line (shingles) so water can run past without touching. Check to make sure debris such as twigs or leaves are not collecting in this area that can wick moisture up into the log ends.
- If you have an underground water sprinkler system, make sure water is not being sprayed on your log walls.
- Check log penetrations where pipes, vents, electrical outlets, fixtures, etc. have been drilled through the logs. Look for gaps and caulk closed.
- Check gutters and downspouts for water leaks when it rains. If you find leaks, repair them immediately. Keep gutters and downspouts clean and free from debris, so overflow doesn't occur which can spill water onto your log walls or create splash-up. Make sure water from downspouts is moving water away from your log home and no splash up is occurring.
- Inspect logs closely. Look for discolored logs which could be a sign of finish stain failure or mold growth. Use cleaning solution recommended by the stain manufacturer to remove mold or mildew growth and follow the directions exactly. Also look for cracks or peeling of the stain finish which is a sign of finish stain failure.
- Look for signs of insect damage which can be small holes with wood powder near them. If you find them, there are several chemical and organic treatments on the market.
- Clean your logs a couple of times per year using the stain manufactures recommend cleaning solution and follow the manufacture directions exactly (note: re-read the stain manufacturers warranty). Some areas of your log home will require more frequent cleaning, such as near foundations, porches or decks, dormers or anywhere back splash may occur.
- Keep plantings, shrubs and trees away from your logs (at least 24 inches) that could potentially introduce insects and moisture to the logs.
- Keep a close eye on the first couple of log rows which are the most vulnerable to water splash-up and subsequent rot and/or mold/mildew.
- Evaluate how well your finish is holding up to the UV (ultra violet light) exposure. Compare the sides of your home that have the most sun exposure to the ones that don’t. UV degrades the finishes ability to protect your logs. The sides of your log home that receive the most UV will fade more quickly and will need to be re-coated more often.
- Based on your conditions you may have to apply a maintenance coat (several brands offer a clear finish that can be applied over your existing stain to extend the life of the finish, check with your original stain brand for product availability) every 3-7 years depending on the condition. However, if you've been diligent with a proactive maintenance program you may even extend that period of time. The key is to apply a maintenance coat before it actually needs it. How do you know when it’s time? When water droplets no longer bead-up, it’s time. Always use the same finish stain product as the initial application, follow the manufactures instructions and warranty guidelines and hire an experience applicator.
By The Leelanau Log Home Company LLC
Copyright 2012 Under the Influence of Wood Blog