Log Home Maintenance Must Know Information
Log Home Gutters, Overhangs, and their Significance
Proper design of a log home will save you so much in the long run. Gutters are an essential component of property maintenance, particularly on log homes where wood, regardless of species, is susceptible to rot and decay. When gutters are properly installed and maintained, the home’s functionality is not only improved, but the foundation is more secure and protected from elements. Proper maintenance of gutters includes semi-annual cleaning of debris, leaves, and other elements, as well as ensuring that there are no leaks, particularly on downspouts. When leaks occur on downspouts, water damage to the log siding can occur, resulting in costly repairs. Oftentimes, when a log home does not have gutters, water falls off of the roof onto the ground, which then splashes onto the logs on the lower level of the home, creating damage. This damage creates rot and decay which will require repair or potential log replacement. When a gutter is not present, or is installed incorrectly there will be improper water flow. For proper protection, make sure that your downspouts divert rainfall at least a half a foot away from the foundation.
Eaves are another key component of property maintenance. Log homes with overhangs of at least 2 feet from the base of the roof have significantly more protection than those with shorter coverage. Log homes must be protected from high moisture levels; eaves direct water away from the logs, creating a protective barrier. The overall goal is to decrease UV exposure and high moisture levels on the exterior walls. Gutters and eaves also lengthen the lifespan of the stain and coatings on your home, which in return will reduce energy bills.
The Importance of Proper Sealing a Log Home
Harsh weather conditions as the years progress can cause drafty windows and doors on your log home. It’s incredibly important that you, as a homeowner, pay attention to the areas around your home most susceptible to insulation issues. Cracks develop in logs over time from harsh weather conditions, the house settling, insect damage, and other factors. Proper maintenance measures such as caulking in these areas will provide a protective layer around the logs, windows, and doors. As a log home Builder and Maintenance specialist, we at Homestead Timbers recommend the following products for the most protection.
Log Gap Cap
- Easy to use pre-cut foam inserts for sealing trim around doors and windows.
- Fits most log profiles (6-8” diameter & 9-11” diameter).
- Reduces air infiltration
- Increase Energy efficiency
- The material is resistant to mold, rot, bacteria, and will not absorb moisture.
- Engineered from ¾’ closed cell flexible foam that remains in place with minimal caulking required.
- Log home caulk specifically designed to absorb log movement while maintaining a weatherproof seal. https://www.logfinish.com/product/log-builder-log-home-caulk/
- Ultra elastic material that will compress and stretch with normal movement and settling of the home.
- Covers various join sizes
- Comes in 3 colors (tan, woodtone, and dark brown).
- Application uses: Filling between joints, log stacking, filling checks, & sealing around windows and doors.
- Mist with water following application. Smooth with a trowel or brush following application.
Conceal Textured Caulk
- Available in 7 colors (Brown tone, Gole tone, Frontier gold, Grizzly brown, Red tone, Red wheat, and Harvest what).
- Stimulates the natural roughness of the wood.
- Following the application, the caulk is hard to see. It blends into the wood, and delivers an exceptional protective layer.
- Has superior elongation, memory, and adhesion
- Ideal for exterior and interior use
- Resistant to rainfall
- Has a low VOC formula-- low odor
- Cleans up with soap and water
Interested in maintaining your log home yourself? Check out our page on the log home maintenance process!
Storm Damage to Log Homes
Log homes and Timber homes are designed to withstand mother nature’s harshest conditions. In certain climate conditions where high winds, heavy snowfall, hail, debris, and fire’s are prevalent, even the strongest homes can suffer damage. This list below points out a few things to look for around your property following a major storm.
- Leaks in the roof or between the logs.
- Loose shingles, nails, and decking boards.
- Loose/cracked downspouts and gutters.
- Windows and Doors that are not opening and closing properly enabling a draft into the home.
- Cracks/poor adhesion of chinking and caulking
- Cracks in the foundation of the home are mainly seen in the garage or basement areas.
- Logs that seem water logged.
- Presence of mold and mildew on the logs.
- Checks/Cracks that face upward and are larger than ¼”
- Soil/landscaping disruption.
- Rot from insect/water damage
Following a major storm, it is recommended that you walk around the home and establish a list of things that you notice. You can schedule a consultation with our Maintenance Coordinator to visit the property, and address areas in need of repair. We will come alongside you as you work with your insurance company. Our goal is be with you every step of the way, providing you with transparency in regards to the repairs needed, and the estimated cost.
