Learn How to Seal Checks in Logs

Article content courtesy Perma-Chink Systems, LLC

It is virtually impossible to prevent logs from developing cracks and checks as they age and dry. That’s because as a large piece of wood seasons, mechanical stresses build up until the surface stress becomes so great that the wood cracks. We call these stress cracks “checks.”

Do checks need to be sealed? Upward facing checks can collect water increasing the interior moisture content of the log. If they continue to collect water and the wood remains damp, they can eventually result in internal wood decay as well as provide nesting sites for carpenter ants and other insects. It is not necessary to seal checks on the bottom half of round logs since they do not collect
water but for a uniform appearance you may want to seal them too. It is not usually necessary to seal checks or fissures that are less than 1/4” wide since they cannot accumulate that much water.

If your home is new and the logs or siding are green, it may be best to wait a year or so before addressing the checks. This allows the wood to reach an equilibrium with its environment and by then most of the larger checks will have opened. On seasoned wood or an older home that’s in the process of being refinished you can seal the checks either before or after applying a stain.

Checks and splits in logs present a different set of dynamics than those typically addressed by a caulk. They open and close as the log’s moisture content varies throughout the year. The opening width of a check may change as much as 50% from summer to winter. Most sealants are designed to cope with a different set of conditions and are ill suited for sealing checks. Check Mate 2 is specifically formulated to meet the particular requirements for sealing checks that
appear in logs and log siding.

When initially applied 3/8” thick in a check the Check Mate 2 bonds to the sides of the check. As the check opens, the Check Mate 2 stretches to maintain a water-tight seal. The role the Backer Rod plays is to maintain a Check Mate 2 thickness of 3/8” during the application and two point contact with the wood. Two point adhesion enables Check Mate 2 to elongate and contract.

APPLICATION DIRECTIONS:check mate 2 step by step1. Begin by cleaning any dust, dirt, oil, solvent or previous sealer out of the check. Previously applied caulks can usually be easily pulled or scraped out with a hook knife. If the check is upward-facing and has allowed water penetration, pour some Shell-Guard RTU into it. This will kill any decay fungi present and prevent further deterioration of the log due to rot. If the wood within the check is damp from cleaning, rain or a borate treatment make sure the check has time to dry before applying Check Mate. You can speed up the drying process by blowing the water out of the check with a leaf blower. The last thing you want to do is to trap any water within the check.

2. For sealing checks 1/4″ wide or larger, Check Mate 2 should be always used in conjunction with Backer Rod. Insert the Backer Rod into the check and use a trowel or other implement to push the Backer Rod about 3/8” to 1/2” deep. If you push it deeper than 1/2” the cured Check Mate 2 will be too thick and may rip away from the sides of the check. If the Backer Rod is placed too close to the surface the Check Mate 2 may end up too thin and split.

3. For a neat, clean appearance you can use masking tape to mask off
the wood on either side of the check. Be sure to remove the
masking tape right after you tool the Check Mate 2 smooth. If you
remove the masking tape after the Check Mate 2 has begun to dry you
will pull the top layer of Check Mate 2 off along with the masking tape.

4. Cut the tip of the Check Mate 2 tube to about the same diameter as
the checks you plan to fill (a little smaller diameter is better than one too
large). Fill the space between the Backer Rod and log surface with
Check Mate 2 using a standard caulk gun. Check Mate 2 must have
good contact with wood on either side of the check and be sure the
crack or check is completely sealed from end to end.

5. Tool the surface smooth with a trowel, spatula or wet finger and remove
overflow immediately with a damp cloth. Don’t forget that the
masking tape must be removed while the Check Mate 2 is still wet.

6. Check Mate 2 will dry to the touch in about one hour but complete
curing may take several days depending on application thickness,
temperature and weather conditions. The color of Check Mate 2 as it
comes out of the tube is always lighter than the final cured color.
Note: Newly applied Check Mate 2 Clear is white but turns clear when
cured.

7. Clean tools and hands with soap and water.

Learn to Calculate How Much Caulking or Chinking You Need

Article content provided by Perma-Chink Systems, LLC.

