How to Pick the Best Exterior Stain or Finish for Your Log Cabin-Part 1

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Over the years we have had one question that our clients have asked us over and over again.  That question is “What is the best finish you have available?” In reality there is no “best finish”; there are many great finishes available. The real question is “What is the best finish for you and your log home?”.  Here is the first of  several key questions to ask yourself when deciding on the best finish or stain for your log home:

 

1. Would you like an oil-based or a water-based finish?    There are many different  finishes, but this  question encompasses all of them.  Here are some pros  and cons about each category:

 

Petroleum  Based  Products

Brand names you recognize like Sikkens Cetol Log and Siding  and Outlast Q8 Log Oil are oil based finishes that contain some type of petroleum.

Pros

  • Petroleum  based stains like Q8 Log Oil will keep wood from drying out because it penetrates deep into the wood  therefore minimizing cracking and checking.  Outlast Q8 Log Oil is also an EPA registered wood preservative and has a built-in pesticide called Copper 8 quinolinolate.
  • Provides excellent UV protection and water repellency.
  • Sikkens Cetol Log and Siding  is an oil based finish that forms a satin finish on the wood.   Sikkens also provides excellent UV protection and water repellency.

Cons

  • Petroleum oil based products are subject to major price increases on a regular basis because of the rising cost of oil.
  • Petroleum oil based products can be tough to clean up and some have high VOC (volatile organic compound) levels.
  • Once you use an oil based penetrating stain it can be tough to switch to a different product because  it soaks deep into the wood and can be very hard to remove.

 

Plant Oil Based  Finishes

Pros

  • Plant oil based stains and finishes like Nature’s Edge (soybean based) are very environmentally friendly.  
  • These stains are all natural and  can be applied in a much greater range of temperature than petroleum oil based stains.
  • Plant oil based products generally have very low VOC’s.
  • Very safe to work with and have easy, non-toxic clean up as compared to petroleum oil based stains.

Cons

  • Plant oil based stains and finishes can often require  more coats to finish the exterior of your house, therefore creating the need for more application time and a larger initial product purchase.

 

 Water Based Acrylic Latex Finishes

Pros

  • Water-based  stains are easy to clean up, usually only requiring warm soapy water.  
  • Very low VOC’s,  so they often have very little smell.  
  • Water-based stains are usually more environmentally friendly than their petroleum oil based counterparts.
  • These stains and finishes often provide a better color variety and options for satin or gloss finish.  
  • Water-based stains like Perma-Chink Systems Lifeline Ultra 2 and Ultra 7 offer up to a 5 year warranty when applied to their standards.

Cons

  • Many water based finishes require an additional top coat to finish the application.

 

So, there you have it.  Hopefully this article has taken you one step closer to finding out what stain or finish to use on your home.  For extra help or questions about products give us a call at 1-888-208-2248 or to request a free sample kit click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

4 thoughts on “How to Pick the Best Exterior Stain or Finish for Your Log Cabin-Part 1

  1. what do you recommend for a log home with the bark on to help prevent the bark from falling off?

    • Hi Jim-

      Thank you for your question. Before I can give you an appropriate answer I need to know if the house is built of logs with bark on them or you do have bark shingles or shakes attached to the home?

  2. leonard symons / October 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I have a log home in fla.and I would like to know what sealant would last the longest. THANK YOU Leonard Symons

    • Hi Leonard,

      LogFinish.com is a distributor for many different types of log stains. The average maintenance on log stains is usually around 3-6 years, meaning a maintenance coat has to be applied at those intervals. We do carry a stain that is called Seal-Once that has a 10 year vertical surface warranty provided by the manufacturer. See the following link for product information: http://www.logfinish.com/store/Seal_Once.php. Seal-Once has by far the longest lasting product. Another excellent product that can often have a maintenance coat needed only every 5-6 years is Sikkens Log & Siding. Hope this helps!

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