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Time-Tested Ways to Seal and Protect Your Log Home

Five options to keep your log home looking–and functioning–its best.


Photos: Perma-Chink
 
There are a wide range of products available to seal and protect log homes, from time-tested formulas to up-and-coming scientific breakthroughs. Which products will keep your log home looking and functioning great? Check with your log provider or builder. He or she can recommend products that will work best with your wood species and climate. Here’s an overview of the options:
 

Caulk

A sealant used to fill joints and spaces between logs. Often, it’s clear or a color that matches the tone of the wood, making the caulk virtually invisible. Caulk comes in tubes or pails and is applied with a gun in a narrow bead. The soft, moist bead dries to a tough elastic barrier that protects the home from air and water infiltration.
 

Chinking

One of the most recognizable log home attributes, chinking is a thick material used to seal the gaps between log courses (as shown above). Traditional chinking is mortar-based, but modern synthetic chinking is far more elastic and durable. Also, today’s chinking is available in a variety of colors, though most homeowners prefer a white or light color to contrast with the logs.
 

Preservative

A mix of chemicals designed to protect against a host of environmental threats, such as mold, mildew, UV rays and insects.
 

Sealant

A liquid (caulk) or solid (foam or butyl rubber) used to prevent air or water from passing though the joints in a log home.
 

Stain

There are three types of stain: oil-based, water-based and emulsions that blend the two. Today’s stains are designed not only to tint or accentuate the grain of your log walls (stains come in a host of colors from gray to green, blond to dark chocolate), but also to coat the wood with a breathable layer of protection. Even if you want to keep your logs their glorious natural color, a coating with a very slight pigment will protect the wood from sun damage. And be sure to always use a stain specifically formulated for log homes (deck or furniture-grade stain from a big box store is not the same).