When it comes to ordering sealants like Perma-Chink or Energy Seal there are two dimensions that you need to know in order to determine how much product you will need:

  • the width of the gaps or joints that you want to seal
  • the cumulative length (linear feet) of the gaps or joints that you want to seal

The width is fairly easy to determine. If it is a chink joint on a squared log, it is the average distance between upper and lower log surfaces.square log chink joint

If it is a round log chink joint, you first have to insert a length of proper size Grip Strip and then measure the distance between the top and bottom logs about 3/8 of an inch in front of the surface of the Grip Strip.

round log chink joint

In the case of Energy Seal caulk it is the width of the gap and size of the backer rod that determines the width of the Energy Seal.

backer rod energy seal

When estimating your purchase requirements for an entire log home the task of determining how many linear feet of sealant you will need can be somewhat overwhelming. However, if you break it down to one wall at a time and then add all of the walls together it becomes much simpler. Calculating the number of linear feet of chink joints or sealant gaps in a log wall is fairly easy when following these steps:

  1. Start by measuring the length of the wall with a tape measure.
  2. Then count the number of joints you need to seal. Usually it is the number of log courses minus one.
  3. When you multiply these two numbers together you have the linear feet of sealant required for that wall. Don’t worry about subtracting the windows or doors unless they take up a substantial portion of the wall area. You will need to seal around them anyway.
  4. If you are planning to run a bead of sealant in the corners or other vertical seamsenergy seal corner of round logs you need to know the height of the wall then multiply the height by a factor of 1.25 to compensate for the increased surface area created by the curvature of the logs.
  5. Once you have determined both the width of the sealant joint and total number of linear feet you will be sealing, reference the charts below to find out how many tubes, cases or 5 gallon pails you need for your project. If  you were thinking about using tubes of either product consider this, the price difference between two pails of Perma-Chink or Energy Seal and an equal amount of material in tubes more than covers the cost of a Cox bulk loading gun and follow plate.

Energy Seal Coverage Rates 

When applied to 5/16th to 3/8” thickness

(Note: 1 x 5 gallon pail = 20 x 30oz tubes = 55 x 11oz tubes)

Bead Size 11 oz 30 oz 5 gallon
1/2″ gap 16 LF 48 LF 975 LF
¾” gap 11 LF 32 LF 650 LF
1” gap 8   LF 24 LF 490 LF
For gaps over 1” use Perma-Chink For gaps over 1” use Perma-Chink For gaps over 1” use Perma-Chink For gaps over 1” use Perma-Chink

Perma-Chink 5 Gallon Bucket Coverage

(Note: 1 x 5 gallon pail = 20 x 30oz tubes = 55 x 11oz tubes)

Gap Width Coverage of 1-5 gallon Bucket
For Gaps Smaller than 1” in Width Use Energy Seal Caulk
1” 380 Linear Feet
11/2” 256 Linear Feet
2” 192 Linear Feet
21/2” 154 Linear Feet
3” 127 Linear Feet
31/2” 110 Linear Feet
4” 96 Linear Feet
41/2” 85 Linear Feet
5” 76 Linear Feet
6” 63.5 Linear Feet

Free Shipping on All Perma-Chink Products Starting July 1st

cardboard box

LogFinish.com is now offering free shipping on all Perma-Chink products to the continental United States starting July 1, 2016.  Includes all cleaners, exterior finishes, interior finishes, caulking, chinking, and wood preservatives. No minimums.

Log Wash Concentrate Wood Renew Concentrated Cleaner Lifeline Ultra 2 Wood Finish Lifeline Ultra 7 Wood Finish Lifeline Advance Top Coat
Lifeline Interior Wood Finish Lifeline Accents Interior and Exterior Lifeline Acrylic Top Coat Energy Seal Log Caulk Perma-Chink Log Chinking
Check Mate 2 Check and Crack Filler Perma-Chink Chink Paint M-Balm E-Wood Shell-Guard RTU

 

Important Questions to Ask Your Contractor

woman contractorHiring a contractor to restore, clean or stain your log home can often be overwhelming. Below is a list of questions to help guide you through the process of selecting a contractor for your log home.  As a rule of thumb, ask these questions of at least two contractors and obtain at least two references from each contractor you are considering for the job.

