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Timeless Wood Care

  • Finding and Blocking Air Leaks For an Energy Efficient Log Home

    From Tech Tip: Finding Air Leaks

    Winter arrived quickly this year, and if you're like us, you might still be finishing up some of your log home winterizing chores. From pulling in the garden hose to digging out snow shovels and winter gear, it's just about time to turn on the heat and curl up for the snowy season. To make sure your log home is as energy efficient as possible this winter, you may want to add checking for air leaks to your log home maintenance list this winter.

    Though log homes are naturally energy efficient, as your home settles and ages, it can occasionally develop minor cracks in the chinking, and around windows and doors that can lead to air leaks. Though they're usually minor, air leaks can let out the heat you're using to keep your home comfortable, and they can pull in cold air, causing draughts and chilly spots in your house. To keep your log home energy efficient this winter, you'll want to find and block those air leaks. Luckily, early winter is the best time to find them!

    How to Find Air Leaks

    There are a number of ways to seek out air leaks, and they're actually easiest to find when it's about 20° colder outdoors than indoors. This is because you can easily feel with your hands the places in walls and around windows and doors that are letting in the cold air.

    Warm Water Method

    The first and least expensive way to find air leaks is to simply go around your house with a bucket of warm water, a bit of chalk, and a ladder. Dip your hand in the warm water, and wave your wet hand past the interior walls slowly, about 6 inches from actually touching the wall. You should be able to feel any cold air leaks coming through the walls or windows. Mark air leaks with a spot of chalk, so you can come back and fix them up later.

    Box Fan Method

    If you have a box fan, an even more effective way to identify air leaks in your log home is to turn it into an exhaust fan. Place the fan in a window or door, blowing outwards. Cover any remaining openings in the window or door with plastic sheeting. The fan will draw any cold air coming from air leaks into your home, making it easier to find them. Again, mark any found air leaks with chalk, so you can repair them later.

    While this method can cool down your house quickly, it's better to have a chilly home for a few hours than to waste a lot of money and energy heating a home that's letting your warm air escape all winter.

    Infrared Camera

    The most effective way to identify air leaks in a log home is to use an infrared camera. Though these can be pricey, they show you exactly where air leaks are coming from, and make it easy for you to tell when you've effectively blocked a leak, or if cold air is still coming through. If you have an infrared camera, you need only to turn it on and pan it around your house. Any change in color will identify the parts of your home that are warm, and which are significantly cooler.

    How to Block Air Leaks in Log Homes

    Now that you've identified the problem areas in your log home, it's time to put a stop to them before winter settles in for good. The best way to seal off air leaks is to take a two-pronged approach: first, sealing the exterior, and then caulking interior leaks where necessary.

    Sealing Log Home Exterior

    To stop air leaks in their tracks, go to the source. Air leaks start at the exterior of your log home and work their way inside. If it's not too cold out yet, or you get a couple of warm days over 40° F, you can use Energy Seal or Conceal to seal out the cold weather. This will also help avoid any water leaks that can occur if the air leak gets bigger.

    Maintenance Caulking Interior

    If it's too cold to seal the exterior of your home, you can work to caulk problem areas from the interior as well. Simply apply caulk to the leak to temporarily block it. Then, when you have a chance, you can seal the exterior as well for a more permanent fix.  

    Always be sure to double check that your sealing has effectively blocked an air leak. Sometimes it can be difficult to locate the exterior side of an air leak, as they can be as far as 7 inches from the leak on the inside of our log home. If you can, work with one person indoors, and one person outdoors to make sure that your exterior sealing is actually stopping the leak indoors.  

    Now that you've blocked the air leaks in your log home, you can rest comfortably this winter knowing your log home is as efficient, and well-heated as possible. And if you need any supplies to finish the job, from caulk to exterior seal, be sure to check out the wide selection at Timeless Wood Care Products!

  • The Anatomy of A Tree — And Why It Matters for Log Homeowners

    People in the log home construction industry often throw around terms like hardwood and softwood, but there isn't much information out there that really breaks down the differences and educates people about the parts of a tree we use for the log homes we find so beautiful and timeless. In case you've been wondering about what really makes up a log home, and what parts of a tree are used in the construction of your log home, here's exactly what you need to know.

    We'll start with the most common question: What's the difference between hardwood and softwood?

    Hardwood

    The term "hardwood" refers to wood and logs that come from trees that shed their leaves in the winter. Maple, oak, poplar, and other trees with broad leaves that usually drop off in the winter are considered hardwood trees. On average, hardwood trees have a higher density and hardness than softwoods do.

