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Maintain My Log Home

Here’s a phrase to remember as you do routine maintenance on your log cabin home: “Keep it in the Easy Zone.” Just like routine oil changes in your car help you avoid costly repairs or engine replacement, routine maintenance on your log home will help you avoid the high cost of going back to bare wood. Keep your log home looking great and those neighbors jealous by performing semi-annual maintenance inspections and keeping up with maintenance coats of stains or clear coat where needed, when needed. It’s key to  living the log home life, stress- and headache-free.

How to Know It’s Time for Maintenance

Not sure if it’s time to maintain? Here are 5 telltale signs that it’s time:

  1. Loss of sheen
    Transformation Log & Timber, as well as Cascade clear top coat, will get duller over time. Look at the surface in the sun or take a flash light to it. You’ll notice a flatter appearance where the product has worn down over time.
  2. Color shifts
    Does the stain look darker than it did originally? Perhaps there’s some fading going on where it’s exposed to sun. Both are signs that your logs sunscreen (aka stain) needs to be refreshed. If the discoloration is significant, it may be time for a bit more prep in a few areas. When possible, catch things before they get to this point. Getting significantly degraded areas to match those still in good shape can be difficult.
  3. Water not shedding
    Break out the hose or a spray bottle. (Make sure the grandkids are nearby to play. Kids playing always makes this kind of work more fun.) Is water still running down the logs? It should sheet off the wood, not bead up. Any place where water isn’t sheeting well needs more stain or clear coat.
  4. Presence of dirt, pollen, bird poo, etc.
    Surface contaminants will, over time, eat away at the integrity of your stain. If you can see these contaminants, it’s at least time for a wash down with CPR® Log Cleaner and Brightener and possibly time for more stain or clear coat, too.
  5. New micro checks and cracks in the wood
    Have any new micro checks (the tiny cracks in the face of the logs themselves) appeared? If so, those are unprotected by stain and need to be treated! Left unprotected, they’ll allow in moisture that can compromise the integrity of the stain, not to mention invite rot. Make sure new micro checks are filled with more stain or clear coat. (OH – and be sure any crack that’s 1/4″ wide or larger on the upper curve of the log is caulked with Conceal® or Log Builder®, not just stained.)

Before You Start – Know the Process

Step-by-step, here’s the process to follow when doing routine maintenance:

  1. Do an inspection
    Download the Inspection Guide

    This handy checklist is a great tool to take with you as you do your regular maintenance checks. (Don’t forget something to write with!)
  2. Watch our How-To Videos
    Watch helpful product application videos. Even if you’re not doing the work yourself, you’ll know what to watch for. Besides, it makes for good conversation with your contractor.
  3. How To’s
    Read up on individual tasks, like caulking, stain maintenance, and more.
    How To Stain My Log Home
    How To Caulk My Log Home
  4. Gather materials
    Buy your stain or clear coat, get your sprayer or brushes, gather dropcloths, and round up the troops for some help. (Bribing them with food afterwards is totally acceptable.)
  5. Clean the surface
    Always do a light pressure wash with CPR to remove all dirt, pollen, mold, algae, etc. All of those things will interfere with the adhesion and performance of the maintenance coat you apply. When spraying water on your logs, be sure to station someone inside to watch for any water infiltration so they can dry it up right away. You don’t want water stains on the interior of your home! (And P.S. As mentioned above, seal up any leaks with Conceal or Log Builder when you’re done.)
  6. Apply more stain or clear coat
    Follow the application guidelines in the info sheet for each product (linked below).With Transformation Log & Timber, follow these guidelines:
    – Use Gold Tone Light over all colors except Brown Tone Light and Natural.
    – Use more of the original color over Brown Tone Light or Natural.With Capture and Cascade, apply more Cascade Clear Coat.With Transformation  Siding & Trim, apply more of the original color.
  7. Allow the fresh coat to thoroughly dry
  8. Seal up checks and cracks
    Keep water damage at bay, air conditioning and heat inside (where they belong), and bugs outside by sealing up anything larger than 1/4″ wide.
  9. Stand back and admire your handiwork
    If you pat yourself on the back, we won’t tell.