  1. Are you licensed, bonded and insured? Do you have proof of insurance? May I see the proof of insurance?
  2. How many years of experience do you have working on log homes?
  3. Do you have your own team that you have experience working with or do you contract labor out?
  4. Do you have experience with pressure washing and cleaning log homes before staining? Can you provide me with pictures of other jobs you have completed this task for?
  5. What stain products do you have experience applying? Can you provide me with pictures of other jobs you have completed this task for?
  6. Can you provide me with an itemized bid?
  7. Is your bid an estimate or a fixed price?
  8. Can you provide me with an estimated time of beginning and ending the project?

To find contractors in your area for log home repair and finishing, head over to our Find a Contractor page.

Are you a contractor who would like to be listed on LogFinish.com? Click here to start the process.

 

 

How to Repair Log Rot

log rotThe best strategy when treating wood rot is to remove the rotted areas. See the options below for repairing wood rot.

For logs with significant rot damage (50% or more):

 If a log on your home is more than 50% eaten away by rot, the structural integrity of the home has been compromised and it is important to move ahead with a plan to replace the rotted log. Make sure to contact an experienced log home renovation professional to replace a log.  A number of such professionals can be found on the Find a Contractor section of LogFinish.com.

If you just have the beginnings  of a log rot problem (i.e. a soft spot in the log) consider the below treatments:

1. Remove, Protect and Replace

  • Make a vertical cut on either side of the soft spot to the depth of the soft wood.  
  • Then use a coal or vibrating chisel and hog out the rotted wood until you reach solid  sound wood.   
  • Level out the area to a flat surface.  
  • Coat the area with Shellguard RTU (borate) to prevent further expansion of rot.
  • Allow the Shellguard to dry for 3-5 days.  
  • Using a piece of log siding or a section of whole  log cut to the depth of the hole, cut a segment to precisely fill the gap.
  • Fasten the section in place with Liquid Nail and caulk all edges with Energy Seal. Apply  Shellguard RTU and then the wood finish you have selected.  
  • As water is usually the cause of rot issues, make sure that the source of the water problem gets solved.

2. Use a Epoxy system developed specifically for wood like the M-Balm and E- Wood epoxy system:

  • Following the steps listed above to hog out the rotted wood.
  • When you get to solid wood, coat the area with Shellguard RTU (borate).
  • Allow the Shellguard to dry for 3-5 days and then re-coat the area with M-Balm. M- Balm is a 2 part epoxy primer. This prepares the area to accept the E-Wood Filler.
  • Fill the primed area with E-Wood and shape to the log profile. The epoxy filler will be stronger than the original wood.
  • Sand the area and apply finish.
    • Please note: The E-Wood has little absorbency and must be used in conjunction with film forming finishes such as Lifeline Ultra 2  or Ultra 7 ,  Sikkens Log & Siding or WeatherSeal.  Penetrating products such as Q8 Log Oil and Seal Once Poly Blend  do not work well in this situation. E-Wood has a wood tone but it may not match your homes exterior wood tone. Use multiple stain coats to minimize any blotchiness and spotting.

Article authored by Bill Frykberg, LogFinish.com

Learn How to Apply Energy Seal

Article is provided  with the permission of Perma-Chink Systems, LLC.

Energy Seal™ is specially formulated for sealing narrow gaps in log home joinery such as butt joints, window trims, door trim and corners. These gaps should be no larger than one inch wide. Energy Seal contains a fine aggregate that gives it a texture which enables it to more closely match the texture of wood and accept a stain, so that it will blend in with the stained wall color if so desired. Although it can be used in wider joints, we typically recommend using Perma-Chink® Log Home Chinking for wide chink joints.