    Softwood

    Softwood trees are perhaps better known as evergreens. Most softwood that you see in home construction comes from trees with needles that remain on the tree even through winter. Spruce, pine, fir, and hemlock are all great examples of softwood trees commonly used in log homes.

    Generally, softwood trees are softer and have a lower density than hardwood trees, but it's important to remember that hardness of all wood types is measured on a spectrum, and it's possible to have a very hard softwood tree that's denser than a very soft hardwood tree. Measuring and understanding hardness across different tree species can be a bit confusing, but now at least you know the basic differences between hardwood and softwood.

    Anatomy of the Tree

    In the construction of a log home, only certain parts of a tree are used. To understand which parts of the tree are used in construction, and why, it's important to understand what the parts are in the first place. Every tree is made up of at least four discernable layers. (Most trees have more than this, but these four general layers are the most relevant to the log home building process). Those four layers are called bark, cambium, sapwood, and heartwood. Each layer serves a different purpose for the tree and has varying degrees of usefulness for log home construction. Let's dive into each layer:

    Bark

    This isn't exactly rocket science, but the bark is the outer layer of the tree. It's usually very hard and durable, and it functions to protect the tree from all sorts of potential hazards, like insects, fire, and abrasions, and it helps the tree keep moisture inside the trunk. Think of bark sort of like human skin, keeping the complicated inner systems separated from the outside.

    When it comes to construction, bark is always removed from logs before they're used to build a home.

    Cambium

    Cambium is a thin layer just below the bark that facilitates the majority of a tree's growth. Cambium must also be removed from a tree before the wood can be used for construction, because it retains a lot of moisture, and provides an attractive home for insects and other pests. Without the cambium and bark layers, wood will dry much more quickly and will be less susceptible to insect infestations.

    Sapwood

    After the cambium, you'll find the living sapwood within a tree. If you cut out a cross section of a tree, sapwood would make up the majority of a tree's rings. It's typically a lighter color than the thin layer of cambium and is easily distinguished from the rough texture of the bark. All wood within a tree is first formed as sapwood, and this is the part of the tree that conducts water from the tree's roots out to the leaves, and that stores the nutrients the leaves generate from photosynthesis.

    Sapwood is moist and contains many nutrients that make it highly susceptible to decay and insect attack. This is why any home construction materials made from the sapwood of a tree must be dried thoroughly and treated with chemicals before they're suitable to build your home.

    Heartwood

    Finally, at the very center of the oldest trees, you'll find the wood that is no longer living — called heartwood. Heartwood contains a high concentration of naturally occurring pesticides, making it resistant to insects and decay. Heartwood is only found in older trees; the older the tree, the more heartwood it will contain.

    Centuries ago, most people only built their log homes from heartwood. They would select the oldest, widest trees, hew off all of the sapwood, and construct homes with "hand-hewn" logs. Because the heartwood is naturally resistant to pests and decay, many of those homes built, even those constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries, still exist. Today, because of the overharvesting of trees in earlier industrial decades, it is virtually impossible to obtain logs with a significant amount of heartwood.

    The modern log home is primarily constructed of sapwood that is felled, dried, treated and cured. Then, we treat log homes with borate products and stains that make them impervious to infestations and inclement weather, ensuring our modern log homes can last for years to come.

    So there you have it! The anatomy of a tree — bark, cambium, sapwood, and heartwood, and what we do with each layer of the tree to make it into the rustic log homes America has long been in love with.

    Whether you prefer hardwood or softwood, you can't beat a log home for charm and character. If you're building a new log home, or you're looking to take care of an older log home you love, Timeless Wood Care Products has everything you need to keep your log home looking beautiful for years to come. Check out the products we have to offer and don't hesitate to give us a call at (800) 564-2987 with any questions about maintaining your log home or cabin.

  • Easy Renovations to Improve Your Log Home's Value

    Whether you're fixing up to sell now, or you're just preparing for the future, log home renovations can be extremely rewarding. You'd be surprised at how a few, relatively small fixes can boost your log home's value, especially these days when more and more people are seeing the benefit and character of a log home.

     

    If you're looking for a few simple log home renovations to boost your log home's value, you've come to the right place. Here are five renovations that won't take too much work, and can seriously improve the amount your home is worth.

    #1 New Windows and Doors

    Installing new, energy efficient windows and doors can mean value in two ways. 1) You'll save money on those energy bills, because they retain the heat or air conditioning you use to keep your home comfortable. 2) They'll boost your home's value. New windows and doors look good, and they perform well, which are both major selling points. Even if you're not selling — these are log home renovations that will improve your log home's overall worth.

