Beginners Guide to Chinking A Log Home

 Logs and chinking go together much like porcelain and gold. One material applied to the other to create a stunning piece. Each accenting the other, each enhancing the whole. They form a perfect harmony the never seems to cease. They are a work of art, a reflection of the maker's skill and a tribute to the beauty of nature's will.

So, how does one create this for themselves? 


 Start off by inspecting the gaps between the logs ensuring the log's surface is clean of and dirt, dust or any other debris. If necessary, remove any old chinking material. While inspecting the logs, you may also want to check for any rot and/or structural issues. After the logs are clean of debris and are dry, we are ready to get started!

Backer Rod

 For new construction log homes, first determine if backer rod is necessary. Typically, any gap over 1/4" will require some sort of backer rod. For any void over 3/4", it is recommended to use Grip-Strip

 If you are replacing chinking material, ensure the backer rod underneath is not damaged. 

 Installing backer rod is quite simple. Insert the foam into the gap with a backer rod inserter kit, a blunt tool, or even with your fingers. Make sure the backer rod is 3/8" from the surface of the logs.

Choosing The Right Equipment

 Depending on the scale of your project, you may need different equipment. A small job may only require an average caulking gun, while a larger project could call for a full size chink pump. There are many different options when it comes to chink dispensers. Consider factors like size, capacity, and durability when choosing one. Investing in a good quality chinking gun is crucial for maintaining your log home’s integrity and energy efficiency.

  Regardless of the size of the dispenser, a trusty trowel will always be the leading edge of a chink joint.

Sealant Application

 Now that the logs are cleaned and any necessary backer rod is in place, we are finally ready to start sealing. It is typically recommended to tape off the area that is being sealed, as this helps prevent excess material from being an issue during later cleanup. There are several ways to apply chinking material, depending on the equipment being used and the area being sealed. When using tubes or bulk loading guns with plastic nozzles, cut the nozzle to the desired size. This will typically be slightly smaller than width of the void being filled. Other bulk loading guns may use metal nozzles that are predetermined sizes. Once the nozzle is cut to size, start by lightly holding the nozzle against the backer rod at a 45 degree angle and slowly applying the sealant in 4' to 5' sections.


 The sealant is applied and now it is time to smooth it out. Using a spray bottle, containing a mixture of water and alcohol, lightly wet the chinking material. This will allow the sealant to be more malleable, making it easier to work with. Once the material has been wet, using a flat tool lightly smooth the material. Ensure the sealant spreads evenly between the two logs. Be sure to check for any lumps, bubbles or voids within the sealant, and smooth accordingly. The material should smooth to roughly 3/8" in thickness, as determined by the backer rod placed earlier. 

 Be sure to only do one row at a time. 

Clean Up

 Your project is finally done and ready for the curing process. Your tools are full of sealant and need to be cleaned for next time. Chinking material can usually be cleaned with a soap and water mixture. If rusting is a concern, mineral spirits will tear right through the sealant and quickly evaporate away. Ensuring your tools are properly cleaned will help expand their usefulness.

 For any chinking that may have escaped the previously taped off area, give a quick scrub with a warm soapy water mixture. 

 Final Thoughts

 Chinking material can take 3-8 weeks to fully cure depending on temperature and humidity. Ensure this time will be above 40 degrees and mainly dry. If precipitation is expected, be sure to cover any exposed material. 

 When properly applied, chinking will not only help protect your log home but also, add to the beauty of the home.