When Should Energy Seal Be Applied?
The best time to apply Energy Seal is after the home has been cleaned and before the finish is applied. The wood surfaces will be fresh and clean and Energy Seal adheres best to bare wood surfaces. That’s not saying that it won’t adhere to stained and/or top-coated surfaces, but it adheres best to bare wood. Application to surfaces with a freshly applied oil-based stain should be avoided. For the least visible caulk lines choose a color that’s a shade lighter than the stain color you plan to use. It’s easier to cover a lighter color sealant with a darker color stain than it is to hide a dark colored sealant with a light colored stain. However, if you prefer the look of visible caulk lines, apply Energy Seal after you stain. Just be sure that the surface is clean and dry.

If you are going to be applying Lifeline Advance Topcoat, apply the topcoat after the Energy Seal. This results in a more even appearance to the sealed areas and helps them blend in with the rest of the wall. Furthermore, it helps keep the Energy Seal application clean and easier to clean when maintenance cleaning is required.

Using Backing Materials
Backing materials furnish an even surface for the application of a sealant and make it easier to apply a uniform thickness across the joint or gap. They also provide two-point adhesion to ensure maximum elasticity and flexibility after the sealant has cured (they form a bond breaker in the center of the sealant band with adhesion to the wood at both sides). The use of improper or poorly installed backing materials can result in unsightly sealant joints and substandard performance. They are an integral part of the sealant system and should always be used whenever and wherever possible.without backerrod

There are a number of products specifically designed for use as backing materials for sealants. For smaller gaps, joints and cracks the most commonly used material is round backer rod. It comes in a range of sizes and is relatively inexpensive. Since it is flexible it can be pushed into a crevice without needing to be nailed or stapled. Grip Strip is designed for sealing larger gaps. Similar in composition to backer rod, it is shaped like a trapezoid so it can be squeezed in between round logs although it can be used in a variety of situations. It provides a flat surface for chinking or sealing.attaching backer rod

In situations where a joint, seam or gap is too small to insert Backer Rod you can hold it in place by applying small dabs of Energy Seal along the seam and then pressing the Backer Rod into them. The dabs of Energy Seal will hold the Backer Rod in place while a proper thickness of Energy Seal is applied on top. You can also use a narrow strip of water-resistant masking tape. You don’t want to use masking tape that wrinkles when it gets wet, since the wrinkles may show through the sealant. For extremely narrow seams an excellent option is to use pinstripe tape available at most automotive supply stores. The tape is vinyl; therefore, it’s waterproof and since our sealants do not bond to it, it makes an excellent material to use. Pinstripe tape is available in widths down to 1/8”.

Approved Backing Materials
Grip Strip
Backer Rod
Log Gap Cap
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) beadboard, foil-faced
Polyisocyanurate board (Polyiso or R Max)
Polyurethane foam (Pur Fill, Great Stuff, etc)
Water-resistant masking tape or pinstripe tape

DO NOT USE
Extruded Polystyrene (causes blisters)
Blue Board, Pink Board or any other colored board (outgases and causes blisters)
Bare wood or strips of bare wood (outgases and loss of elasticity, 3-point adhesion)
Anything that you are unsure about check with Perma-Chink Systems before using it

The Role Backing Materials Play When Sealing a Seam

backer rod role

Round Logs
When deciding the width of a sealant joint between round logs a good guideline to follow is for the width of the sealant to be one-sixth the log diameter. For example, with six inch diameter logs 6” ÷ 6 = 1.0” wide sealant joint. The width of the backing material you require depends on the profile of your logs but you need to take into account that you will be applying a 3/8” thick layer of sealant over it and you’ll need at least ¼” top and bottom for adequate adhesion to the wood.

square logsSquared Logs
We rarely see squared log chink joints less than 2” wide, so Energy Seal or Woodsman is seldom used in these situations. However, for cosmetic chink joints less than 3/8 inches deep we recommend sealing the seam with Energy Seal and then applying Chink Paint over the entire joint. On the other hand Energy Seal is often used on squared logs for sealing corners, butt joints, widows, door frames and other areas where a visible chink joint is not desired.

