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  • Media Blasting Log Homes

    Sandblasting can be an effective way of removing old finishes like paint and creosote from log homes. Sandblasting typically utilizes silica sand as an abrasive and high pressure to mechanically remove away the old finish or dirt.  Upon completion of the sandblasting, all wood surfaces that have been sandblasted will need to be sanded down to reduce the mild abrasion that occurs.  The severity of pitting that can occur or is dependent on the species and condition of wood being sandblasted and the amount of pressure used. Typically, a diesel compressor capable of 185 CFM (cubic feet per minute) is required. Always wear adequate protective gear (face shield, thick gloves and clothing, and a respirator) when sandblasting.

    Many log home owners decide to have their log home sandblasted by an experienced professional. A novice can do severe your irreparable damage to log homes. The high pressure of the recommended compressor can cut unattractive gouges into logs and other woodwork.  unprotected windows can be pitted with an etched appearance. sandblasting a log home is best left will walk home restoration professional.

    Crushed glass media can be used as a chemically-inert alternative to sandblasting log homes. Crushed glass works like millions of tiny surgical steel blades, making short work of old coatings, paint, stains, as well as UV-damaged wood. It leaves the healthy wood underneath undamaged and creates a slightly textured surface for improved stain adhesion and longevity. Finish sanding with our Osborne Brushes or Surface Conditioning Discs can be done afterwards to reduce wood texturing.

    Cob blasting is another environmentally friendly way of removing old finish from log homes using ground dried corn cobs. Cob blasting generally isn’t as destructive to the logs and wood as sandblasting. Upon completion of the job used the corn media can often be used as biodegradable mulch around the garden. Sandblasting usually involves hauling the media away after use, which can be an added expense.  Some people claim that the biodegradable corn cob may be responsible for mold and fungus growth within the log once the job is completed. Proper washing with Log Wash and application of a quality borate product like Shell-Guard RTU will eliminate any fear of mold growth.

    A light sanding with an Osborn Brush or Surface Conditioning Disc is all that is required after cob or media blasting. This ensures uniform and proper absorption of stain. Irregular surfaces can be finished with Prelude before Lifeline Exterior or Ultra-2 to ensure proper color.

  • Preventing Ice Dams on Your Log Home

    Log homes have stood the tests of time and weather for centuries. They're exceptionally durable, which is why many people choose to live in log homes still. But just because they're exceptionally durable doesn't mean your log home doesn't need a bit of occasional maintenance. One of the big issues of winter for any home is ice dams.

    What Are Ice Dams?

    Have you ever seen really long, impressive looking icicles hanging from someone's gutters or eaves? Most often, those are the most visible sign of ice dams. Essentially, an ice dam forms when heat from the interior of your home escapes through your attic and into your roof. The heat melts any snow that has accumulated on your roof.

    As the snow melts, it rolls down the roof until it makes it to the eaves, where there is no attic to provide heat. There, the melted snow re-freezes into ice. This is the start of that very long icicle, but it's not the icicle that's the problem.

    Why Are Ice Dams a Problem?

    Ice will continue to accumulate on your roof as long as heat is melting the snow on your roof. As that ice accumulates, it can back up under the shingles of your log home's roof. Once under the shingles, the ice will again be exposed to the heat escaping from your attic. The heat causes the ice to melt, and that water will then leak into the sub-roofing, and eventually into your attic. If left unchecked, ice dams can cause major water damage, a serious issue for log homes in particular.

    Since water damage can be so detrimental to log homes, it's important to stop ice dams before they start. Here are a few ways to prevent ice dams, and a few ways to deal with them if it's too late for you to get ahead of them this winter:

    Preventing Ice Dams

    There's really only one cause of ice dams, and it's heat escaping through your roof. Here's how to prevent them, before they even start building up:

    Make Sure Your Roof Is Insulated and Your Attic is Properly Ventilated

    As long as you have proper air flow throughout your home, ice dams shouldn't be a problem. If you're worried about ice dams, or you had ice dams last year and are hoping to get ahead of them this year, consider adding more insulation.

    You can hire an expert to spray insulation in your home's attic, or, depending on your DIY skills and your log home, you may be able to peel back the existing insulation and add more where you find cracks.

    Check out our previous blog for tips to find air leaks; this can also help you find problem spots in your attic that need repairing.