Common causes of wood rot and deterioration
- Leaky gutters and downspouts
- No gutters
- Log ends often suffer damage when they are extending beyond the roof overhangs, causing water to fall directly onto the ends.
- Paint used on the logs as a finish rather than a high-end stain. Never apply paint on Logs!
- Vegetation and landscaping boxes that are holding excessive moisture levels that is too close to the walls
- Poor landscaping design
- The foundation is not high enough off of the ground. Direct log to earth contact.
- Improper flashing
- Improper spacing for water shedding
- Improper caulking and sealing
- Plumbing leak
- Excessive air infiltration to the logs
Do you have rot that needs taken care of? We at Homestead Timbers offer long home maintenance and restoration services!!
Log Home Related Terminology and Glossary
ACRYLIC: A type of synthetic polymer used as a binder for high-performance water-based paints, stains and caulks.
AIRLESS SPRAYER: A method of painting that uses high pressure to spray stain, paint or other materials.
ALKYD: A synthetic resin or binder used in most commercial “oil-based” stains or paints.
ATOMIZE: The breaking –up of paint or stain into fine particles or droplets by a paint gun.
BACK BRUSHING: The process of working the stain into a rougher surface after it has been sprayed while the stain is still wet.
BACKER ROD: Backer rod is an extruded closed-cell polyethylene rod that is used in cracks, checks and gaps before filling them with sealants.
BEADING: Relates to the way oil based stains repel water.
BLISTERING: Effects of pressure from either a solvent or moisture under a coating causing swelling or blister in the finish.
BLUSHING: A milky appearance of a topcoat caused by high humidity where water condenses on or in the wet coating. Using heat ( hair dryer ) or a slower solvent or retarder.
BORATE: As related to use on wood, a water-soluble inorganic borate salt containing compound with insecticidal, termiticidal and fungicidal properties. Shell-Guard by Perma-Chink Systems, for example, is a borate. Borates are used on bare wood for eliminating and providing protection against wood decay fungi and wood eating insects.
BREATHE (breathable): Stains that allow the passage of moisture vapor from the substrate ( wood ) through the stain.
CHALKING: Deterioration of surface exterior stain/paint upon weathering into a faded, powdery substance. Chalk should be removed prior to repainting.
CHECKS: Pronounced cracks in logs, timbers and wood siding.
COATING: A paint, stain, varnish, lacquer or other finish that provides a protective coating over a a substrate (wood or vinyl).
DRIER: A material used in a stain/paint that enables it to cure.
DRY TO TOUCH: Drying stage of a coating at which it has hardened/cured enough that it may be touched lightly without any of it adhering to the finger.
E.P.A.: Some stains have the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency.
FADING: Lightening of the stain/paint’s color, usually caused by exposure to light, heat or the weather.
FILM FORMING: A stain/paint which lays on top of the substrate (wood) and forms a film on the surface.
FLAKE OFF: Pieces of paint film or undercoat falling off a substrate, usually due to poor adhesion.
FUNGICIDE: An ingredient used in some coatings and sealants to help keep mildew and other fungi from growing on the surface.
CHINKING: A water-based, synthetic textured sealant like mortar and has considerable elasticity and flexibility.
CHINK PAINT: An elastomeric, texture coating for renewing or changing the color of chinking.
GASKET TAPE: A closed-cell, medium density (8lb.) PVC foam with pressure-sensitive adhesive on one side, gasket tape is installed between log courses during construction to form a uniform seal between the logs. It is flexible and provides a high performance seal against dust, light, air and moisture during seasoning of the logs.
GRIP STRIP: A chemically inert closed-cell polyethylene that is shaped (3 sided) to fit between log courses to form a flat surface for the application of chink or caulk.
HIGH SOLIDS: Stain/paints that have more pigment and resin (film formers).
HVLP: High volume low pressure spray equipment which delivers stain/paint at a low pressure of no more than 10 PSI ( at the air cap) but with a greater volume of air. Produces higher transfer efficiency, less bounce back and overspray.
IRON TANNATES: Iron tannates form dark colored discolorations that can appear as streaking spots or large dark blotches, sometimes covering an entire wall. This process may take some time to occur resulting in tannate discolorations showing up several months after a stain has been applied. Bleach residue is responsible for most problems related to iron tannates but any product with high pH will do the same thing. That is why thoroughly rinsing any cleaner off the surface of wood before staining is crucial.
LATEX PAINTS/STAINS: Latex paint is a general term that covers all paints/stains that use synthetic Polymers such as acrylic, vinyl acrylic, styrene acrylic, i.e., as binders. The term is applied to most water-based paints. They look milky when wet and clear when dry.
