A Step-by-Step Guide to Applying Lifeline Interior Finishes

As most log homeowners know, log homes need a little extra TLC when it comes to finishes. Since wood is porous, it requires specially formulated finish that will cover and adhere to the material completely. What is good, however, is once you get your interior finishes up on the walls, there's very little maintenance to do after. Log homes are generally a low-maintenance style home, and after you've finished your interior finishes, there's little you'll have to worry about in the future. Most importantly, so long as you apply your interior finishes properly, you'll have beautiful interior wood walls to look at for years to come. They'll be easy to clean, low maintenance, and require little to no touch-ups in the future. Here at Timeless Wood Care Products, we're proud to carry the entire line of Lifeline Interior Finishes by Perma-Chink, a high quality line of interior finish products designed specifically for log homes. When you apply Lifeline Interior Finishes to your log home's interior, know that you'll never have to worry about fading, chipping, or dirt sticking. It's a quality product line guaranteed to keep your home looking great for years to come. If you're working on choosing interior finishes for your log home, we highly recommend Lifeline Interior Finishes, and we'll even provide you with this complete step-by-step guide to finishing your log home's interior. Here's everything you need to know about applying Lifeline Interior Finishes to your home, to ensure you get the perfect finish on your log home:

Step 1: Choose a color

You can't start painting until you've decided what color you plan on using. It's common for log homeowners to pick a clear, uncolored stain that preserves the natural look of the wood, but there are also many colored stain options available. Often, in the construction of a log home, there are some natural color variations in wood, even if your entire home is built from the same species of wood. In order to make those variations more uniform, you may choose a stain with a bit of color. It's good to know that if you choose a pigmented stain, you'll likely have to do a few more coats of finish than without color, but in the end, you'll have a lovely, uniform look across the entire interior of your log home.

Step 2: Prepare the interior walls for painting

Regardless of if you're going to apply a pigmented stain or just a clear finish, your interior walls and ceilings absolutely must be cleaned prior to finishing. Wood is a natural material, and thus easily picks up dirt and other particles that can interfere with the stain's ability to adhere, and go on smoothly. If you'd like to have smooth walls before you start the process, sanding is really your only option. You can buff interior surfaces with 100 grit or finer sandpaper, or 120 grit Osborn Brushes. After that, it's time to get to cleaning.

Pick your favorite Log Wash, and stick to the following steps:

  • Mix one or two cups of Log Wash Concentrate with one gallon of warm water in an available pail or bucket.
  • Apply the Log Wash solution to walls and interior surfaces with a rag or sponge. Allow Log Wash to sit on the surface for about 10 minutes.
  • Use a clean rag or sponge and clean water to wipe Log Wash off the surface. Make sure you're rinsing the sponge or rag in the pail of water often, to ensure you're not just moving dirt around. It's also a good idea to swap water in the pail out for clean water every once in a while.
  • Let all surfaces dry completely before applying the first coat of finish.

Step 3: Apply your first coat of finish

Natural Finish If you're planning on leaving your walls a natural color, we recommend using a bare wood primer like Prelude Clear Water-Based Wood Primer. This product helps seal porous wood surfaces so that you'll use less topcoat, and it also provides UV protection to the wood as it contains UV Boost. This helps wood maintain its natural color even after continual exposure to sunlight. Pigmented Finish If you're planning on applying a stain with a bit of color, be sure to add a dose of UV boost to the first coat of stain. UV Boost only works when it's applied to bare wood, which is why it should be included in the first coat, and it works to counter the effect of UV rays, by mitigating some of the fading that happens to wood and stain colors naturally over time.

Applying the first coat:

