How to Pick the Best Exterior Stain or Finish for Your Log Cabin-Part 1

Over the years we have had one question that our clients have asked us over and over again.  That question is “What is the best finish you have available?” In reality there is no “best finish”; there are many great finishes available. The real question is “What is the best finish for you and your log home?”.  Here is the first of  several key questions to ask yourself when deciding on the best finish or stain for your log home:

1. Would you like an oil-based or a water-based finish?    There are many different  finishes, but this  question encompasses all of them.  Here are some pros  and cons about each category:

Petroleum  Based  Products

Brand names you recognize like Sikkens Cetol Log and Siding  and Outlast Q8 Log Oil are oil based finishes that contain some type of petroleum.

Pros

  • Petroleum  based stains like Q8 Log Oil will keep wood from drying out because it penetrates deep into the wood  therefore minimizing cracking and checking.  Outlast Q8 Log Oil is also an EPA registered wood preservative and has a built-in pesticide called Copper 8 quinolinolate.
  • A high solids products like WeatherSeal and Sikkens Log and Siding provide excellent UV protection.

Cons

  • Petroleum oil based products are subject to major price increases on a regular basis because of the rising cost of oil.
  • Petroleum oil based products can be tough to clean up and some have high VOC (volatile organic compound) levels.
  • Once you use an oil based penetrating stain it can be tough to switch to a different product because  it soaks deep into the wood and can be very hard to remove.

Plant Oil Based  Finishes

Pros

  • Plant oil based stains and finishes are very environmentally friendly.  
  • These stains are all natural and  can be applied in a much greater range of temperature than petroleum oil based stains.
  • Plant oil based products generally have very low VOC’s.
  • Very safe to work with and have easy, non-toxic clean up as compared to petroleum oil based stains.

Cons

  • Plant oil based stains and finishes can often require  more coats to finish the exterior of your house, therefore creating the need for more application time and a larger initial product purchase.

 

 Water Based Acrylic Latex Finishes

Pros

  • Water-based  stains are easy to clean up, usually only requiring warm soapy water.  
  • Very low VOC’s,  so they often have very little smell.  
  • Water-based stains are usually more environmentally friendly than their petroleum oil based counterparts.
  • These stains and finishes often provide a better color variety and options for satin or gloss finish.  
  • Water-based stains like Perma-Chink Systems Lifeline Ultra 2 and Ultra 7 and Seal-Once offer up to a 5 year warranty when applied to their standards.

Cons

  • Many water based finishes require an additional top coat to finish the application.

 

So, there you have it.  Hopefully this article has taken you one step closer to finding out what stain or finish to use on your home.  For extra help or questions about products give us a call at 1-888-208-2248.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Cleaning Your Log Cabin

Why should you clean the exterior of  your log home?

1. Maintain the durability and appearance of your exterior finish.

2. Dust, pollen, and other airborne contaminants provide a food source for fungal growth on your logs.

3. If using a contact insecticide, dirt accumulated on the exterior surface of your home will prevent bugs from contacting the treated surface and render the insecticide ineffective.

4. Helps you get a good look at the physical condition of your logs/siding to see if there are any areas that need caulking or chinking.

5. A regular gentle cleaning of the exterior of your home can prolong the life of the stain/finish on your home.

Reasons Not to Use Bleach Or Ammonia Based Products:

  • Destroys lignan in the wood.
  • Can permanently remove color.
  • Residue is a carcinogen once it falls to the ground.
  • Bleach is tough to rinse off and you will find that the finish may look spotty after washing.
  • May cause streaks to develop on the surface of your wood.

What You Need to Clean Your Log Home:

  • A liquid log cleaner like  X-180 (oxalic acid) or Log Wash (detergent).  The reason we recommend a cleaner specifically for logs is that the PH of the cleaner needs to be very close to the PH of the wood in order to work effectively and not damage your wood.
  • A garden hose equipped with a spray nozzle or low-pressure washer (no more than 500 psi).
  • A pump up garden sprayer.
  • A long handled, soft bristle brush.

 

How to Clean Your Log Home

1. Pick a small area.  Work only an area big enough so that the cleaning solution is on the wall for about 10-15 minutes.

2. Wet down the wall with mist from your garden hose.

3. Apply cleaning solution with a garden sprayer, starting at the bottom of the wall and work your way up.

4. Scrub. Gently scrub the wall with your brush.

5. Rinse. Use a gentle setting on the hose nozzle and thoroughly rinse the cleaner from the top down. This will help prevent blotches and drip marks. If you are going to use a pressure washer set it to deliver at 500-800 PSI to avoid splitting the wood fibers.

 

More questions about cleaning the exterior of your log home?  Call us at 1-888-208-2248 for some friendly help.  Want to test out some of the products mentioned in our blog?

 

New Exterior Stain from Perma-Chink Systems

 Perma-chink Systems, Inc., has released a new two-coat only exterior wood finish that is amazing for many different reasons.

Appearance+Longevity

1. Ultra 7‘s state-of-the-art resin ensures that the seal is continuous, providing protection from holes and gaps that might otherwise develop with a lower-quality finish.  What is a polymer resin?  A polymer resin is a clear liquid plastic product that hardens to create a thick, durable, glossy coating. Once hardened, polymer resin is fade-proof and water-resistant (1).

 2. Ultra-7’s water-resistant film breathes just like Gore-Tex® to allow trapped moisture to evaporate from your logs.

 3. Ultra-7 includes transparent oxides (sunscreen for your wood) and mildew inhibitors to protect against UV degradation, color fading and mildew collection on your home.

  •  Value+Environment

1. Ultra-7 can be used in nearly every application around your home, making it a great one-stop shop product for all of your finishing needs. It works on exterior walls, decks, railings, siding, while also being compatible with all existing Lifeline coatings to help streamline your maintenance routine.

2. Perma-Chink Systems is offering up to a 5-year warranty against UV exposure when applied to bare wood and covered with Lifeline Advance clear topcoat. Click here for more details.

3. Easy clean-up!  The tools you use to apply your home’s finish need only soap and water for clean-up, eliminating the need for any harsh chemicals during the initial application or maintenance.

4. Ultra-7  meets and exceeds all standards for low-VOC exterior finishes in the most restrictive regions in North America.

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So there we are.  Lifeline Ultra 7 is supported by a 3 year warranty against UV degradation, it is a two-coat only system finishing with a one coat of Lifeline Advance gloss or satin which increases durability, and can be used for multiple applications around the home!  Whats not to like?  Please let us know your experiences with Ultra-7 in the comments below so we can develop a good understanding of the performance and usage of Lifeline Ultra-7 in the industry.  Please keep in mind that you do need to register your home with Perma-Chink Systems, Inc., in order to qualify for the warranty.

 

Thank you to Perma-Chink Systems, Inc. for providing information for this post.  Want to see Lifeline Ultra 7 colors and read more? Visit www.LogFinish.com or give us a holler for some friendly help at 1-888-208-2248.  Ready to finish your home?