LIGNIN: A organic substance binding cells, fibers and vessels which constitute wood and the lignified elements in plants, as in straw.
LOG GAP CAPS: Pre-cut log gap caps reduce air infiltration where round logs meet window and door trim.
MATTE FINISH: A stain/paint with a flat appearance; no sheen.
MILDEWCIDE: A chemical agent, often included in exterior stains, paints and caulk, that discourages mildew growth on the painted surface.
MILDEW/MOLD/ALGAE: Mold, mildew (a form of mold) and algae are colonies of living organisms that grow on the surface of many materials including wood. Their color rangesfrom white to black and colors in between. They are typically round with well defined edges. It forms most often on areas that tend to be damp and receive little or no sunlight. Also, if the substrate (wood) is not completely dry prior to applying some stains or paints, damp wood may lead to growth of mold.
NANO: As related to stains, finishes which have very small molecules (Nano particles) leading to deeper penetration into the substrate (wood), thereby sealing and protecting the surface for a longer period of time.
NATURAL LOOK OF WOOD: The term “natural” as associated with wood finishes (stains) may mean no color (clear), an actual color of a product or texture of natural wood.
P H: pH stands for the power of hydrogen. In chemistry, pH is a numeric scale used to specify the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution (water). pH is important as related to logs/log siding when wood is cleaned. After any cleaner is rinsed from the wood, a pH strip should be used to measure the pH. Use a pH strip to catch rinse water at the bottom of the wall. If the pH strip measures from 6.5 – 7.5 the wall has been rinsed well. If not, rinse again and measure until normal. If the walls are not rinsed sufficiently, problems may arise that affect how the wood accepts the stain. Also, discoloration of the walls may occur weeks after a stain has been applied.
POLYMER: Synthetic organic materials used as resins, I.E. in wood finishes and plastics.
PIGMENT: Tint (color)
PICTURE FRAME EFFECT: Fading and graying over time of interior wood walls and wood flooring where pictures and rugs have been placed. Indirect UV exposure darkens the lignin in wood contributing to the picture frame effect.
RESIN: A clear or semi-clear part of a stain/paint film which gives solids or film build. Resin gives the finish shine, gloss, durability, adhesion, handling and drying characteristics.
SEALANT: In the log home industry the term sealant commonly means caulk or chinking.
SEMI-TRANSPARENT STAIN: Stain that alters the natural color of the wood, yet allows the grain and texture to show through.
SHEETING: Refers to the way water runs off water-based stains/finishes. They typically do not have paraffin and do not “bead” as water does on oil-based finishes.
SOLIDS: The part of the paint, pigments and resin which do not evaporate.
STAIN: A partly transparent coating that can color wood without obscuring the grain and/or the texture.
SUBSTRATE: Any surface to which a coating or sealant is applied.
TACK FREE: Time in the drying of a paint/stain when it is not sticky but not completely cured.
TACKY: The stage in the drying process at which the stain/paint is sticky when lightly touched.
TOP COAT: As related to wood finishes, the final clear coat required with some family of products, such as Perma-Chink Systems Lifeline Advance Top Coat. NO top coat should be applied over a stain (wood finish) unless designated by that product line.
TRANS OXIDE PIGMENTS: As related to use on wood, high performance transparent iron oxide pigments with excellent UV absorption, transparency and weathering stability.
TREE RESIN BLEED: Referred to as sap, pitch or resin that bleeds out of logs as hot weather approaches. The resin is produced mostly by softwood species like spruce, pine and fir. There is no way to outwardly determine if a log will bleed resin or not. Once bleeding begins, it is virtually impossible to halt the flow of sticky resin. It will burst through coatings and form a sticky mass on top of the finish. This process may continue for years.
UV: Exposure to direct or indirect sun.
VICOSITY: Determined by allowing a measured amount to flow through an orifice and measuring the time it takes for the amount to flow.
V.O.C: Volatile Organic Compound refers to any carbon compound that evaporates under standard test conditions. Essentially, all paint and caulk solvents except water are classified as VOCs. Some government agencies are limiting the amount of VOCs permitted in paint because of concerns about environmental and health effects.
WATERBORNE: A coating containing more than 5% water in its volatile fraction.
WET ON DAMP APPLICATION: Wet on damp means to apply a liberal, uniform coat onto the wood, and then within 10 – 15 minutes return to that section and apply a second coat while the first coat is still slightly wet or damp.
Maintenance Coordinator & Project Manager