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Color is a beautiful thing. It can also be the source of sleepless nights, eye-twitching, and the reason you’re popping Tums. Let’s face it, choosing the right color for your log home is a big deal, and it can feel pretty darn stressful. We get it, and we’re here to help! These top-tips go a long way to giving you color confidence!

Get Inspired

First, spend a lot of time just looking around at homes you love. What tones speak to you? Looking at stain colors on other homes gives you a big picture idea of what to expect on your own. We have tons of inspiration for you here.

Take Your Color & Maintenance Temperature

Next, consider maintenance and protection. While every Sashco stain will protect your home from the beating Mother Nature dishes out, darker stains do provide slightly more longevity. Lighter colors require slightly more frequent maintenance. When choosing a stain color, “take your temperature.” What’s most important to you? Want to go darker and go a bit longer between maintenance coats? Great, you’ll be thrilled with colors like Transformation Stain in Brown Tone Dark or Redwood, or Capture Log Stain in Chestnut or Mahogany. Maybe you’re more of a purist and prefer lighter, more natural-looking logs and don’t mind doing maintenance a few months earlier. Perfect, we’ve got just what you’re looking for. You’ll be swooning over colors like Capture Log Stain in Natural or Wheat, or Transformation Stain in Gold Tone Light or Natural.    

Try Before You Buy!

Once you’ve decided which color family you prefer, try it on for size! If you’ve ever painted a room, you know that seeing color on a tiny chip versus an entire room is a very different experience. Multiply it by, well, a lot, when you see a stain color online or stain board versus your entire home! If you want total color confidence, you need to know the color you choose for your home is right before you cover the whole dang thing and it’s too late. Many factors influence what a stain looks like on your home—lighting, wood prep, even individual logs impact how stain looks. We take the stress out of selecting a color with the sample packages of your dreams. One quick order gets you product info, samples, and more — all in a fun box. It’s like receiving peace of mind in the mailbox. Get your free stain samples here.

Congratulations! You’re on your way to a gorgeous log home and way better sleep. You can go ahead and toss the Tums.

Tip #1: Proper Prep, Please!

Spend any time around Sashco peeps, and you’ll hear ad nauseam about the importance of proper prep. Why? Because it will guarantee the best long-term performance in a stain. Without proper surface prep, even the best log home stain in the world will fail.


Tips to Help You Choose a Log Home Stain Color You Love

Sampling log stain colors on your home is a key step to ensuring you’ll love the stain color you choose. But how do you know which type of log stain you need for your unique log home? We know the struggle is real, so we’ve simplified the stain selecting experience, including the way you sample log stain types and colors.

If your home is already stained, stain compatibility is a huge issue because not all stains are compatible with one another — nor with all sealants. That’s why it’s important to select a stain that will be compatible with caulking and chinking. When you consider that an average 2,200 sq.ft. ranch-style log home has literally one mile of log joints, many of which will need to be sealed at some point in time, adhesion compatibility with the stain you use is critical.

There are three different types of stains available to you. Keep in mind that not all stains are created equal, and how deep a stain penetrates doesn’t necessarily equate to better performance. The best value for your dollar may be in a more expensive stain that has been formulated for a specific type of application, i.e. decks, logs, wood siding, etc.

With all types, good prep is important to get maximum longevity. Sashco recommends going with a surface stain or a shallow penetrating stain, both of which afford your home the greatest protection and long-term performance. The three types of stains are discussed below.

  • OK to use on restoration projects when the previous stain contained no non-drying oils (keep reading for details)
  • Little, if any, penetration into the first layer of closed wood cells
  • Rely on adhesion and elasticity for performance
  • Good for use on most wood surfaces — handrails and vertical surfaces
  • Should not be used on roofing shingles and does not perform well on decks
  • Quality brands (like ours) have good longevity
  • Best for use on restoration products where the previous stain is oil-based or unknown
  • Penetrates into wood about 1-3 cells deep
  • Good for use on vertical wood surfaces
  • Some brands are good on decks and fences
  • Should not be used on roofing shingles
  • Quality brands (like ours) have good longevity
  • Can be used on log homes, but won’t last long
  • Can penetrate as much as ¼” or more into wood
  • Good for decks, hand-rails, and roofing materials
  • Not compatible with most other finishing products (sealants in particular)
  • Appearance is short-lived, even with frequent re-application

Your stain color sets the tone of your home—which why it’s important to request samples and test several different stains and colors to ensure you get the color you want.

Sashco recommends that you stay away from clear stains. Why? In sun-drenched areas where only a clear stain is used, the wood’s natural color will begin to darken after only a few months. While you’re not alone in wanting to keep as natural a look as possible, clear coats that promise to preserve the “just built” look are misleading. It’s impossible to load enough UV absorbers in any clear stain to sufficiently protect your wood. And even though the stain may still be repelling water, dark yellow and gray discoloration of the wood is a sure sign that the UV absorbers have lost their effectiveness.

We recommend you stick with high-quality, UV-absorbing stains loaded with pigments – which is where you get the majority of your UV protection – and follow these sample testing procedures to make sure you get it right before you start.

Check out our Inspiration Gallery – where you can view our high-performance log stains, sealants, and chinking products on real log homes. You can view by stain type and color to get a feel for the endless possibilities. Create your dream home, order our log stain sample kit today!