    Clean the Gutters

    Another good way to prevent ice dams is to make sure your gutters are clean. Gutters full of debris and fallen leaves can make ice dams worse, as they won't allow any melted snow to flow through them and away from your home. Instead, the debris will cause a blockage in your gutters, allowing water to collect and causing more damage.

    Consider a Metal Roof

    If you're just building your log home, or if you have plans to replace your log home's roof in the near future anyway, you may consider a metal roof. If you've had problems with ice dams in the past, a metal roof can help, just because it eliminates nearly all friction and allows snow buildup to simply slide right off your home.

    Unlike asphalt shingles, with a metal roof there's very little for melted snow to grab onto when it re-freezes, which means it has a hard time building up. Additionally, metal roofs are far less porous than asphalt roofs, so even if your attic is losing heat, there's a smaller chance for melted water to seep through it into your home.

    What To Do About Existing Ice Dams

    If you didn't know about ice dams, or weren't able to stay ahead of them this year, you still have options. While it'll be in your best interest to re-insulate your log home's attic next year, there are a few ways to eliminate, or at least mitigate the effects of ice dams this year:

    Heat Tape

    Low-power heat tape is a good way to try and stop ice dams from forming on a log home with an asphalt roof. The tape adheres to your roof and is powered by electricity. If you get the low-power ones, you can save yourself a bit of money on your electric bill.

    Heat tape essentially warms the area where an ice dam would form, causing the snow to fall off the roof, rather than form icicles on your eaves. This stops ice from building up and causing snowmelt to seep into your roof.

    Heat tape isn't a long-term solution, but it can work for a season until you can get your attic properly insulated and ventilated.

    Snow Stops

    Snow stops are made specifically for metal roofs. They clamp to the eave of your roof, and just as their name suggests, stop snow from building up on your eaves and forming ice dams. Again, these are temporary solutions, but they can help you avoid water damage in your log home for at least a season if you're having problems.

    *Please note that snow stops are only made for metal roofs, and shouldn't be used on asphalt roofs unless specifically stated.

    In the end, the only way to completely avoid ice dams on your log home is to bump up the insulation in your home and make sure your attic is ventilating air properly. We all know that major water damage can wreak havoc on a log home, so keep yours safe by addressing ice dams before they form.

    If you have questions about avoiding ice dams or repairing water damage caused by an ice dam, be sure to talk to the professionals at Timeless Wood Care Products. Our team of experts can help you find the right solution and product to repair any winter damage your log home may have sustained. Give us a call at (800) 564-2987 or contact us online today.

  • 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!

  • 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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  • 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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  • 8 Things to Add to Your Log Home Spring Cleaning Checklist

    Spring is finally here! Though it may not seem like this winter has been all that bad, it’s time to get ready for warmer weather, and that includes spring cleaning. Since your log home takes winter a little differently than other homes, here are a few things to keep in mind when you go about your annual spring inspection and cleaning routine:

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    1. Watch for mold or mildew damage to log walls in high-moisture areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.

    2. Vertical posts with settling jacks installed at floor level are often used in log homes to shoulder the weight of the second floor or roof system. Talk to your builder to find out the rate these jacks should be lowered.

    3. watch for settlement issues wherever the log walls attach. This can include interior partition walls, floors, cabinets, shower enclosures, stairs, chimneys, porches and garages.

    This content was provided by Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.


    1. Is mold/mildew growing on your logs? First determine whether it is on top of the stain or underneath by dabbing it with a swab soaked in chlorine bleach. If it is on top of your finish, it can be washed off the walls using Log Wash. If it is underneath, you must remover the finish in order to remove the fungal stain.

    2. Decay-causing fungi occur in wood with moisture contents in excess of 30 percent (the wood-fiber saturation point). Since moisture must be present to give fungi a chance to grow, a good, water-repelling, breathable finish applied to the surface of the logs will combat this.

    3. If rot does take root in your logs, drill holes into the affected log, inject Shell-guard on each side of the problem area and then caulk the holes. The borate dissolves and begins to diffuse throughout the wood, killing the fungi on contact.

    This content was provided by Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.


    1. Remove mill glaze, road grime and other foreign substances from the logs. You can do this by using a log wash solution (Wood ReNew), sanding, power washing or corn-blasting, depending on the condition of your logs.

    2. If you elect to wash your logs with a cleaning solution, always remember to apply cleaners from the bottom of the walls upward, then rinse from the top down. Always make sure to thoroughly rinse cleaning solution off the walls. Follow manufacturer’s directions when using cleaners.

