What Basics Should I Know?

If you’re reading this, there is a good chance that you’re looking into buying a log home. Maybe, you already own one and are looking for some refreshment? No matter if you’re prospecting buyer or a long-time log homeowner, There is always something to learn!

Let’s start with the very basis of the home and define what exactly is wood? To put it simply, wood is an organic, hard, and fibrous material that makes up the largest majority of a tree body. The wood is taken to lumbermills where it is processed into the different types of logs or boards.

So why do we use wood anyway?
It is rare to find a material as versatile as wood, with uses that range from fuel to housing, paper and even instruments! As a renewable resource, wood is an excellent choice to use for a construction material.

How do we maintain our log home?
Log home maintenance is fairly straight forward and easy to follow, if taken care of annually. Essentially it all comes down to keeping a finish, clean. Making sure to wash the logs every year with a detergent such as Log Wash or Mean Green, will help keep any contaminants away from your logs. After cleaning your logs, inspect the finish for any spots that may be peeling or deteriorating and reapply stain/clear coat.

How does the weather effect my log home?
Whether the sun is shining, the rain is pouring, or the wind is blowing, your log home is roughing the elements. Battling the sun’s Ultraviolet (UV) rays is extremely stressful for a log. UV rays cause a breakdown of the cell structure within the wood, this is one of the main reasons why wood discolors. In addition to UV rays breaking down cell structures, water speeds up the breakdown process by “washing” away the decayed cells, exposing new cells to the elements. Water also causes expansion and contraction of the wood, which can lead to cracking and exposing even more to the weather! Many tend to overlook the invisible force that makes the trees sway from side to side. The wind is powerful enough to move entire structures, and, yet we pay little attention to how much little damage the wind causes over time. Small particles of dirt and sand get picked up by the wind, carried over vast distances, right into the side of your log home.

How do I protect my log home from the weather?
With each log home having a unique location and design, protecting a log home from the weather varies but not greatly. For log homes that are constantly exposed to direct sunlight, choosing a stain with more pigment allows for more protection from harmful UV rays. Those that live in areas with heavy precipitation, may notice more cracks/checks in their home's logs. This is due to the moisture content of the log changing, expanding as moisture builds and contracting as it dries. Be sure to keep a close eye out for any checks that develop and ensure they are fully dried and sealed. 

How do I control various types of insects?
Typically, we see log homeowners having issues with wood boring beetles and/or termites. These insects are small, but we should never underestimate the damage they are capable of. In order to keep wood boring insects under control, it is important to keep logs dry. This will limit their food source and discourage them from wanting to make your home, theirs. Borates are another great way of helping keep wood boring insects out of your logs. When applied directly to bare wood, borate solutions soak in and are then consumed by the insect larvae, ceasing the reproductive cycle.
One of the more dreaded insects log home owners encounter are carpenter bees. Carpenter bees very closely resemble bumblebees. Unlike their bumbling cousins, carpenter bees tend to nest in wood. This can be big problems for log homeowners! Carpenter bees do not actually eat the wood, making borates ineffective against them. If you encounter carpenter bees around your log home, it’s recommended to call a professional exterminator.