Have more questions, call one of our log home gurus and they’ll be happy to answer any of your log home staining questions today. CALL NOW

At Sashco, we know that logs ain’t wood. So whether your’re finally building your dream home, looking to do some routine maintenance to keep your weekender log cabin looking beautiful, or in need of a complete log cabin renovation and restoration, we’re here to help with a full line of specialty log home finishing products.

Order Stain Samples

We make stain selection simple with curated colors and everything you need to create a log home you love, delivered.

Inspiration Gallery

Need help selecting the right log stain color for your dream home? Here’s a little inspiration.

Where to Buy

Find dealers near you and see which online retailers sell Sashco by visiting our Where to Buy page.

Find a Contractor

Need help finding a log home contractor? Visit our directory of pros who specialize in log home finishing and restoration.

Request A Free Stain Sample

Don’t surrender your fate to an online color chart. Order your free stain samples today.


Mildew vs. Algae: Mildew growth on a log railing spindle…or is it algae? What is that black stuff growing on my house? Mildew, right? Well…maybe not.


Want our top wood staining tips to make sure your home’s stain is applied correctly? You got it! In this month’s “Here to Help!,” enjoy tips that will have you staining like the pros!


Living the Dream: How I Turned My Childhood Fantasy into a Beautiful Lake Log Home.


Ever since I was a young girl, I dreamed of having a place on a lake. I had fallen in love with water skiing at the age of nine when I got up on my first attempt. Before we “jumped in with two feet” and took the plunge to buy a place, we tested the waters by buying a condominium to see if we would really make use of a vacation home. After three short years in that condo, we had our answer! My childhood dream became a reality in 2007 when our family built our custom lake house.


An adventure sparked by a childhood memories led to the purchase of a historic miner’s cabin.

The best years of my life have been in the mountains of southern California. A world away in just a couple of hours. Leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the city, you’re among the trees, animals, blue sky, and fresh air. I got this love of the outdoors from my dad. He had an old cabin right by Lake Arrowhead on the edge of the national forest.

As a teenager, my dad would let us go exploring for hours on end, bringing back the prize snake to scare mom. For my dad’s birthday (it was the last one before he passed), we took him back up to the lake. My dad was in heaven. I pictured myself in a log cabin with a Chesapeake Bay retriever, listening to country music and reading a good book.


1940 Miner’s Cabin

I cashed in every last cent of my savings and bought an 800 square foot rundown 1940 miner’s cabin which sat on a perfectly located lakefront lot. I loved that cabin for 9 years but squeezing 4 daughters and my wife into that little place wasn’t going to last long. So build we did. Throughout the building process, it gets a little crazy with all the decisions and details that crop up.

Surprisingly, choosing a stain brand and color seemed to be one of the hardest decisions. We did loads of research, really valuing the opinion of those whose business was staining log cabins. It seems we kept hearing, “Sashco is the best” but now we couldn’t decide between Transformation Stain® and Capture® and Cascade®.

The person I hired to do the staining was really pushing us hard to use Transformation Stain®. He told us that he loved the way it looked and lasted. Others told us the virtues of Capture® and Cascade®. I ‘threw a dart’ and went against the sub’s preference.



Most people understand the importance of applying good skin care products that include sunscreen to help minimize sun damage, reduce skin discoloration, and keep skin protected and moisturized. Do you know that applying a UV-protected wood stain or maintenance coat of stain on your home does the same. Here’s an easy comparison for you to follow:


There are extreme elements, and then there is Alaska. Nowhere do high-performance products face such harsh conditions as in Alaska. Discover why Manfred Nolywaika, owner of Northwood Enterprises in Fairbanks, calls Sashco products “Alaska-tough.”

In the Beginning

Shortly after my wife and I married in 1989, we attended a log building school in Canada (kind of a different honeymoon). Six weeks later, in the dead of winter with all our possessions in the back of a pickup truck, we arrived in Alaska and established a business constructing custom handcrafted log furniture. Towards the end of the eight year life of that business, I was installing a log handrail for a customer. He asked me if I could refinish two walls of his log house. That was 1997 and my first experience refinishing logs. It was also the birth of our log home refinishing and chinking business.

The Family Business

Here I am, 17 years later. The whole family has been involved with the family business in one way or another. Running a family-operated business has allowed me to earn a living while spending time with my family, a privilege few enjoy. In fact, my oldest son, Hans, works full time with me. Hans, like his older sister before him, started out in log restoration as a little guy, pulling plastic and tape from windows, vacuuming decks, cleaning windows, etc. Since most of our work season occurs during the summer months, our kids have helped me on the job since they were very young. (Olivia actually started out in a pack on my wife’s back during our log furniture days, and has since moved on to other things.) Hans started working with me full time when he was fifteen, finally strong enough to operate a disc grinder safely. Now barely twenty, he is fully capable of handling by himself any restoration project we might take on. At a time when good help is hard to find, it’s great to have a co-worker like Hans who has the same standard of quality as I do.

Our two oldest have been a tremendous asset to the business and we are blessed with two more, Josef and Noah, who are up and coming. I am especially thankful there are aspects of this work that our son Josef, who has Downs Syndrome, can do.