4 Steps to Safely Restoring Your Cabin or Log Home

There are countless benefits to restoring a historic cabin or log home, but most people generally do it for two reasons: to save money, or for the sake of sentimentality. Maybe it was your great-grandparents home, or maybe you’re just starting a family and want to restore a log home because it will be cheaper than buying new. Regardless of the reason, restoring an old home can be a big undertaking, but the benefits definitely outweigh the costs. A log home is one that is built to last you for decades. Since you’ve decided to restore that old log home, here are a few tips to remember in the process:
  1. You’ll want to start with a basic inspection of your home. What areas are rotting, seem moldy, or have lost their structural integrity? Areas you should focus on are the corners and the roof. These are the biggest indicators of how much work you’re going to have to do. As log homes settle over time, sometimes the roof can push the top logs of the house walls outwards, which is an issue you’ll have to correct in your restoration. Additionally, the state of the corners is a big indicator as to the state of the rest of your home. Since they often see the most wear and tear, the better they look, the better the prospects are for your restoration.

2. Next, you should inspect the interior of your home, paying special attention to windows and doors, and making sure to look for any sign of water damage or leaking. As many older homes do, your log home will have settled over the years, which could put off, displace, or shift entryways and window areas. You may have to insert new door jams and replace old windows and doors to get them to function properly. The other big aspect of your interior inspection should be for leaks. Leaks can be dangerous in log homes as they often lead to mold and rot—things that if discovered quickly are easier deal with, but can become bigger issues if allowed to persist. If you find any leaks, make sure to patch up and fix the area in question and then treat any wood that may have been affected by the water.

3. After you’ve done both interior and exterior inspections and fixed any and all structural issues, you can move on to the next step, cleaning the house. There are two ways you can go about this. You can opt for either a pressure washer or a media blaster. Sometimes people choose the media blaster in place of the pressure washer because they are unsettled by the water that can be potentially harmful to a log home.  

- If you do go for the pressure washer, make sure you choose a wood cleaner. Wood cleaners are specifically balanced for log homes and will not destroy the outside of your home, or compromise the integrity of the wood. Also, make sure you rent a lower pressure washer—around 1500 psi—because a higher pressure washer is sure to destroy the wood of your home.

- A media blaster is a great alternative because it removes all chemicals from the cleaning process and has less room for error. The downside to a media blaster is they can be a bit more difficult to obtain. Either way, cleaning the exterior of your home will give it an updated and restored look that will last for years to come.

4. After your home is clean, mold, and moss free, you’ll want to wait a few days until it completely dries out before you apply a stain and sealant. The stain will work to keep your home clean, and the sealant will make sure your home stays insulated from the elements. Our favorite wood finish is Ultra-7, a two coat stain that will beautify your restored home while also protecting it from harmful UV rays and other damaging elements. Additionally, we recommend Energy Seal to recaulk and chink your log home. Perma-Chink’s most popular sealant, it’s guaranteed to keep howling winds out and heat in.

We hope your log home restoration goes well and would love to answer any questions you may have. Whether you’re comparing different products, are looking for more tips, or would like some references, Timeless Wood Care Products has got you covered. Give us a call at (231) 798-8580 or contact us online today, we’d love to help!