    3. After waiting for the logs to dry, apply a borate preservative (Shell-Guard or Armor Guard) and allow to dry. Next apply your interior and exterior stains. You may want to apply your exterior clear-coats after chinking, to improve appearance and make cleaning easier. The final step is to apply external sealants and chinking if your house requires it.

    4. All log homes will need some amount of sealing – regardless of the log profile or construction style – in between log courses, at corners and around windows and doors. the sealant or chinking you use must be compatible with whatever stain you apply to your log home. If you are not sure, call the manufacturer.

    5. To test your finish or stain, use a spray bottle to mist the logs with water. If the water beads up and runs off like a freshly waxed car, then it’s doing it’s job. If logs soak up water, then you’ll need another application of finish.

    6. How soon you will need to re-apply stains to your log home depends on many variables. Severity of weather exposure, care during preparation and stain application, the quality of the stain used and amount of pigments in the stain are the primary factors. You should expect 4-7 years or more when using LIFELINE stains, especially if the house is sheltered from the sun.

    7. Graying wood (especially on the topside of round logs) is caused by UV damage to the wood substrate. To fix this, you must remove the stain to get at the wood underneath, by stripping or sanding. Treatment with Wood ReNew, OxCon or sanding removes this damage. This UV damage can be significantly delayed and reduced by use of UV-Boost in the first coat of LIFELINE finish on the logs.

    8. If your finish loses its adhesion, it can start to peel, blister or crack. To avoid this peeling, only use one coat of stain to finish on logs that have more than 20 percent moisture content. Use a moisture meter to determine this. Once your log falls below 19 percent moisture content, you should apply multiple coats as per manufacturer recommendations.

    9. Can you feel drafts at corners? Use Energy Seal or Perma-Chink to seal horizontal and corner joinery wherever needed. Seal upward facing checks larger than 1/8″ wide with Check Mate. These can trap and hold water and should be weather-tight.

    10. Check flashing around the windows to ensure that all water is being channeled out and down the exterior walls. Water stains on the logs or drafts around the windows or doors indicate that air and water is infiltrating your home. The right sealant is the solution for this problem.

    11. If blisters appear in chinking that has been applied in direct sun, puncture them with a knife tip and flatten them out against the uncured chinking.

    This content was provided by Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.


    What should I put on my log home to protect it?

    Preserving and cleaning your log home is essential for longevity of your home. It’s imperative to understand the intimate connection between a building’s location & design and a coating’s performance. The location and design of a log building is a key contributing factor to long-term maintenance costs. This very important detail is too often overlooked. Different locations will frequently require different building designs. If the building is not properly designed for its location, then surface maintenance inevitably becomes a more regular task no matter what brand of exterior wood coating is used. And when a coating fails to live up to expectations because of location and design factors, it usually gets the full blame. The wood finish becomes an easy target because its breakdown is so obviously visible and is regarded as the cause of failure instead of a symptom of deeper underlying causes. A quality log home finish, although it will certainly perform better than the cheaper varieties, will never achieve its full performance potential when design considerations have been overlooked. A wood finish alone can never remedy design deficiencies, no matter how good it is! Nevertheless, the type of coating to use on a log home should possess the following characteristics:

    - Exceptional Water Resistance - Shield the Wood Against the Sun’s Harmful Rays - Prevent Graying and Hold Color Longer - Discourage the Growth of Mold & Mildew - Protect Against the Abrasive Elements of Weather - Allow for Some Degree of Moisture Vapor Transfer - Have Minimal Impact on Air Quality

    A Unique Challenge

    Log homes pose a unique challenge, for any type of exterior wood coating because the mass and surface of a log will vary from log home to log home. Each individual log can contain varying moisture contents, differing amounts of resin, a predominance of bark, cambium, sapwood or heartwood surfaces, and different densities of growth rings. In addition, log products are skip-peeled, draw-knifed, finely milled or somewhere in between and also come in various sizes, shapes and profiles. And let’s not forget all of the numerous types of species of wood. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to design a log home coating that will wear in a similar manner over such a wide range of variables.

