How To Prep A Log Home Before Staining

“I cannot emphasize enough how critical proper preparation is to realize a successful staining project. It’s the ultimate determinant on how long the beauty of a job lasts.” Kurt Denman, Product Manager, Benjamin Moore

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. With that in mind, here are the five “musts” of proper log home prep that, when combined with a high-performance stain, will ensure your log home is beautifully protected for years to come.

What You'll Need

CPR Log Cleaner and Brightener

Oxygenated bleach wood and log cleaner and brightener

Media Blasting

Sashco has all the equipment you need to media blast your log or wood home to prepare it for the perfect staining job.

Finish Sanding

For easy and fast finish sanding after power washing and media blasting

Sound Wood

Sound means free of any loose wood fibers, as well as failing stains. Sound means “as close to original as possible.” Sound means that the gray patina or amber yellow glow is removed. Eventually, all of these loose wood fibers, gray or yellow wood, and failing stains will fall off the logs. (Yep – peeling and flaking stain is often a sign of poor prep.)
In practice, sound wood means:

  • Media blasting – crushed glass media is what we recommend, but corn cob media can also work well; or
  • Power washing – and vigorously enough to create wood fuzz (called felting), not just a swipe across everything with some water; or
  • Hand sanding with Osborn brushes or the like.

Clean Wood

Clean means, well, clean. It means free of dust, pollen, bird poo, pencil marks, mill glaze (this is a biggie!), or anything else that makes your logs dirty. Sashco’s CPR is perfect for this job.
Contaminants that get trapped under the stain can lead to:

  • Peeling or flaking stain
  • Mold, mildew, or algae growth under the stain
  • Ugliness. (And that’s not why you got a log home, right?)

Textured Wood

Why? More texture = more surface area. More surface area = more stain on the wood. More stain on the wood = more protection. Don’t get set on that new-furniture-baby-butt-smooth feeling.
The only ways to get more texture? Power washing, media blasting, or hand sanding. (Note: this kind of work isn’t necessary when doing routine maintenance.)

Dry Wood

Dry wood means moisture wp-content levels that are 19% or lower. Get a moisture meter to properly measure so you’re not guessing.
Do you live in coastal Alaska? 19% is about as dry as you’ll get. Do you live in the Arizona desert? Closer to 8% is going to be best for you.
High moisture wp-content levels can lead to:

  • Peeling or flaking stain
  • Mold, mildew, and algae growth
  • Rot
  • Headaches, frustration, and tantrum throwing

Warm Wood

Warm means surface temperatures that are between 40⁰ and 90⁰F (4⁰ to 32⁰C). Get yourself a surface thermometer so you’re not guessing. Temps need to stay in this range throughout product application and for 3 to 5 days after you’re done, to allow stain, chinking, or log home caulk to cure properly.
Why? When logs are cold, the pores are closed and stain can’t hold on or penetrate as designed, and the stain may freeze before properly curing. Likewise, when logs are too hot, the stain may cure too quickly, preventing proper adhesion and penetration.

Special Tip

Moisture meters and surface thermometers are tool box staples for most paint pros, as they should be for any log home owner. Pick them up online or in any paint store.