  • Remove lid from the pail of finish. Stir contents for at least 5 minutes. We recommend using an electric drill and paint mixer to ensure that all pigment is uniformly dispersed and that no flatting agent remains on the bottom of the pail. Mixing is required for all Lifeline product, even the clear ones like Prelude, Acrylic Gloss, and Satin.
  • If using a pigmented stain, it's a good idea to "box" containers as they get close to empty. When one pail has only about ¼ of paint remaining, pour about ¼ of the paint from the next, mixed up container into it, and use the mixed stain to continue. This will make double sure that there's no color difference as you go from one container to the next. Note: This is only for pigmented stains. Boxing isn't necessary for clear Lifeline products.
  • Use a high-quality brush or HVLP sprayer to apply the first coat. It's good to start painting at the top of the wall, and work your way down. This ensures you don't have to set a ladder against wet finish, and allows you to work out any drips that might occur as you go. It's important to back-brush the finish as you move along.
  • Work on just one or two courses of logs at a time, and refrain from stopping in the middle of a log, which will leave you with a lap mark that's difficult to hide.
  • Know that Lifeline finishes are meant to go on in very thin coats. Try not to flood the surface with the finish, and continue brushing until you've spread the finish out as far as it will go.
  • Again, continue applying with a wet edge until you come to a natural stopping point like the butt end of a log or a window frame, so as to avoid lap marks.
  • Continue applying stain, working down the wall, until you've completed the wall.
  • If you're applying pigmented interior stain, allow the finish to dry completely before deciding to apply an additional coat. Color will change as it dries, so wait to make a decision until you have the final, dried color.
  • Do not sand or buff Lifeline interior color coats, or Prelude natural color primer.

Step 4: Apply Topcoat

Once you're satisfied with the color of your stain, or after you've applied a natural color primer, apply at least one coat of topcoat. It's very important to apply a topcoat over wood interior finishes because the polymers used to achieve the flexible and excellent adhesion to wood in stains can make the product slightly soft, which means they'll pick up dirt and dust more easily. Topcoats like Lifeline Acrylic Gloss or Satin and Sure Shine make the surfaces slick and smooth, ensuring they're resistant to dirt pick-up, and easy to clean. Always follow Lifeline interior, Lifeline Accents, or Prelude with a topcoat like Lifeline Acrylic Gloss or Satin or Sure Shine.

If you've chosen Lifeline Acrylic Gloss or Satin for your topcoat, follow the same application steps as above:

  • Wait until the color stain or Prelude is completely dry to apply topcoat.
  • Be sure to apply topcoat from the top of the wall, and work your way down, just as you applied the first few coats.
  • Once the first coat of Acrylic Gloss or Satin has been applied and has dried completely, the surface may be sanded smooth with a fine sandpaper.
  • Sanding will not be necessary between subsequent coats.
  • If Sure Shine Polyurethane Premium Finish is to be used as the topcoat, please read the next section.
  • Clean brushes and equipment with soap and water.

Applying Sure Shine Polyurethane Premium Finish:

If you've chosen to use Sure Shine Polyurethane Premium Finish as your interior topcoat, please read the following steps, as it does require a bit different application process than other Lifeline interior finish products.
  • Remove lid from pail, and gently stir contents with a paint paddle. DO NOT use paint mixer or shake Sure Shine container. Shaking or vigorous stirring can entrap air within product, which will create unsightly bubbles during application. Make sure that none of the flatting agent remains on the bottom of the pail.
  • Apply Sure Shine with a high quality brush using slow, even strokes. You can also use a short bristle paint pad, but take care to apply Sure Shine slowly and evenly, or bubbles will appear in the film, resulting in a rough surface. Sure Shine allows for a thicker coat to be applied than Acrylic Gloss or Satin. You will still need to back-brush, but use smooth, slow strokes.
  • After the first coat has dried completely, it may be sanded smooth with a 180 grit or higher sandpaper. It is imperative that the surface is completely dry, or sanding will generate little pills of finish, and make a mess of the surface.
  • Sanding is not necessary between subsequent coats.
  • After application is finished, clean brushes and equipment with soap and water.

Step 5: Maintenance of Interior Surfaces

If you take great care to follow the above steps, maintaining the interior of your log home will be easy. You'll only need to wash walls and interior surfaces about once a year. Follow these simple steps:
  • Wipe surfaces with a rag dampened with the Log Wash solution.
  • Go back over surfaces with a rag and clean water.
  • To avoid water spots, wipe surface again with a dry rag.
We hope this step-by-step guide to applying Lifeline Interior Finishes helps you get your log home looking spectacular. If you ever have any more questions regarding the application of Lifeline Interior Finishes, or if you need more finish to complete your project, be sure to check in with Timeless Wood Care Products. We stock the entire line of Lifeline Interior Finishes, and would be happy to answer any questions you may have about the product. Check out our online store for all your log home interior finishing needs.