Despite the natural appeal of log homes, you might feel the need to improve the appearance of your home's exterior by giving it a new finish. Painting, the traditional way to renew a home's exterior look, doesn't work nearly as well on a log home as it does on a conventional home, however. Instead, you should use a stain intended for use on log homes; these stains add color to the logs but avoid the problems that other finishes can cause.
Logs, of course, are made of wood, and wood rots if it gets wet. When the logs of a log home are painted, the paint forms a barrier that retains any moisture that gets into the wood, significantly increasing the probability that the logs will rot. For this reason, standard house paint is not recommended for use on log homes. Instead, you should finish the exterior of your home with a stain specifically formulated for use on log homes; these stains, unlike paint, allow the logs to breathe and don't increase the likelihood of rot or mold growth.
You may have to remove an old paint or stain finish before you can apply a new stain finish to your log home. Power washing, a technique often used for removing finishes on exterior surfaces, is not a good option for removing the finish on log homes; a power washer drives water into the wood at high pressure, and the deep-seated moisture that results can cause rot and other problems at a later date. A better solution is cob blasting, which uses ground corn cob propelled by compressed air to strip old finishes from the logs; this process is dry and will not cause the same problems that power washing causes.
Log stains can be either latex- or oil-based. Latex stains dry faster than oil stains, and latex stains, unlike oil stains, can be cleaned up with soap and water. Both oil- and latex-based stains contain pigments, as opposed to clear sealers, which lack pigment and are simply intended as surface protection. Because of their lack of pigment, clear sealers do not provide the same protection from ultraviolet-radiation damage that stains do.
Chinking is a compound used to fill gaps between logs. Traditional chinking is made from mortar, but modern chinking products are made from synthetic materials that bond to the surface of the logs and create a durable, watertight seal. Chinking can be stained at the same time and with the same stain used on the logs, but the chinking will absorb the stain differently than the logs, and the resulting color will be different than that of the stained logs.
This is the final and most important step in restoring the natural beauty of your home or cabin. Cabin log home services cannot emphasize enough to the log home owner not to cut corners when it comes to the stain. It is our duty as professionals to use the highest quality products on the market today. So many times we see logs within a year or so turn black or the stain has begun to peel or lift. This is usually due to improper prepping of the logs or low quality stain which allows the sun to actually burn through the UV inhibitor of the stain which in return will give your logs a dark or black surface appearance.
Cabin log home services always takes great pride in the application process. Our company usually applies the stain by the use of a airless sprayer to ensure that there is enough product on the surface followed by aggressive back-brushing to properly work the stain in into the wood. We protect everything surrounding the project that could be in contact with light over spray which is common. These areas are covered by drop clothes or tarps. When done in a professional manner the logs will have a uniform appearance and last for numerous years as long as it is maintained in a regular basis.