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How-to

  • OTHER PESTS AND YOUR LOG HOME

    1. Woodpeckers can cause damage to log surfaces, chinking, window frames and trip. Make sure that you do not have insects living in areas where woodpeckers strike. Contact your local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more information.

    2. Swallows can damage log homes with their nests and droppings. Because these birds are federally protected, consult with the U.S. fish and Wildlife Service for a permit to remove their nests. Installing nylon netting and long nail-like strips (Nixalite) can prevent their return. Scrub affected logs with a mild bleach solution, rinse and reseal.

    3. Squirrels can cause damage with their gnawing teeth, so seal downspouts and chimneys with screens. Eliminate tree branches that lead to the roof.

    4. Mice can be problematic, especially if you have bird feeders. Move these away from the house, and set mouse traps in the basement, crawl space and attic.

    5. While many eat their weight in insects each night, bats also can cause problems for log home owners, damaging wood with their excrement. Install screens over chimneys. Seal all cracks and gaps around the roofline. install bat houses nearby to draw them away.

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

  • SIGNS OF INSECT INFESTATION

    1. If you see signs of termites or other wood-boring insects, call a pest control professional. Signs include frass (a sawdust like substance) and tunnels in the wood.

    2. If your home is infested in the winter and fall months with cluster flies, use a vacuum cleaner, pest strips or fly-swatter to eradicate them. the best method for control is to keep them out by sealing their entrance points with Energy Seal

    3. If carpenter ants have set up shop in your home, locate and destroy their nest with Shell-Guard. Call a pest control professional.

    4. Ambrosia beetles leave white toothpick like extrusions from tiny pinholes in the wood. If they have attacked your home, inject Shell-Guard and seal the holes with caulk.

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

  • COMBATING WEATHER DAMAGE

    Up to now, our attention has been focused on methods for controlling fungi and insects. The other area of concern is weather. The four weather factors (sunlight, water, temperature, abrasion) also play an important role in creating the necessary environment for fungal growth. By protecting your log home against the adverse conditions of weather, you will also be employing the fundamental maintenance strategy against fungi, which is to reduce the effects of moisture.

    Many treatments have been proposed to protect wood against weathering. Of all the various coatings and treatments available, paints containing UV absorbing or screening pigments provide the most protection to wood. However, most people who choose to purchase a log home don’t wish to paint their logs and hide the natural beauty of the wood. Leaving aside the artificial appearance of a painted log, there is a more serious problem with using paint on a log structure. It has to do with the mass of the logs and the moisture contained within them. Because paint is designed to encapsulate and totally seal the wood fibers from the elements, it can and will trap the moisture that is naturally trying to escape from within the log to the outside environment, This is especially true with new, greener logs. This condition can lead to wood rot and a whole host of moisture-related coating problems. Kiln-dried clapboard siding and other conventional types of wood siding don’t usually encounter these particular kinds of problems because the moisture within the wood section has been sufficiently reduced.

    Protecting Your Log Home Exterior Against Ultraviolet Radiation(sunlight)

    By itself, UV causes wood to darken and gray and over a long period of time will break down the structural components of the wood (about a 1/4 inch per century). However, UV rarely works alone but in combination with moisture, fungi, and other factors that together accelerate the destruction of wood. To protect wood from UV requires shielding the surface with a coating that contains UV blockers. The longest lasting and most durable UV blockers are found in special types of pigments. Consequently, the degree of UV protection provided by a wood coating is largely in proportion to the amount and type of pigments used. Regrettably, stains with higher levels of pigments ruin the natural look of the log by creating an artificial painted appearance. Significant improvements have been made with natural wood finishes but it is unlikely that they will ever achieve the UV protection of highly pigmented solid colors. However, new technology and formulating breakthroughs have led to improved UV performance and increased service life of transparent and semi-transparent stains, especially several developed for the Log Home Industry. Unfortunately, UV will degrade any type of protective wood coating and is a major reason why additional applications of stain will be required periodically.

    This sections content was provided by The Continental Products Company.

  • CONTROLLING FUNGI AROUND YOUR LOG HOME

    FUNGI – Methods of Control

    During the construction phase, it’s important to control fungi around your log home. If you see any evidence of mold and mildew it MUST be removed. As mentioned in our fungi article, mold and sapstain increase the wood’s capacity to hold water. A greater absorptive promotes the pick-up of rain water, thus increasing the chances of decay.

    If mold and mildew are present, treat with the following solution:

    - 1/2 cup Trisodiurn Phosphate (found at your local hardware store) or non-ammoniated detergent - 1 quart of household bleach - 3 quarts of warm water

    This solution is caustic. Wear goggles, rubber gloves, and necessary clothing to prevent eye and skin contact. Also shield plant and shrubs from contact.

    Apply the solution onto the infected area with a hand-pump garden sprayer. Allow the solution to set for 5-10 minutes and pressure rinse thoroughly clean with fresh water. This treatment will kill the fungal growth as well as clean the log surface. However, it will not prevent the future occurrence of these organisms if conditions are suitable.