Applying Energy Seal
The overall performance of any sealant system is dependent on the use of proper application methods. Any sealant must be applied in a manner that will allow it to stretch in order to compensate for log movement. If it is applied too thick, once it cures it won’t be able to stretch enough to compensate for the movement and it may tear away from the wood. Think of it like a rubber band. A thick rubber band will not stretch as far as a thin one. However if the rubber band is too thin, it will break when it is stretched. The same thing applies to sealants. If applied too thick, they can’t stretch and if too thin they may be weak and will tear when pulled apart. In the case of our sealants the magic number is an applied wet thickness of 3/8”. When cured this results in the best elongation with maximum strength.

Have the Proper Tools
Before you start have all of the tools that you will need at hand and be sure that they are clean and in good working order.

These may include:

Weather Conditions
Freshly applied sealants should be protected from direct rainfall for a minimum of 24 hours. Either watch the weather or drape a newly sealed wall with plastic film. Be sure to allow some airspace between the wall and the plastic to facilitate drying. Avoid applying sealants in direct sunlight or when the temperature is less than 40° F. In cold weather it’s important that the logs be free of frost and dew in order to ensure that the sealant adheres tightly to the wood. The best surface temperature range for easiest application and best results is between 50° F and 80° F.

Application
Cut the applicator or tube tip to the desired diameter of the sealant bead you want to apply.

seal step1
Step 1: Begin by holding the tip firmly against the seam or joint and apply a bead of sealant. You need to apply enough sealant to maintain a wet thickness of at least 5/16” and no more than ½” (target = 3/8”) across the entire seam or joint after tooling. Only apply as much sealant as you can tool smooth in about 15 minutes.
seal step2
Step 2: Once the joint is filled trowel it out to approximately 3/8th of an inch thick across the entire joint. Do not spray it with water at this time! Make sure there is good contact between the sealant and the exposed edges of the wood. The most difficult areas to tool are corners. You tend to drag product out of the corners resulting in the sealant becoming too thin. You can occasionally check the thickness of the sealant using a toothpick to see if you are maintaining the proper thickness.
seal step3
Step 3: Once the sealant is roughly in place and any entrapped air worked out of it, spray it with a light mist of water. Do not saturate the surface with water. If water begins to run down the wall, you have applied too much.
seal step4
Step 4: Tool the surface smooth with a trowel or spatula. If you used masking tape to protect the surrounding wood be sure to remove it as soon as you are finished tooling and make sure that you have not left any lip on the top edge of the sealant that may catch water. If you have, tool it smooth.

Sealing Window & Door Frames

sealing window doors1

Clean-Up
If you get any sealant on the surface of the wood, be sure to wipe it off with a wet rag as soon as possible. If you allow it to dry it will be just about impossible to completely remove. Make sure to clean your tools and equipment with clean water occasionally during application. Dried sealant is difficult to remove from just about anything including clothes.

Drying and Curing
Drying time and curing time are two entirely different terms. In warm or hot weather, Energy Seal may begin to skin over in as little as ten minutes while a complete cure may take a couple of weeks. Cooler temperatures will slow both the drying time and curing process.

Get Your Deck Ready for Summer with These Tips

Summertime is fast approaching. Take a moment to review these tips for maintaining your deck so you can enjoy your time outside when the warm weather arrives.

Clean

1. Clear the deck- Remove all deck furniture, grills and potted plants, etc.

2. Sweep – To prevent mildew and algae growth remove all loose dirt and leaves accumulated on the deck floor. Use the broom to remove any cobwebs or loose dirt on railings.

3. Remove debris- To help prevent rot, remove any debris that may be caught between deck boards with a putty knife. Also, take this time to remove leaves and debris from gutters that may be overhanging the deck.  Doing this will make sure water is being diverted away from the deck floors and your exterior walls.

4. Wash- Once all loose debris is removed wet down the deck with a hose and apply a quality wood cleaner like Log Wash. To brighten and remove discoloration or gray wood, use X-180 Weathered Wood Restorer, KleenStart or All Wood Cleaner.

