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Fact or Fiction: Linseed oil is food for mold; therefore, you should never use a stain with linseed oil in it.

Answer: It may surprise you! Our resident stain expert Jim Barnes plays some Fact or Fiction to give you the lowdown on the pros and cons of linseed oil to help you decide.  

Fact or Fiction: Linseed oil contributes to mildew growth.

Answer: Sort of fact…and sort of fiction. 

In properly formulated oil-based stains, like Sashco’s Transformation Log & Timber Stain, mildew and algae growth is no worse than on any other modern stain. These formulas contain mildewcides and algaecides to prevent or significantly reduce these problems. That said, it’s true that linseed oil by itself can be a food source for these molds. When homeowners buy straight linseed oil from hardware stores, dilute it with some mineral spirits and Japan drier, and make their own “stain,” mildew growth is not uncommon. This practice is still common enough that most contractors have or will come across this scenario. Unfortunately, homeowners who DIY stain this way don’t have access to the modern mildewcides and algaecides that most manufacturers who use linseed oil include in their formulas.  

Fact or Fiction: Linseed oil is just another oil and isn’t anything special.

Answer: Fiction.

Linseed oil is rare among drying oils because it remains soft and flexible for a long time after drying. Most drying oils get hard and brittle. In moderate quantities, it is used to soften alkyds and other oils commonly used in semi-transparent stains. The final formulation remains flexible enough to move with the wood as it expands and contracts with moisture and temperature variations. The stain doesn’t crack under normal wood movement and can keep water out for years when properly formulated. There are many oil-based stains on the market precisely because oil stains provide unparalleled beauty, penetration, ease of use, and the ability to reliably re-stain woods. Often, water-based stains can’t match all of these benefits. Linseed oil plays a critical role in this.  

When we come across opinion pieces that declare anything as the root of all evil, it is good to follow the money: what are the writers trying to sell? It is easy to point to the worst-case DIY linseed stain and cry out, “The sky is falling!” or “All linseed oil is evil” The reality is it’s somewhere closer to Earth.  


Is linseed oil a problem in some stains? Yes, absolutely.

When we see extensive black mold on a home, does that mean its stain contained linseed? Nope. It might, but plenty of cheaply formulated stains and coatings, both oil and water-based, don’t protect well against mildew and algae. Algae, another organic growth completely different from mold can appear black, especially when dirty, and many stains don’t protect against algae at all. (Sashco is unique here. We’re the only company in the log home market that includes algaecide in all of its stains.) Any sun-exposed area with mold-looking spots should be suspected of being algae.

Do we have to take extra care when re-staining a home with severe mildew? Yes. We want to kill the mildew spores, preferably with oxygen bleach (or regular bleach and LOTS of rinsing). Using a high-quality stain with mildewcides and algaecides is essential for keeping mildew at bay in the future.

Is media blasting good enough to remove severe mildew? When the blasting is sufficient to remove all the visible discoloration, it can be. That level of blasting isn’t always desirable, so it is sometimes preferable to pre-treat the mildewed surfaces with an oxygen bleach before blasting. Will leftover linseed oil in the wood cause future mildew?  If the stain is properly formulated with mildewcides and algaecides, there shouldn’t be any problems if the wood has been prepared (blasted) down to the “freshly sanded” color.

This beautiful home was finished by Jenkins Painting in Sashco’s Transformation Log & Timber Stain.

So to sum up:

  • Linseed oil is fine when properly formulated with mildewcides and algaecides.
  • Any stain will support mold and algae growth when cheaply formulated without mildewcides and algaecides.
  • Routine maintenance is key to keeping mold and algae at bay.

Request A Free Stain Sample

We offer free samples so you can see our stain technology first-hand. Order samples today for your next project.

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.


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!)


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.



What if you could see how your log home stain would perform before you ever applied it?

Now you can! Sashco put Transformation Log & Timber Stain to the test in side-by-side comparisons with a variety of competitive stains.


