Log homes are given a protective treatment upon build completion to preserve the integrity of the logs. Overtime the protections break down due to the elements and will need to be restored.
To properly maintain your log home a protective product will need to be applied every 3-5 years pending the exposure to the elements, maintenance throughout the year, and climate. In keeping a proper maintenance schedule, you can significantly save on maintenance and restoration costs and avoid unnecessary expenses such as log rot repairs and issues related to wood boring insects. Here at Log & Timber Solutions we put a mildewcide and insecticide in all our topcoats of stain. Be sure to use the correct products with the different types of stain.
TYPES OF STAIN
Today there are 3 major categories of stain and they each provide protections in completely different ways. There are Film Forming Oils, Deep penetrating oils, and Latex or Acrylic based Stains (water based). Please know that there are now a few hybrids and others out there. We will stick with the majority of proven protection systems. The differences in stains are especially important when switching from one type of stain to another as additional preparation is almost always required. We highly recommend talking to a professional before choosing stain. Typically we recommend you stick with what you currently have as the most economical option unless you are unhappy with it or you have a non breathable product. There is almost an unlimited number of scenarios between, current type of stain, current stain condition, desired type of stain, types of preparation, desired look at completion, etc... Be very cautious if someone tells you they recommend the same product and/or process for every log home, we hear this all too often. We have seen stain as early as 6 months from application start to peel and fall off. We are preferred applicators for high performance stains in each of these categories and thoroughly understand the benefits and disadvantages of each. We do this everyday and would love to help you to choose an appropriate product for your scenario. Just give us a call today at 828-585-7472.
Film Forming Oils- such as Sashco Transformation and Sikkens Cetol 123 (Now PPG Proluxe) , form a protective barrier on the surface of the wood. They have a very high level of protection until the film is wore away. Film Forming Oils are considered the least risky choice if you are not sure what type of stain is on your home currently, however it is always recommended to get back to a know substrate. Film forming oils almost always have a sheen. When first applied, they can look almost like furniture. They typically provide the most "glossy" appearance if that is what is your desired effect, please know that latex systems have a "Gloss" option as well. Film forming oils are typically a two coat application process. The downside to film forming oils is that if they are not properly maintained, restoration costs can be significantly more expensive than other types of stains. When the outer layers of wood fibers get UV damage and you try to apply a film forming oil over them, it is typical for these fibers to turn black. When this happens you need to remove the damaged wood fibers if you do not want a darker stain. This can be done with an osborne brush, sander, or by media blasting. These methods are significantly more labor intensive and costly. Film Forming oils can also "wash off" in high exposure areas over time, such as around windows and door trim or where gutters are leaking.
DEEP PENETRATING OILS-such as CTA Q8 Log Oil and Woodguard are exactly that. They penetrate significantly deeper into the wood and therefore provide some protection for a longer time. They include a copper additive component that permanently bonds to the wood fibers, and prevent wood boring insects. These deep penetrating oils also help prevent rapid moisture loss that can cause checking, and for that reason some can be classified as a preservative. Deep penetrating oils are typically a one coat system and can be a great option for rustic, aged, or historic structures. Most recommend a second application after 12 months, before starting your 5ish year maintenance intervals. Deep penetrating oils are recommended on log profiles where there is a significant amount of horizontal surfaces, such as live edge log stacked cabins. Deep Penetrating Stains are also a great choice when a rustic, flat look is desired. Q8 is also one of the few products that can be used on both your logs and your decks.
Sashco's Capture and Cascade Log Stain System vs. The Competition
STAINING INTERVALS AND SCHEDULING
LATEX/ACRYLIC STAINS- Latex based stains are a water based system, such as Sashco's Capture/Cascade or Permachink's Ultra-2/Lifeline. You typically put two coats of a stain (Capture or Ultra-2) which has your pigment and the protection agents, followed by a clear coat (Cascade or Lifeline), which protects your pigment product. If you are media blasting as your preparation process then a primer product is also recommended before applying pigment, which would make it a 4 coat application process. Latex coatings of today have improved significantly and allow your wood to breath. Historically, latex protections have had a bad reputation because they would trapping moisture in your wood. This issue has been virtually eliminated with the high performance breathable latex coatings of today. Latex system are a lot less likely to have discoloration as long as you maintain the clear topcoat. Latex coatings are more expensive to apply initially, as they are typically a 3-4 coat application process. However, after the initial application, your maintenance is typically only 1 coat, touching up the clear topcoat every 3-5 years. You can also apply 1 coat of stain and then the clear coat if you desire to touch up the coloring on your logs. Latex systems if maintained routinely can keep your log home looking like new for a very long time.
Almost all stain manufacturers will tell you that you need to re-apply protections to your log homes every 3-5 years pending exposure. Some products recommend a second coat after 1 year before starting the 3-5 year interval, while some products can not be re-applied within the first year. Be sure to account for this when choosing a stain as the number of coats will directly effect the labor cost of your project.
KEEP IT IN THE "EASY ZONE": If in doubt, do maintenance early. It is almost always more cost effective to apply protections a season early than to wait and take the chance of your protections burning through and causing adverse effects on your log fibers themselves. This then becomes restoration vs maintenance, and costs increase significantly. It could require osbone burshing, or blasting your entire house vs a simple wash prior to staining to get your log back to the desired condition/coloring. It is not uncommon for restoration costs to be double or even triple the cost of what maintenance could have been only the prior year.
We highly recommend being proactive and schedule early. It is not uncommon for reputable companies to be scheduled many months in advance if not the entire year. Typically at Log and Timber Solutions, we have 3-6+ months of work under contract at all times pending the time of year and weather. As you are probably aware, there are not many companies who do this work, and it is even harder to find those that do it properly. Keep in mind is is always easier to push back a service vs trying to find someone to do it last minute.