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Ah, summer. The moneymaker! You’re in the thick of the busy season. It’s easy to get caught up and put off planning for leaner times. Don’t make that mistake! One of the wisest ways to prepare for the slower season is to build value-added services into your business now. These four “all-season” money-making services keep your bottom-line consistent and strong all year long.


Do you know the five most common signs that you need to do log home stain maintenance?
Identifying signs that it’s time to maintain your log home with a fresh coat of stain, or Cascade® Clear Coat is easy. Start by downloading this handy inspection guide to carry along with you as you perform your inspection as the very first step in your maintenance plan.

Loss of sheen 

Most clear coats have a satin sheen when first applied, and while still in good shape. Over time, that clear coat or stain erodes due to weathering. Look at your home in the sun or take a flash light to it. If it looks a bit flat, it’s time for maintenance. 

Color shifts in log Stain

Does your 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 stain (and the UV filters in it) have worn off and need to be replenished. 

Water not shedding

Break out the hose or a spray bottle. Is water still running down the logs? It should sheet off the wood, not bead up. Any areas where water isn’t “sheeting” well needs a fresh coat of stain or clear coat.

Dirt, pollen, bird poo, etc.

Over time, surface contaminants will eat away at the integrity of your stain. If you can see these contaminants, it’s time for a good wash down at least, and possibly time for more another coat of stain. 

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 moisture to come in that can compromise the integrity of the stain, not to mention invite rot. Make sure new micro checks are filled with stain or a your clear coat. (Important note: Make 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.)
We have GREAT news! It’s only necessary to apply more stain and/or a clear coat where it’s needed, when it’s needed.
In some cases, the north and east sides of the home can be skipped the first time you maintain the south and west sides. They don’t get the same UV exposure and don’t tend to need care as soon. Any areas protected by an eave, overhang, or porch will likely require less maintenance over time, too. Proper planning and education will help you stay on top of your maintenance, so many times there’s no need to re-coat the whole darn house every time. (We’re all about saving the weekends for fun and relaxation, too.)
That’s it! Great job! You’ve determined what needs to be done to protect your log home come spring.
Need a little more guidance and help planning? No problem, our customer service team is always happy to help! Give us a call at 800-767-5656.

Keeping your log home beautiful and protected is a big deal. You’ve invested too much to skimp when it comes to stain maintenance. Consistent maintenance inspections and routine reapplication of stain or clear coats where needed, when needed, are the key to keeping your dream log home, well, dreamy.

That said, how many times have you thought, “I should really get this project done around the house,” and then put it off another year?

We won’t require you to answer (because then we’d have to admit the same thing ourselves…eek!)


Have you ever tried to run a cloth or duster over wood with no clear coat on it? It’s horrible! It catches on the wood, doesn’t remove the dust, and ultimately makes a bigger mess. Even worse is trying to clean wood that is permanently yellow from UV exposure and oxidization. Follow these 3 steps to create an easy-to-clean, won’t-get-discolored constant warm glow in your log or wood home. BONUS: Interior finishing needs to be done only once. Routine cleaning — wiping down cobwebs, dust that settles, fingerprints, etc. — is all that’s needed to maintain the finish and keep the wood looking like new.


Outdoor hand rails and spindles, especially those not protected by overhangs, require specialized and more frequent care because of their extreme exposure to weather. A few easy tips are all it take to to prevent rot on log railings.


So, you did a stellar job of sealing cracks and checks in your log home. Hooray! Now, a couple of years later, you’re noticing that some of the caulk has cracked. After all that hard work? Ugh. So, what do you need to do to fix cracked caulk? Keep reading for all the details.

Why does caulk crack anyhow?

On most log homes, a handful of those logs will undergo extreme movement. This movement is a part of what makes a log a log. Moderate movement is normal, but the occasional maverick log can randomly and unpredictably twist, shrink or warp in response to moisture changes (like the first time the heat is turned on that winter), moving more than any sealant can possibly handle. When this extreme movement occurs, it will cause the sealant to fail either cohesively or adhesively. Here’s how to do repairs.

Cohesive failure

This is where the sealant splits apart down the middle of the joint. There’s still caulk sticking to the sides of the joint. Repairing cohesive failure is pretty simple:

  1. Relieve the pressure by taking a razor blade to finish the job. (Sounds silly, but this is necessary for the repair to work properly.)
  2. Insert backer rd behind the caulk, if there isn’t some there already.
  3. Clean the surfaces to remove dust and other surface contaminants.
  4. Apply more sealant right over top. You can only do this if the product you’re using is compatible with whatever’s already in there. With Sashco’s products, this is no problem. If you used silicone, you’ll have to remove it all. Boo.(Moral of the story: don’t use silicone on log homes.

Adhesive failure

This is when the sealant pulls away from the edge of the logs. In this case, a bit more investigation is necessary. Adhesive failure can be either due to movement or because of an incompatibility between the stain or clear coat used on the logs and the caulking. If it’s only due to movement, here’s the fix:

  1. Remove the sealant completely. You’ll have to cut it out entirely.
  2. Insert backer rod or another bond breaker behind the caulk or chinking, if one is not already there.
  3. Clean the joint, especially at the edges where the new product will be sticking. Make sure there are no loose wood fibers or peeling stains or paints. It may mean you need to break out the sand paper or Dremel® tool. (Power tools. Argh.)
  4. Apply more caulking or chinking over top. Smooth it out, just like before.

If the failure is due to an incompatibility between the stain/clear coat on the wood, you’ll have to do some more extensive work to get the new caulking or chinking to stick:

  1. Remove what’s in there now.
  2. Sand down the edges of the joints to remove the stain/clear coat.
  3. Clean with a degreaser of some kind (Formula 409® and the like do a good job).
  4. OPTIONAL (and best): Stain just those areas with a compatible product.
  5. Insert backer rod or a bond breaker, if one isn’t already there.
  6. Apply more caulking and chinking, smoothing as before.