Yes! You’ve chosen your stain, done all the prep, plus secondary prep, and you’ve blocked out that day on your calendar with just the right weather conditions for staining and getting the job done. Before you get started here’s a few tidbits and tips you should know.


Not sure which stain to choose for your upcoming project? Here are four reasons why transformation stain is the best log home stain for siding and trim.

Reality Check

When applied incorrectly, a high quality stain will give you the same results as a low quality stain. At Sashco, we want to help you avoid that pitfall. Sashco’s Transformation Stain Siding & Trim is the quality product you’re looking for, bundled with the support and education necessary to do it right the first time. It’s what we call “A Better Way to Stain.” The result is beautiful siding and trim you can enjoy for years to come.


What affects Stain color?

Folks are passionate about getting the perfect color on their home. It can be a challenge when there are so many factors that can affect stain color. We’re here to help explain exactly what affects that perfect color so expectations are crystal (or, perhaps semi-transparently) clear.

When applying transparent or semi-transparent stains (which all of Sashco’s stains are) everything under the stain affects the color.

(Side note: with solid stains and paint, only the stain or paint shows, not the wood underneath. Unfortunately, this also hides developing problems that you won’t find until it’s too late. This is why Sashco doesn’t make, nor recommend, solid paints and stains for logs. Whew! That was a long side note.)

  1. The color of the wood itself (species and even individual logs can vary a LOT)
  2. The absorption capacity, aka porosity, of the wood (again, species and even individual logs can vary a LOT)
  3. The condition of the wood. This include factors such as:
    • Is it newly sanded?
    • Is it sunburned? Is there yellowed wood present? (Wood yellows/oxidizes as it ages. Shameless plug: Colorfast can minimize this color change!)
    • Gray, weathered wood — this wood always stains to a black color!
  4. Clean or dirty wood — every discoloration from dust, pollen, bird poo, mold, etc. will be locked in under the stain if not first removed.
  5. The previous exposure of the wood. On recoats, exposed walls are expected to be more porous and stain darker than walls that are more protected from the elements.
  6. The penetration of the stain. Keep in mind that oils penetrate, acrylics don’t – well, not much.
  7. The color of the stain being applied.

TIP: You can wet the wood down with a little water and it will darken somewhat. Imagine a brown cedar shake – it “wets out” to be dark brown-black. Gray wood also goes nearly black when wet. This wet down is a good double-check for color, as well as a test for sufficient prep on formerly gray weathered wood. Still dark after all that sanding? You need to sand some more.

  1. The color of the first coat. (Seems like a “duh” statement, but sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious.)
  2. The absorption capacity (aka porosity) of the stained surface. Just like wood, stains vary in their porosity! Things to consider when it comes to absorption:
    • Film-forming stains in good condition won’t allow much, if any, penetration (Hint from the pros and also the novices: This is the perfect time to do maintenance—when things are still in good shape! Wait too long and you’ll have more extensive and expensive prep on your hands.
    • As some stains age, they get more porous and will absorb quite a bit of stain. Eroding alkyds (Sashco’s Transformation Siding & Trim) are an example of this type of stain. They don’t peel, they erode over time, which makes them more porous.
    • Wet on wet coats: Drying oils — alkyds or natural oils like Transformation Log & Timber — need the first coat to cure before the second coat is applied. Otherwise, the second coat soaks in and results in a dull look and a different color.
    • Non-drying oils will soak in more and more, oil as they never dry. The color deposited on the surface will remain for only a while, then will be burned off the surface within a few months. (These types of stains also interfere with the adhesion of chinking and caulking. Every log home has some areas that need to be sealed. As such, Sashco doesn’t recommend any products with silicones, waxes, or non-drying oils.)
  3. The color of the stain being applied as the second coat. This can be different than the color of the first coat. Shifting to a darker color can really highlight wood textures.

…a different color every time! The vast number of variables that affect the color means that sampling is always your best option, even when doing maintenance. It’s why Sashco provides free samples of our stains and clear coats. Be sure to contact Customer Service when you need them!

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.