    Attempt to keep the logs as mildew-free as possible while the home is being built. Some manufacturers pretreat their logs with a wood preservative to minimize any major outbreaks of fungus during the construction phase. Even if they are pretreated, when the logs are delivered, prevent them from touching the ground or each other by placing stickers (spacers) between them. This procedure, by allowing air circulation between the logs, will help relieve any build-up of moisture and heat caused by the drying logs, thus reducing the chances of fungal attack.

    During the building process, it is advised to thoroughly inspect each log for evidence of mold and mildew. Clean any mildew-infected logs with the bleach solution mentioned above.

    This sections content was provided by The Continental Products Company.

  • PROTECT YOUR LOG HOME FROM WATER

    1. To manage water runoff, make sure the grading around your foundation slopes away from the home – usually a minimum of 6 inches in the first 6 feet away from the foundation.

    2. Even if your builder sloped the soil during construction, this grading can settle and become flat or even slope toward your home. Don’t use topsoil to increase the slope of the grade, which will only act as a sponge. Use rock or gravel instead, which will shed water.

    3. If you have installed a sump pump, check it regularly to make sure it will cycle on automatically when needed.

    4. Keep gutters and downspouts clear, since debris can cause gutters to overflow. Make sure your downspouts or splash blocks divert rainwater at least 6 to 9 feet away from the home.

    5. Ensure sprinkler heads haven’t been redirected since last summer. They shouldn’t spray your log walls or foundation.

    6. Monitor basement windows and window wells. Either one of these, if improperly maintained, can collect and direct water into your basement.

    7. Install a French drain to keep water hazards away from your home. These flexible pipes – set into trenches filled with gravel – draw moisture from the surrounding soil and channel it away.

    8. Make sure your home is insured against water damage and remember to specify replacement value of all materials and possessions.

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

  • SAFE SURROUNDINGS FOR YOUR LOG HOME

    1. Many maintenance issues will be determined by geography. Like and environmental detective, be on the lookout for signs of insects, wildlife and winged pests.

    2. remove stumps and fallen trees within 50 feet of your home, since the can harbor wood-boring insects and a variety of pests.

    3. If you live in a heavily wooded lot or an area prone to wildfires, extend the clearing around your home to 100 fee.

    4. Trim back all tree branches that can be a bridge to your home for gnawing pests (like squirrels) and nesting insects.

    5. Remove large trees that may cause damage to the home if felled by strong winds, snowfall or lightening.

    6. When you’re planting landscaping, keep shrubbery a minimum of 3 to 5 feet from the walls of your home. The goal is to enable air to circulate freely around the home to help keep the logs dry.

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

  • BASIC LOG HOME MAINTENANCE

    There are important log home maintenance steps that can be taken in order to greatly reduce the costs of exterior maintenance.

    The first major consideration is the selection of the building site. Locate the log home on a site where rain water will drain away from the structure on all four sides. If this is not possible, crown the area where the house is built, and alter natural drainage by using swales, retaining walls, or ditches of subsurface drain tiles before you begin construction. If water is allowed to accumulate under a log home, decay could develop quite rapidly.

    Earth/wood contact greatly enhances chances of colonization by termites and decay fungi. As a consequence, it is recommended that the foundation wall be constructed in such a manner that there be ample distance between the logs and earth. It should also be high enough to prevent rain water from splashing on the logs.

    One of the most effective features to be built into a log home are a wide roof overhang and gutters because they help combat decay in walls and foundations, and around doors and windows.

    Wider overhangs are particularly desirable in areas of high rainfall. Minimum projections of not less than 18 inches (preferably 24) for one story and 24 inches (preferably 36) for two stories are recommended. Roof-supporting members of logs or of sawn lumber should not project beyond the eaves. If they do, they will become easily wetted and susceptible to decay.

    As your home is being constructed, make certain that the attic and crawl space areas are adequately vented to prevent the accumulation of moisture within the living space. The soil in crawl spaces should be covered with polyethylene to reduce the relative humidity of the air in sub-floor spaces.

    Lastly, when landscaping the home, keep shrubs and plants proper distance from the house. They’re an ideal source for moisture and insects.

    The Best Protection Against Fungi and Insects Is To Keep the Log Walls Dry!

    This sections content was provided by The Continental Products Company.

  • LOG HOME DESIGN STRATEGIES

    1. You can help or hinder maintenance issues with your home’s design. Start by raising the foundation at least 6 inches above grade (some experts recommend as much as 24 inches).

    2. Employ generous roof overhangs (also known as eaves) in your design to protect log walls and roof timbers from Mother Nature.

    3. Move water runoff away from your home by specifying gutters and downspouts.

    4. To resist water and insect damage, don’t allow any log floor or wall materials to be exposed to the ground. Use inorganic materials, such as rock, within 12 to 24 inches of the first course of logs.

    5. Never use wood mulch, pine straw or other ground covers, which will encourage termites and other insects.

    6. Because log home deterioration tends to happen slowly, keep a maintenance diary to track any problems and your solutions.

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

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