Looking for tips on log home care and maintenance? Check out our blog for more tips and information that will help you preserve your dream log home.

Log Blog

Explore inspiration, learn about our products and get tips from the pros over at the Log Blog!

Borates are one of the most affordable ways to protect your log home. You’re basically buying low-cost home insurance. That’s a no-brainer! These preservative products are designed to protect your wood from rot and wood-ingesting insects. Adding this affordable step at the beginning can save you headaches down the road, including the time and money it costs to replace damaged wood.



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.


To seal or not to seal? That is the question! In this month’s “Here to Help!”, we’re sharing our best caulking secrets to help you know when to seal checks on your log home.


In this month’s “Here to help!”, we’re breaking down borates to help you deal with unwanted creepy-crawlies and other “rot ‘en” dilemmas.


There are two kinds of wood — wood that is rotten, and wood that one day will be rotten. This statement may seem a bit extreme, but it is a fact. Wood is a product of nature and its nature is to return to the earth in a natural process. But don’t despair, there are time- and field-tested ways to protect the integrity of your log home so you can enjoy it for years to come. The most effective way to do that is with the use of borates.

Borates have been used to preserve wood for years. With increased knowledge and more demand for less toxic products, borates have steadily grown in popularity with homeowners just like you.

So, what are borates and how do they work?

Borates are a naturally occurring mineral that prevent wood from becoming a viable food source for wood-ingesting insects, as well us fungi. Without question, they are effective. Confusion sometimes comes in when deciding between water-carried borate and glycol-based borate products. Here’s a breakdown from someone who knows borates: Dr. Mark Noirot, Ph.D., formerly with U.S. Borax. He took an in-depth look to provide you the 411 on the best bets when it comes to surface application of borates.

“As borates become more widely used for remedial preservative spray treatments of log homes, many studies have tried to prove one borate solution is better than another. While some reported tests may have suggested this, a thorough and comprehensive study by U. S. Borax of two leading borate solutions, Tim-Bor® (a powder concentrate that is mixed with water) and Bora-Care® (a glycol and borate solution), shows there is little or no difference in their depth of penetration into wood and, hence, their effectiveness. We found that both products penetrate and protect wood surfaces equally. Any reported variation in effectiveness shown in prior studies is most likely the result of inaccurate test methods previously used and not actual differences in the products themselves.

The Details

To achieve real accuracy, differences in moisture and condition of the wood must be controlled as much as possible, as well as the application of the borate solution and drying conditions. Test results should be reproducible and should not have very large statistical variations. The only way to get reliable results is to conduct the test an extensive number of times and to control the test elements as much as possible. U. S. Borax’s test has produced the most statistically reproducible and reliable results yet.

When conducting a test with wood, the one most uncontrollable factor is the wood itself. With differences in soil, climate and other conditions greatly affecting the makeup of any tree, even two pieces of wood from the same tree can be dramatically different. Any cracks, knots or other irregularities in the wood will let any solution seep into the wood more easily. Also, the level of moisture in the wood can help influence how deep the solvents and borate can penetrate. Because of these factors, great care must be taken in selecting wood for testing. In our test, we used Southern Yellow Pine and Spruce-Pine-Fir (S-P-F) boards. We hand-selected boards two inches thick and six inches wide with as few irregularities as possible. We cut the boards into 2’ sections, labeled and paired the adjacent sections, then sealed the ends with silicone to avoid edge effects. Each piece’s moisture content was measured three times, and then averaged. The yellow pine boards were 95 percent sapwood or greater and had typically eight to ten growth rings per radial inch.

How to Do it!

Next, one board from each pair was sprayed with a Tim-bor® solution (which is a solution with 10.5 percent content of disodium octaborate tetrahydrate [DOT] ), then sprayed again 24 hours later. The other was sprayed with a diluted Bora-Care® solution (a solution with 20.1 percent DOT). We applied each according to their respective label instructions. After treatment, all boards were stored in plastic containers with controlled humidity and relative temperatures. These conditions, though sometimes forcing the wood to dry more rapidly than normal, provided a constant, uniform condition for testing. By controlling both drying and wood surfaces, we worked to ensure our test was both accurate and readily reproduced.

After six weeks, we trimmed all the boards by 3″ on each end and by 0.7″ on the sides again, to avoid edges effects. Shavings from these boards were then dried and analyzed for their boron content. From these shavings, we concluded that borate molecules from each solution penetrated the wood at equal rates and in equal amounts. The borates in the wood are most likely identical in their makeup. While Bora-Care® starts off with larger borate molecules combined with glycol, these molecules must break down into the same ones used in Tim-bor® before they can penetrate the wood. The glycol added to Bora-Care® probably has little, if any, actual benefit in helping the borates get into the wood. In dry wood, these studies conclusively show that no borate can be expected to penetrate deeper than 1/2″ or slightly deeper into the wood. Any claims that remedial borate treatments can penetrate to the core of a dried log are incorrect.

What’s the Difference?

So, what are the differences between the two preservatives? Bora-Care® uses ethylene glycol and Tim-bor® does not. While ethylene glycol does not improve the product’s effectiveness, it is a regulated volatile organic compound (VOC) that can contaminate water sources if not properly applied and disposed of. It is also expensive, adding significant cost without the additional effectiveness. The tests conducted by U.S. Borax are arguably the most sensitive ones performed to date. The rate at which Tim-bor® and Bora-Care® penetrated the wood samples is the same, yet Tim-bor® contains fewer VOCs and costs considerably less. Tim-bor® is the smarter choice all around.

Tim-bor® and Bora-Care® are registered trademarks of their respective owners.