“Maintenance should not be viewed as a chore or just an expense, it should be considered as an investment in your home’s longevity and value. Properly cared for log homes will appreciate in value, rather than depreciate. “ -Tony Huddleston, Perma-Chink Systems.
Wood homes require more maintenance than painted or vinyl sided homes. When you have a wood home it is important to know that you are working with a natural material that will sunburn (graying of the wood) and dry out if not properly maintained over the years. Most log finish manufacturers will give you a time frame during which you should apply a maintenance coat. Some don’t. The tips in this article will help you know when it is time to apply a maintenance coat.
- Every log or wood sided home is different. Each home has a variety of factors that influence when you will need to apply a maintenance coat. Some of those factors include the age and porosity of the wood, how the wood was maintained before it was stained, if the wood has been sanded and what type of weather elements the wood is exposed to on a regular basis.
- It is important to wash your home annually. While washing with a wood-specific cleaner like Log Wash, take the time to evaluate your wood home wall by wall.
- Wall by wall evaluation before applying a maintenance coat makes sure you will avoid excess build up of previous coatings. Know that if a manufacturer recommends applying a maintenance re-coat every 3-5 years, that one wall could need re-staining every 3 years and another every 5 or more years depending on exposure to elements.
- For penetrating finishes like Seal-Once Poly Blend and Outlast Q8 Log Oil, watch for fading, cracking or checking of the wood and reduced water repellency as indications of when to apply a maintenance coat.
- For film forming finishes like WeatherSeal, Perma-Chink and Sikkens Proluxe Log & Siding, look for fading, chalking, flaking, cracking or checking of the wood and reduced sheen. Do not wait until these finishes peel because it is likely that the surface will need to be stripped before re-application.
- Make your maintenance checklist a yearly to-do. Again, take some time to walk around your home and assess the wood. Do you see fading or reduced water repellency? Wood that looks dry? Reduced sheen? All these symptoms indicate it is time to re-stain.
- Regular maintenance and inspections can save you money over time. With a little time, attention to detail and knowledge you can maintain your home on a regular basis with little worry on what to do and when.
1. Maintain the beauty and functionality of your exterior finish.
2. Dust, pollen, and other airborne gunk provide a food source for all kinds of ugly fungal growth on your logs.
3. If you added a contact insecticide to your exterior stain: dirt accumulating on the exterior surface of your home will prevent bugs from contacting the treated surface and the attempt at bug-be-gone just won’t happen.
4. Helps you spend some quality time with the exterior of your home by getting 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 extend the life of the finish making less work for you in the long run.
Remember: A complete and regular maintenance schedule will save you money and time!
To find instructions on cleaning your log home and why we strongly recommend you don’t use bleach: Cleaning Your Log Home
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?