    Finishing touches

    Prior to coating with a wood finish, a new log home normally requires a seasoning period to allow moisture within the logs to be released to the outside environment. The moisture content of a particular log building will vary from one manufacturer to the other, so it is best to consult with your log manufacturer for advice on when to first coat the exterior logs. Generally, it is recommended to wait a minimum of 6 months after the home has been built before applying the first coat. This allows the log’s surface to open up and dry which in turn makes a better surface for a wood finish to absorb into and bond to. To play it safe, apply only one coat of stain on your new home. If too much stain is prematurely applied, moisture-related coating problems such as mold, mildew, and peeling may occur. This initial single coat should provide adequate protection on the log walls for the first year. Normally another single or double coat will be necessary the following year.

    Before coating, spray the logs with the bleach solution mentioned earlier and pressure wash clean at 500-750 psi. Additional surface preparation may be necessary on logs that contain mill-glaze, bark, cambium, or are altered by a draw-knife. On such logs, scuffing the surface with a non-ferrous wire brush or with medium to coarse grit sandpaper will help to insure a better performance of the coating.

    Once the home has seasoned, the performance of subsequent coatings should improve considerably. The frequency of reapplications will depend on climate, location, extent to which surfaces are sheltered from weathering, nature of the wood, quality of the finish, and application techniques. If the logs are checking and cracking exposing untreated wood, or if the finish shows signs of wear and is not providing an adequate water barrier, it’s time to recoat. Also, the Southern and Western exposures absorb the full force of the elements more directly, so expect to recoat those areas more often.

    Your Ends Are Special

    Special attention should be given to exposed log ends. End grain absorbs twelve times more water than the rest of the log surface. If left unprotected, end grain is particularly susceptible to fungal attack. To prevent such an occurrence, periodic inspection and treatment of the log ends with a quality water-resistant finish is advised. In addition, waterproofing the end grain will significantly reduce checking of the log ends.

    An Internal Dilemma

    Many new log homeowners desire a transparent, cleanable surface on the inside log walls that only a varnish type coating can provide. Because varnishes are basically a clear paint that forms a film, it is important that the logs are adequately dry before applying such a coating. Otherwise, as previously discussed, moisture-related coating problems could occur. Since the amount of moisture in the logs will determine the length of time required to wait, it is best to consult the manufacturer of your logs for their recommendations regarding a time frame for applying an interior varnish. If any doubt, wait at least 6 months and through a heating season before coating the inside logs with a varnish. Never apply a varnish on the outside logs!!!

    Check It Out

    Another area of concern is the formation of cracks or checks in the logs. Although there is a variety of factors that cause checking, our concerns are checks caused by moisture. There are two sources of moisture that contribute to log surface checking:

    - Internal - Environmental

    Internal moisture is the water inherent in the tree when it is freshly cut. This water is located within the wood cells and in their cell walls. The moisture within the wood cell is known as free water and is the first to be eliminated in the drying or seasoning of the wood. Free water is eliminated when the logs have reached around 30 percent moisture content. All moisture located in the cell walls is known as bound water and does not begin to leave the wood until all the free water from the wood cells is eliminated. As the water in the wood drops below 30 percent moisture content, the release and elimination of bound water begins. It is during this stage that log shrinkage and checking occurs.

    Ideally, in the “seasoning” stage, moisture in the logs should decrease at a steady, even rate. The more rapid the rate of moisture release, the greater the probability of checking. Consequently, a slower release of moisture will reduce checking and provide a more uniform shrinking and settling of the logs. Since numerous variables contribute to the rate and volume of moisture exchange from the logs to the environment, control of this natural process by the homeowner is best achieved by the maintenance procedures already discussed.

    Environmental moisture is caused by moisture from the external surrounding environment such as snow, rain, lawn sprinklers, etc. As the wood surface becomes wet, it swells or expands, and as it dries, it contracts or shrinks. When the wood is subjected to a number of these wet and dry cycles, and in winter climates freeze/thaw cycles, the stresses that result cause cracks in the wood. All the precautions and methods mentioned earlier in relation to controlling fungi apply here. Once again, the whole object is to keep the logs dry. That is the reason it is so important to apply a good quality, water-resistant wood finish. Such a finish will provide the necessary water-repellency needed to minimize moisture-related cracks.

    Finally, don’t overlook upward facing checks. They can be a nagging source of air and water infiltration. The wider and deeper they are, the greater the potential for problems. Sealing the checks with a caulking material will usually remedy the situation, but it’s a smart idea to saturate them first with a wood preservative before caulking. This precaution will greatly reduce any chance of rot. Before proceeding, contact your log home manufacturer for advice on the type of caulking to use and the best procedure to follow to properly accomplish the job.

    This sections content was provided by The Continental Products Company.

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