    #2 Energy Efficient Appliances

    In the same vein, energy-efficient appliances can help improve your log home's value when you're renovating. New home buyers love to see new appliances, and they're also great for you while you're still living in your log home. Again, energy efficient appliances will save you money on those energy bills, because they take less electricity to run, and they'll look really good on a realtor's sell sheet as well.

    #3 Reapply Log Cabin Stain

    Looking for some extra curb appeal? A fresh coat of paint or stain can go a long way, and it won't cost you more than a few cans of stain and a weekend. Beyond the fresh color on your home, a quality log stain can help protect your house from the elements. It seals in the wood, repelling water and any other elements, ensuring your log home remains beautiful and safe for years to come. That adds a lot in value, and in peace of mind.

    #4 Hardwood Floors

    If there's one surefire way to make sure your log home's value goes up, install hardwood floors. Sure, it might not be the easiest renovation on this list, but compared to a full kitchen overhaul or a master bedroom re-do, it's still a pretty small renovation. When people think of log homes, they think of hardwood just about everywhere, which means they're willing to pay for it. The added bonus is in the longevity of hardwood floors. They can last for decades, and they look beautiful. A key selling point that's functional, and that boosts your log home's value.

    #5 Give the Kitchen a Touchup

    If a kitchen renovation isn't in the budget, consider a touchup. You'd be surprised at how much of a difference a few small changes can make. Painting your cabinets, changing out your countertops for quartz or marble, and even just changing the hardware on your cabinetry can give you a new look, and a higher value. The kitchen is the best room in your log home to renovate for a high return on your investment, and even a small change can make a big difference.

     

    If you're looking to renovate your log home to improve it's value, whether for your own benefit or to sell later down the road Timeless has all the materials you need! We've got construction tools, maintenance products, stain and sealant. Give us a call at 800-564-2987, stop in, or check out our website!

  • Maintaining Wood Shingles and Shakes

    Wood roof shingles and shakes have long been touted as a classic style for many homes. They’re well known for their energy efficiency, resistance to storms, durability, and of course their natural beauty. Offered in a variety of colors and styles, many people, and especially log home owners, love their wood shingle or shake roof, but it’s good to know that these types of roofs do take a little bit more work.

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  • Avoiding Exterior Wall Blushing On a Log Home with Lifeline Advance TopCoat

    Spring and fall are often when many log home owners seal and refinish their exterior walls. It's one of those chores that tends to get wrapped up in either spring cleaning, or prepping your log home for the upcoming harsh winter season. If you refinish your log home's exterior walls every few years — good for you. You're helping to extend the life, quality, and exterior beauty of your log home, and you'll have fewer problems with your home in the future. But, if you usually apply a top coat, and you've noticed it turning an odd shade of white from time to time, here's what you need to know.

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  • Tips on Designing Your Next Log Home

    If you've decided you want to build a log home, congratulations! Whether it's a summer cabin on the lake or a year-round residence in the mountains, you can't go wrong with a log home. They're well insulated, sturdy, and there's no beating the classic look of a traditional log home. Once you've decided it's time to build though, you'll want to start designing. Since that can be an overwhelming process when you first start, we thought we'd give you a few tips to get started designing your log home:

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  • 5 things you didn't know about log homes

    In the US, log homes are fairly common. In most regions of the country, forests are plentiful, offering up an ideal renewable resource for building, and many Americans just love the rustic, natural feel a log home can provide. Log homes have a long history and while they're definitely a favorite homestyle today, there's a lot you might not know about them. Whether you have a log home, or you just really like them, you'll love these 5 awesome facts you may not have known about America's favorite home!

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  • Log Home Building 101: Guide to Log Home Styles

    When you're first building a log home, it can be tough to choose what type of log home style you're going to build. Besides the fact that there are multiple types of wood to consider, you also need to think about the style of home you like the most, and there are quite a few of those. Since some of the log home building terms might be new and unfamiliar, we've created this guide to explain some of the most popular home styles, from the profile of each log to the corner style used to join each wall of the home together. If you're still deciding what your log home will look like, follow this guide for everything you need to know about log home styles:

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  • Repairing Damaged Logs On Your Log Home

    Wood decay is a phenomenon that isn't totally uncommon with log homes. If you're a long-time log home owner, you probably already have a yearly ritual of checking your home for soft spots and treating them so they don't spread. If you haven't been in a log home for long, know that it's a good idea to check for log rot about once a year. We have plenty of resources for treating small spots of log rot, as they can pose a problem if left untreated.

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  • What are log home kits, and are they the right choice?

    When researching your dream log home, it's important to know the pros and cons. Log cabin kits come with everything to build a watertight log home, but do know that you're going to get what you pay for. It's important to make sure you know what's included in your kit.

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