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The sun and Mother Nature have their ways of fading and deteriorating the exterior surfaces of log homes. Whether yours is made with vinyl, aluminum, steel, cement, or wood, it needs some care to keep it looking new and fresh. The good news is there are several excellent ways to maintain the wood walls and trim. The main issues we want to discuss are:
- Reducing/eliminating gaps that let hot and cold air into the house
- Reducing/eliminating log rot, mold, and decay
- Maintaining the beauty of the log walls and trims
Homeowners can accomplish these tasks with the right preparation and desire to do quality work. Professionals can take on the project if you don’t have the time or inclination.
Sealing the Wood Joints and Gaps
There are several options for sealing wood joints and gaps with caulking. This material comes in different materials and colors to match log siding and stain colors. Caulk is a flexible substance that can be used to fill in cracks and gaps in construction materials and between different materials. It’s an ideal product to use around windows, doors, siding, vents, ducts, and joints.
The labels on the products listed above will tell you how to match them with the materials you are caulking. Large gaps may require foam sealants to fill them.
Staining and Finishing the Wood
The next weatherproofing step is to stain the siding, trim, and corner logs as soon as the house is built, or within the first week. The product label and your supplier will let you know how to apply it and what tools to use.
Dark stain colors typically provide better protection because they have more pigmentation. Lighter shades tend to be affected more by the sunlight and may need more attention. It’s a good idea to stain inside walls in rooms that are exposed to more moisture, such as bathrooms and saunas.
Create Larger Roof Overhangs
Moisture can cause substantial damage to log homes unless you plan to reduce and hopefully eliminate it in your plans. One of the best ways to divert rain and melting snow away from the walls and foundation is to build large roof overhangs. This creation is especially helpful by allowing water to fall farther away from the house if you do not install gutters and downspouts.
Large overhangs cost more but are a double blessing because they help prevent harsh sunlight damage to the logs and by providing some shade in the summer. It’s best to install gutters and strategically located downspouts. A well-designed roof structure will eliminate premature damage, reduce maintenance costs, and keep the roof structure strong.
“The sun and Mother Nature have their ways of fading and deteriorating the exterior surfaces of log homes. The good news is there are several excellent ways to maintain the wood walls and trim.”
Creating and Sealing the Foundation Securely
Discuss the best ways to construct and seal the foundation of your log home from potential moisture damage with your builder. A properly laid foundation will not transfer moisture into the base layer of wood plates or log siding. Weatherproofing these areas will also reduce water seepage that might cause mildew or mold.
Placing the right type and amount of insulation in the base of your house acts as a moisture barrier. Your contractor will understand this process because log siding is installed on conventional wall framing like traditional homes.
Adequate Ventilation Is Important
One area that’s sometimes overlooked is adequate ventilation throughout a log home. This part of house construction is important year-round even if you only occupy it seasonally or on weekends. The benefits of adequate gable, attic, eave, and basement ventilation include:
- Eliminate or at least reduce moisture, heat, and pressure that can build up
- Reduce the chance of wood shrinking, expanding, or cracking
- Experience more airflow for creating a cooler home in the summer
Your contractor will know whether to use natural air, wind-powered, or electric vents.
Maintaining the Log Walls
Even the best-made log homes need maintenance to keep them looking beautiful for generations. Maintenance is necessary because of the effects of the elements, the quality of the wood siding, the materials used, and how well they are applied. Here are some ideas:
- Each fall and spring check the outside to see if the walls need cleaning.
- Check for dust, debris, pollen, insects, and any damage especially on the south side.
- Clean the siding, trim, and corner logs when needed. Clean from the bottom-up and rinse from the top-down to keep an even amount of cleaning solution on the surfaces.
- Check for any loose caulking and replace it where needed.
- Restain according to the manufacturer’s specifications on a schedule.
If you don’t have the time or desire to weatherproof your log home, hire professionals to do the work. Don’t neglect these procedures or your walls will experience discoloration and damage over the years.