5. Dry – Allow wood to dry completely (usually 2-4 dry days) before moving deck furniture, etc back onto the deck.

6. Clear away vegetation – Take time to clear away leaves, dried pine needles, branches or dead vegetation around the perimeters of the deck to help protect your home from potential fire under very dry conditions.

Inspect

1. Floor boards – Check boards for damage, rot, warping, cracking and stability. Remove and replace all popped nails and screws or rusted hardware.

2. Structural supports – Inspect all post, beams, joists and the ledger (area where deck is attached to the house) for rot, stability, cracks and damage. Make sure all hardware is is good condition and with no rust.

3. Railings – Give the railings a good tug and make sure they are secure. Check for rot with special attention to areas where the spindles connect to the deck floor and the rail.

Repair

1. Make all necessary repairs. Replace boards where necessary. Replace rusted hardware with new hardware, etc.

Maintain

1. Once repairs are completed decide if the wood needs a new coat of stain. We always recommend staying with the brand of stain currently on the deck and apply a maintenance coat as directed by the manufacturer.  If you are not  satisfied with the durability and quality of your current deck finish consider finding a compatible new finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Wood Renew and Log Wash to get the most out of your Lifeline application

Wood ReNew is a safe, effective cleaner designed to remove mill glaze, mold, mildew, dirt and UV  graying from wood surfaces. If you are planning on applying finish to bare wood that is weathered or has extensive mill glaze  and you have chosen Perma-Chink exterior finishes, consider using Wood ReNew.  Wood ReNew contains a thickener that helps it adhere to log walls and siding. In addition, Wood ReNew will also help remove old worn Perma-Chink Systems exterior finishes.

Log Wash is a pH balanced liquid concentrate for cleaning log and wood surfaces. Use Log Wash to prepare the surface of bare wood for an initial coat of stain and as an annual/semi maintenance cleaner. If you are applying  Perma-Chink exterior finishes to bare wood without mill glaze or your are applying a maintenance coat of Perma-Chink exterior finishes, Log Wash is a great choice.

A part of the Perma-Chink family of products, Wood ReNew and Log Wash are designed to work compatibly with Energy Seal, Checkmate 2, Perma-Chink Log Chinking and all Perma-Chink Systems exterior finishes.  Wood ReNew and Log Wash are the preferred products for use with Perma-Chink Systems finishes.

Both Wood ReNew and Log Wash are available in 1 gallon jugs.

 

Perfect surface prep with KleenStart before applying Outlast Q8 Log Oil

Outlast KleenStart is part of CTA Products Group that manufactures Outlast Q8 Log Oil. Outlast KleenStart is gentle to wood fibers unlike harsh chlorine treatments. Great for anything wood or vinyl that requires deep down cleaning or brightening. Outlast KleenStart is the preferred cleaner on new construction when Outlast Q8 Log Oil will be applied or cleaning prior to applying a maintenance coat of Outlast Q8 Log Oil.

Uses: Both wood and vinyl siding, decks, roofs (wood,  composite and tile)  tents, full logs, outdoor furniture and fences. Loosens stains caused by mildew and mold for easy rinsing.

  • Biodegradable
  • Non-toxic
  • Contains 100% percarbonate. No fillers added!
  • Interior and exterior use
  • Removes mill glaze
  • Gently lightens grayed UV damaged wood
  • Brightens and cleans
  • Water thin solution- flows easily with a pump-up garden sprayer
  • Easily rinses off by garden hose or low pressure washer. No “slick bleach type” residue requiring excessive rinsing.

For more about applying KleenStart click here.

Introducing ABR Fireplace Cleaner- Waterless, vinyl-free cleaning for your fireplace surround.

Introducing ABR WATERLESS Fireplace Cleaner-perfect for your next DIY project!
Is the outside of your fireplace dirty and you just do not know how to get it clean? We have the answer!
ABR Waterless Fireplace Cleaner™ is a waterless peelable coating that removes soot, dirt and grime from your interior or exterior fireplace. Apply, let it dry and peel the dirt away.

Check out ABR Waterless Fireplace Cleaner in action: