Log Home Glossary: Log Home Related Terminology and Definitions

Below you will find an alphabetized list of terms with definitions that are related to all things associated with log home products and maintenance. Knowledge is powerful! We hope the definitions help you when talking with contractors, researching products online, and when you call us at LogFinish.com.

ACRYLIC: A type of synthetic polymer used as a binder for high-performance water-based paints, stains and caulks.

AIRLESS  SPRAYER: A method of painting that uses high pressure to spray stain, paint or other materials.

ALKYD: A synthetic resin or binder used in most commercial “oil-based” stains or paints.

ATOMIZE: The breaking –up of paint or stain into fine particles or droplets by a paint gun.

BACKBRUSHING: The process of working the stain into a rougher surface after it has been sprayed while the stain is still wet.

BACKER ROD: Backer rod is extruded closed-cell polyethylene rod that is used in cracks, checks and gaps before filling them with sealants.

BEADING: Relates to the way oil based stains repel water.

BLISTERING: Effects of pressure from either a solvent or moisture under a coating causing swelling or blister in the finish.

BLUSHING: A milky appearance of a topcoat caused by high humidity where water condenses on or in the wet coating. Using heat ( hair dryer ) or a slower solvent or retarder.

BORATE: As related to use on wood, a water-soluble inorganic borate salt containing compound with insecticidal, termiticidal and fungicidal properties. Shell-Guard by Perma-Chink Systems, for example, is a borate.  Borates are used on bare wood for eliminating and providing protection against wood decay fungi and wood eating insects.

BREATHE (breathable): Stains that allow the passage of moisture vapor from the substrate ( wood ) through the stain.

CHALKING: Deterioration of surface exterior stain/paint upon weathering into a faded, powdery substance. Chalk should be removed prior to repainting.

CHECKS: Pronounced cracks in logs, timbers and wood siding.

COATING: A paint, stain, varnish, lacquer or other finish that provides a protective coating over a a substrate (wood or vinyl).

DRIER: A material used in a stain/paint that enables it to cure.

DRY TO TOUCH: Drying stage of a coating at which it has hardened/cured enough that it may be touched lightly without any of it adhering to the finger.

E.P.A.: Some stains have the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency.

FADING: Lightening of the stain/paint’s color, usually caused by exposure to light, heat or the weather.

FILM FORMING: A stain/paint which lays on top of the substrate (wood) and forms a film on the surface.

FLAKE OFF: Pieces of paint film or undercoat falling off a substrate, usually due to poor adhesion.

FUNGICIDE: An ingredient used in some coatings and sealants to help keep mildew and other fungi from growing on the surface.

CHINKING:  A water-based, synthetic textured sealant like mortar and has considerable elasticity and flexibility.

CHINK PAINT: An elastomeric, texture coating for renewing or changing the color of chinking.

GASKET TAPE:  A closed-cell, medium density (8lb.) PVC foam with pressure-sensitive adhesive on one side, gasket tape is installed between log courses during construction to form a uniform seal between the logs. It is flexible and provides a high performance seal against dust, light, air and moisture during seasoning of the logs.

GRIP STRIP: A chemically inert closed-cell polyethylene that is shaped (3 sided) to fit between log courses to form a flat surface for the application of chink or caulk.

HIGH SOLIDS: Stain/paints that have more pigment and resin (film formers).

HVLP: High volume low pressure spray equipment which delivers stain/paint at a low pressure of no more than 10 PSI ( at the air cap)  but with a greater volume of air. Produces higher transfer efficiency, less bounce back and overspray.

IRON TANNATES: Iron tannates form dark colored discolorations that can appear as streaking spots or large dark blotches, sometimes covering an entire wall. This process may take some time to occur resulting in tannate discolorations showing up several months after a stain has been applied. Bleach residue is responsible for most problems related to iron tannates but any product with high pH will do the same thing. That is why thoroughly rinsing any cleaner off the surface of wood before staining is crucial.

LATEX PAINTS/STAINS: Latex paint is a general term that covers all paints/stains that use synthetic Polymers such as acrylic, vinyl acrylic, styrene acrylic, i.e., as binders. The term  is applied to most water-based paints. They look milky when wet and clear when dry.

LIGNIN:  A organic substance binding cells, fibers and vessels which constitute wood and the lignified elements in plants, as in straw.

LOG GAP CAPS: Pre-cut log gap caps reduce air infiltration where round logs meet window and door trim.

MATTE FINISH: A stain/paint with a flat appearance; no sheen.

MILDEWCIDE: A chemical agent, often included in exterior stains, paints and caulk, that discourages mildew growth on the painted surface.

MILDEW/MOLD/ALGAE: Mold, mildew (a form of mold) and algae are colonies of living organisms that grow on the surface of many materials including wood. Their color rangesfrom white to black and colors in between. They are typically round with well defined edges. It forms most often on areas that tend to be damp and receive little or no sunlight. Also, if the substrate (wood) is not completely dry prior to applying some stains or paints, damp wood may lead to growth of mold.

NANO: As related to stains, finishes which have very small molecules ( nano particles) leading to deeper penetration into the substrate (wood), thereby sealing and protecting the surface for a longer period of time.

NATURAL LOOK OF WOOD: The term “natural” as associated with wood finishes (stains) may mean no color (clear), an actual color of a product or texture of natural wood.

P H: pH stands for the power of hydrogen. In chemistry, pH is a numeric scale used to specify the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution (water). pH is important as related to logs/log siding when wood is cleaned.  After any cleaner is rinsed from the wood, a pH strip should be used to measure the pH.  Use a pH strip to catch rinse water at the bottom of the wall. If the pH strip measures from 6.5 –  7.5 the wall has been rinsed well. If not, rinse again and measure until normal. If the walls are not rinsed sufficiently, problems may arise that affect how the wood accepts the stain. Also, discoloration of the walls may occur weeks after a stain has been applied.

POLYMER: Synthetic organic materials used as resins, I.E.  in wood finishes and plastics.

PIGMENT: Tint (color)

PICTURE FRAME EFFECT: Fading and graying over time of interior wood  walls and wood flooring where pictures and rugs have been placed. Indirect UV exposure darkens the lignin in wood contributing to the picture frame effect.

RESIN: A clear or semi-clear part of a stain/paint film which gives solids or film build. Resin gives the finish shine, gloss, durability, adhesion, handling and drying characteristics.

SEALANT: In the log home industry the term sealant commonly means caulk or chinking.

SEMI-TRANSPARENT STAIN: Stain that alters the natural color of the wood, yet allows the grain and texture to show through.

SHEETING: Refers to the way water runs off water-based stains/finishes. They typically do not have paraffin and do not “bead” as water does on oil-based finishes.

SOLIDS: The part of the paint, pigments and resin which do not evaporate.

STAIN: A partly transparent coating that can color wood without obscuring the grain and/or the texture.

SUBSTRATE: Any surface to which a coating or sealant is applied.

TACK FREE:  Time in the drying of a paint/stain when it is not sticky but not completely cured.

TACKY: The stage in the drying process at which the stain/paint is sticky when lightly touched.

TOP COAT: As related to wood finishes, the final clear coat required with some family of products, such as Perma-Chink Systems Lifeline Advance Top Coat. NO top coat should be applied over a stain (wood finish) unless designated by that product line.

TRANS OXIDE PIGMENTS: As related to use on wood, high performance transparent iron oxide pigments with excellent UV absorption, transparency and weathering stability.

TREE RESIN BLEED:  Referred to as sap, pitch or resin that bleeds out of logs as hot weather approaches. The resin is produced mostly by softwood species like spruce, pine and fir. There is no way to outwardly determine if a log will bleed resin or not. Once bleeding begins, it is virtually impossible to halt the flow of sticky resin. It will burst through coatings and form a sticky mass on top of the finish. This process may continue for years.

UV: Exposure to direct or indirect sun.

VICOSITY: Determined by allowing a measured amount to flow through an orifice and measuring the time it takes for the amount to flow.

V.O.C:  Volatile Organic Compound refers to any carbon compound that evaporates under standard test conditions. Essentially, all paint and caulk solvents except water are classified as VOCs. Some government agencies are limiting the amount of VOCs permitted in paint because of concerns about environmental and health effects.

WATERBORNE: A coating containing more than 5% water in its volatile fraction.

WET ON DAMP APPLICATION:  Wet on damp means to apply a liberal, uniform coat onto the wood, and then within 10 – 15 minutes return to that section and apply a second coat while the first coat is still slightly wet or damp.

Learn How to Seal Checks in Logs

Article content courtesy Perma-Chink Systems, LLC

It is virtually impossible to prevent logs from developing cracks and checks as they age and dry. That’s because as a large piece of wood seasons, mechanical stresses build up until the surface stress becomes so great that the wood cracks. We call these stress cracks “checks.”

Do checks need to be sealed? Upward facing checks can collect water increasing the interior moisture content of the log. If they continue to collect water and the wood remains damp, they can eventually result in internal wood decay as well as provide nesting sites for carpenter ants and other insects. It is not necessary to seal checks on the bottom half of round logs since they do not collect water but for a uniform appearance you may want to seal them too. It is not usually necessary to seal checks or fissures that are less than 1/4” wide since they cannot accumulate that much water.

If your home is new and the logs or siding are green, it may be best to wait a year or so before addressing the checks. This allows the wood to reach an equilibrium with its environment and by then most of the larger checks will have opened. On seasoned wood or an older home that’s in the process of being refinished you can seal the checks either before or after applying a stain.

Checks and splits in logs present a different set of dynamics than those typically addressed by a caulk. They open and close as the log’s moisture content varies throughout the year. The opening width of a check may change as much as 50% from summer to winter. Most sealants are designed to cope with a different set of conditions and are ill suited for sealing checks. Check Mate 2 is specifically formulated to meet the particular requirements for sealing checks that appear in logs and log siding.

When initially applied 3/8” thick in a check the Check Mate 2 bonds to the sides of the check. As the check opens, the Check Mate 2 stretches to maintain a water-tight seal. The role the Backer Rod plays is to maintain a Check Mate 2 thickness of 3/8” during the application and two point contact with the wood. Two point adhesion enables Check Mate 2 to elongate and contract.

APPLICATION DIRECTIONS:check mate 2 step by step1. Begin by cleaning any dust, dirt, oil, solvent or previous sealer out of the check. Previously applied caulks can usually be easily pulled or scraped out with a hook knife. If the check is upward-facing and has allowed water penetration, pour some Shell-Guard RTU into it. This will kill any decay fungi present and prevent further deterioration of the log due to rot. If the wood within the check is damp from cleaning, rain or a borate treatment make sure the check has time to dry before applying Check Mate. You can speed up the drying process by blowing the water out of the check with a leaf blower. The last thing you want to do is to trap any water within the check.

2. For sealing checks 1/4″ wide or larger, Check Mate 2 should be always used in conjunction with Backer Rod. Insert the Backer Rod into the check and use a trowel or other implement to push the Backer Rod about 3/8” to 1/2” deep. If you push it deeper than 1/2” the cured Check Mate 2 will be too thick and may rip away from the sides of the check. If the Backer Rod is placed too close to the surface the Check Mate 2 may end up too thin and split.

3. For a neat, clean appearance you can use masking tape to mask off the wood on either side of the check. Be sure to remove the masking tape right after you tool the Check Mate 2 smooth. If you remove the masking tape after the Check Mate 2 has begun to dry you will pull the top layer of Check Mate 2 off along with the masking tape.

4. Cut the tip of the Check Mate 2 tube to about the same diameter as the checks you plan to fill (a little smaller diameter is better than one too large). Fill the space between the Backer Rod and log surface with Check Mate 2 using a standard caulk gun. Check Mate 2 must have good contact with wood on either side of the check and be sure the crack or check is completely sealed from end to end.

5. Tool the surface smooth with a trowel, spatula or wet finger and remove overflow immediately with a damp cloth. Don’t forget that the masking tape must be removed while the Check Mate 2 is still wet.

6. Check Mate 2 will dry to the touch in about one hour but complete curing may take several days depending on application thickness, temperature and weather conditions. The color of Check Mate 2 as it comes out of the tube is always lighter than the final cured color. Note: Newly applied Check Mate 2 Clear is white but turns clear when cured.

7. Clean tools and hands with soap and water.

Learn to Calculate How Much Caulking or Chinking You Need

Article content provided by Perma-Chink Systems, LLC.

When it comes to ordering sealants like Perma-Chink or Energy Seal there are two dimensions that you need to know in order to determine how much product you will need:

  • the width of the gaps or joints that you want to seal
  • the cumulative length (linear feet) of the gaps or joints that you want to seal

The width is fairly easy to determine. If it is a chink joint on a squared log, it is the average distance between upper and lower log surfaces.square log chink joint

If it is a round log chink joint, you first have to insert a length of proper size Grip Strip and then measure the distance between the top and bottom logs about 3/8 of an inch in front of the surface of the Grip Strip.

round log chink joint

In the case of Energy Seal caulk it is the width of the gap and size of the backer rod that determines the width of the Energy Seal.

backer rod energy seal

When estimating your purchase requirements for an entire log home the task of determining how many linear feet of sealant you will need can be somewhat overwhelming. However, if you break it down to one wall at a time and then add all of the walls together it becomes much simpler. Calculating the number of linear feet of chink joints or sealant gaps in a log wall is fairly easy when following these steps:

  1. Start by measuring the length of the wall with a tape measure.
  2. Then count the number of joints you need to seal. Usually it is the number of log courses minus one.
  3. When you multiply these two numbers together you have the linear feet of sealant required for that wall. Don’t worry about subtracting the windows or doors unless they take up a substantial portion of the wall area. You will need to seal around them anyway.
  4. If you are planning to run a bead of sealant in the corners or other vertical seamsenergy seal corner of round logs you need to know the height of the wall then multiply the height by a factor of 1.25 to compensate for the increased surface area created by the curvature of the logs.
  5. Once you have determined both the width of the sealant joint and total number of linear feet you will be sealing, reference the charts below to find out how many tubes, cases or 5 gallon pails you need for your project. If  you were thinking about using tubes of either product consider this, the price difference between two pails of Perma-Chink or Energy Seal and an equal amount of material in tubes more than covers the cost of a Cox bulk loading gun and follow plate.

Energy Seal Coverage Rates 

When applied to 5/16th to 3/8” thickness

(Note: 1 x 5 gallon pail = 20 x 30oz tubes = 55 x 11oz tubes)

Bead Size 11 oz 30 oz 5 gallon
1/2″ gap 16 LF 48 LF 975 LF
¾” gap 11 LF 32 LF 650 LF
1” gap 8   LF 24 LF 490 LF
For gaps over 1” use Perma-Chink For gaps over 1” use Perma-Chink For gaps over 1” use Perma-Chink For gaps over 1” use Perma-Chink

Perma-Chink 5 Gallon Bucket Coverage

(Note: 1 x 5 gallon pail = 20 x 30oz tubes = 55 x 11oz tubes)

Gap Width Coverage of 1-5 gallon Bucket
For Gaps Smaller than 1” in Width Use Energy Seal Caulk
1” 380 Linear Feet
11/2” 256 Linear Feet
2” 192 Linear Feet
21/2” 154 Linear Feet
3” 127 Linear Feet
31/2” 110 Linear Feet
4” 96 Linear Feet
41/2” 85 Linear Feet
5” 76 Linear Feet
6” 63.5 Linear Feet

Important Questions to Ask Your Contractor

woman contractorHiring a contractor to restore, clean or stain your log home can often be overwhelming. Below is a list of questions to help guide you through the process of selecting a contractor for your log home.  As a rule of thumb, ask these questions of at least two contractors and obtain at least two references from each contractor you are considering for the job.

  1. Are you licensed, bonded and insured? Do you have proof of insurance? May I see the proof of insurance?
  2. How many years of experience do you have working on log homes?
  3. Do you have your own team that you have experience working with or do you contract labor out?
  4. Do you have experience with pressure washing and cleaning log homes before staining? Can you provide me with pictures of other jobs you have completed this task for?
  5. What stain products do you have experience applying? Can you provide me with pictures of other jobs you have completed this task for?
  6. Can you provide me with an itemized bid?
  7. Is your bid an estimate or a fixed price?
  8. Can you provide me with an estimated time of beginning and ending the project?

To find contractors in your area for log home repair and finishing, head over to our Find a Contractor page.

Are you a contractor who would like to be listed on LogFinish.com? Click here to start the process.



How to Repair Log Rot

log rotThe best strategy when treating wood rot is to remove the rotted areas. See the options below for repairing wood rot.

For logs with significant rot damage (50% or more):

 If a log on your home is more than 50% eaten away by rot, the structural integrity of the home has been compromised and it is important to move ahead with a plan to replace the rotted log. Make sure to contact an experienced log home renovation professional to replace a log.  A number of such professionals can be found on the Find a Contractor section of LogFinish.com.

If you just have the beginnings  of a log rot problem (i.e. a soft spot in the log) consider the below treatments:

1. Remove, Protect and Replace

  • Make a vertical cut on either side of the soft spot to the depth of the soft wood.  
  • Then use a coal or vibrating chisel and hog out the rotted wood until you reach solid  sound wood.   
  • Level out the area to a flat surface.  
  • Coat the area with Shellguard RTU (borate) to prevent further expansion of rot.
  • Allow the Shellguard to dry for 3-5 days.  
  • Using a piece of log siding or a section of whole  log cut to the depth of the hole, cut a segment to precisely fill the gap.
  • Fasten the section in place with Liquid Nail and caulk all edges with Energy Seal. Apply  Shellguard RTU and then the wood finish you have selected.  
  • As water is usually the cause of rot issues, make sure that the source of the water problem gets solved.

2. Use a Epoxy system developed specifically for wood like the M-Balm and E- Wood epoxy system:

  • Following the steps listed above to hog out the rotted wood.
  • When you get to solid wood, coat the area with Shellguard RTU (borate).
  • Allow the Shellguard to dry for 3-5 days and then re-coat the area with M-Balm. M- Balm is a 2 part epoxy primer. This prepares the area to accept the E-Wood Filler.
  • Fill the primed area with E-Wood and shape to the log profile. The epoxy filler will be stronger than the original wood.
  • Sand the area and apply finish.
    • Please note: The E-Wood has little absorbency and must be used in conjunction with film forming finishes such as Lifeline Ultra 2  or Ultra 7 ,  Sikkens Log & Siding or WeatherSeal.  Penetrating products such as Q8 Log Oil and Seal Once Poly Blend  do not work well in this situation. E-Wood has a wood tone but it may not match your homes exterior wood tone. Use multiple stain coats to minimize any blotchiness and spotting.

Article authored by Bill Frykberg, LogFinish.com

Learn How to Apply Energy Seal

Article is provided  with the permission of Perma-Chink Systems, LLC.

Energy Seal™ is specially formulated for sealing narrow gaps in log home joinery such as butt joints, window trims, door trim and corners. These gaps should be no larger than one inch wide. Energy Seal contains a fine aggregate that gives it a texture which enables it to more closely match the texture of wood and accept a stain, so that it will blend in with the stained wall color if so desired. Although it can be used in wider joints, we typically recommend using Perma-Chink® Log Home Chinking for wide chink joints.

When Should Energy Seal Be Applied?
The best time to apply Energy Seal is after the home has been cleaned and before the finish is applied. The wood surfaces will be fresh and clean and Energy Seal adheres best to bare wood surfaces. That’s not saying that it won’t adhere to stained and/or top-coated surfaces, but it adheres best to bare wood. Application to surfaces with a freshly applied oil-based stain should be avoided. For the least visible caulk lines choose a color that’s a shade lighter than the stain color you plan to use. It’s easier to cover a lighter color sealant with a darker color stain than it is to hide a dark colored sealant with a light colored stain. However, if you prefer the look of visible caulk lines, apply Energy Seal after you stain. Just be sure that the surface is clean and dry.

If you are going to be applying Lifeline Advance Topcoat, apply the topcoat after the Energy Seal. This results in a more even appearance to the sealed areas and helps them blend in with the rest of the wall. Furthermore, it helps keep the Energy Seal application clean and easier to clean when maintenance cleaning is required.

Using Backing Materials
Backing materials furnish an even surface for the application of a sealant and make it easier to apply a uniform thickness across the joint or gap. They also provide two-point adhesion to ensure maximum elasticity and flexibility after the sealant has cured (they form a bond breaker in the center of the sealant band with adhesion to the wood at both sides). The use of improper or poorly installed backing materials can result in unsightly sealant joints and substandard performance. They are an integral part of the sealant system and should always be used whenever and wherever possible.without backerrod

There are a number of products specifically designed for use as backing materials for sealants. For smaller gaps, joints and cracks the most commonly used material is round backer rod. It comes in a range of sizes and is relatively inexpensive. Since it is flexible it can be pushed into a crevice without needing to be nailed or stapled. Grip Strip is designed for sealing larger gaps. Similar in composition to backer rod, it is shaped like a trapezoid so it can be squeezed in between round logs although it can be used in a variety of situations. It provides a flat surface for chinking or sealing.attaching backer rod

In situations where a joint, seam or gap is too small to insert Backer Rod you can hold it in place by applying small dabs of Energy Seal along the seam and then pressing the Backer Rod into them. The dabs of Energy Seal will hold the Backer Rod in place while a proper thickness of Energy Seal is applied on top. You can also use a narrow strip of water-resistant masking tape. You don’t want to use masking tape that wrinkles when it gets wet, since the wrinkles may show through the sealant. For extremely narrow seams an excellent option is to use pinstripe tape available at most automotive supply stores. The tape is vinyl; therefore, it’s waterproof and since our sealants do not bond to it, it makes an excellent material to use. Pinstripe tape is available in widths down to 1/8”.

Approved Backing Materials
Grip Strip
Backer Rod
Log Gap Cap
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) beadboard, foil-faced
Polyisocyanurate board (Polyiso or R Max)
Polyurethane foam (Pur Fill, Great Stuff, etc)
Water-resistant masking tape or pinstripe tape

Extruded Polystyrene (causes blisters)
Blue Board, Pink Board or any other colored board (outgases and causes blisters)
Bare wood or strips of bare wood (outgases and loss of elasticity, 3-point adhesion)
Anything that you are unsure about check with Perma-Chink Systems before using it

The Role Backing Materials Play When Sealing a Seam

backer rod role

Round Logs
When deciding the width of a sealant joint between round logs a good guideline to follow is for the width of the sealant to be one-sixth the log diameter. For example, with six inch diameter logs 6” ÷ 6 = 1.0” wide sealant joint. The width of the backing material you require depends on the profile of your logs but you need to take into account that you will be applying a 3/8” thick layer of sealant over it and you’ll need at least ¼” top and bottom for adequate adhesion to the wood.

square logsSquared Logs
We rarely see squared log chink joints less than 2” wide, so Energy Seal or Woodsman is seldom used in these situations. However, for cosmetic chink joints less than 3/8 inches deep we recommend sealing the seam with Energy Seal and then applying Chink Paint over the entire joint. On the other hand Energy Seal is often used on squared logs for sealing corners, butt joints, widows, door frames and other areas where a visible chink joint is not desired.

Applying Energy Seal
The overall performance of any sealant system is dependent on the use of proper application methods. Any sealant must be applied in a manner that will allow it to stretch in order to compensate for log movement. If it is applied too thick, once it cures it won’t be able to stretch enough to compensate for the movement and it may tear away from the wood. Think of it like a rubber band. A thick rubber band will not stretch as far as a thin one. However if the rubber band is too thin, it will break when it is stretched. The same thing applies to sealants. If applied too thick, they can’t stretch and if too thin they may be weak and will tear when pulled apart. In the case of our sealants the magic number is an applied wet thickness of 3/8”. When cured this results in the best elongation with maximum strength.

Have the Proper Tools
Before you start have all of the tools that you will need at hand and be sure that they are clean and in good working order.

These may include:

Weather Conditions
Freshly applied sealants should be protected from direct rainfall for a minimum of 24 hours. Either watch the weather or drape a newly sealed wall with plastic film. Be sure to allow some airspace between the wall and the plastic to facilitate drying. Avoid applying sealants in direct sunlight or when the temperature is less than 40° F. In cold weather it’s important that the logs be free of frost and dew in order to ensure that the sealant adheres tightly to the wood. The best surface temperature range for easiest application and best results is between 50° F and 80° F.

Cut the applicator or tube tip to the desired diameter of the sealant bead you want to apply.

seal step1
Step 1: Begin by holding the tip firmly against the seam or joint and apply a bead of sealant. You need to apply enough sealant to maintain a wet thickness of at least 5/16” and no more than ½” (target = 3/8”) across the entire seam or joint after tooling. Only apply as much sealant as you can tool smooth in about 15 minutes.
seal step2
Step 2: Once the joint is filled trowel it out to approximately 3/8th of an inch thick across the entire joint. Do not spray it with water at this time! Make sure there is good contact between the sealant and the exposed edges of the wood. The most difficult areas to tool are corners. You tend to drag product out of the corners resulting in the sealant becoming too thin. You can occasionally check the thickness of the sealant using a toothpick to see if you are maintaining the proper thickness.
seal step3
Step 3: Once the sealant is roughly in place and any entrapped air worked out of it, spray it with a light mist of water. Do not saturate the surface with water. If water begins to run down the wall, you have applied too much.
seal step4
Step 4: Tool the surface smooth with a trowel or spatula. If you used masking tape to protect the surrounding wood be sure to remove it as soon as you are finished tooling and make sure that you have not left any lip on the top edge of the sealant that may catch water. If you have, tool it smooth.

Sealing Window & Door Frames

sealing window doors1

If you get any sealant on the surface of the wood, be sure to wipe it off with a wet rag as soon as possible. If you allow it to dry it will be just about impossible to completely remove. Make sure to clean your tools and equipment with clean water occasionally during application. Dried sealant is difficult to remove from just about anything including clothes.

Drying and Curing
Drying time and curing time are two entirely different terms. In warm or hot weather, Energy Seal may begin to skin over in as little as ten minutes while a complete cure may take a couple of weeks. Cooler temperatures will slow both the drying time and curing process.

Get Your Deck Ready for Summer with These Tips

Summertime is fast approaching. Take a moment to review these tips for maintaining your deck so you can enjoy your time outside when the warm weather arrives.


1. Clear the deck– Remove all deck furniture, grills and potted plants, etc.

2. Sweep – To prevent mildew and algae growth remove all loose dirt and leaves accumulated on the deck floor. Use the broom to remove any cobwebs or loose dirt on railings.

3. Remove debris– To help prevent rot, remove any debris that may be caught between deck boards with a putty knife. Also, take this time to remove leaves and debris from gutters that may be overhanging the deck.  Doing this will make sure water is being diverted away from the deck floors and your exterior walls.

4. Wash– Once all loose debris is removed wet down the deck with a hose and apply a quality wood cleaner like Log Wash. To brighten and remove discoloration or gray wood, use X-180 Weathered Wood Restorer, KleenStart or All Wood Cleaner.

5. Dry – Allow wood to dry completely (usually 2-4 dry days) before moving deck furniture, etc back onto the deck.

6. Clear away vegetation – Take time to clear away leaves, dried pine needles, branches or dead vegetation around the perimeters of the deck to help protect your home from potential fire under very dry conditions.


1. Floor boards – Check boards for damage, rot, warping, cracking and stability. Remove and replace all popped nails and screws or rusted hardware.

2. Structural supports – Inspect all post, beams, joists and the ledger (area where deck is attached to the house) for rot, stability, cracks and damage. Make sure all hardware is is good condition and with no rust.

3. Railings – Give the railings a good tug and make sure they are secure. Check for rot with special attention to areas where the spindles connect to the deck floor and the rail.


1. Make all necessary repairs. Replace boards where necessary. Replace rusted hardware with new hardware, etc.


1. Once repairs are completed decide if the wood needs a new coat of stain. We always recommend staying with the brand of stain currently on the deck and apply a maintenance coat as directed by the manufacturer.  If you are not  satisfied with the durability and quality of your current deck finish consider finding a compatible new finish.







7 Tips for Preventing Log Rot

Logs and log siding come from trees. They are a natural product. The cause of wood rot is a fungi which grows rapidly in the presence of water that is trapped in wood. If  proper measures are not taken to prevent rot,  nature takes over.

Wood shrinks and expands naturally. This regular occurrence is caused by temperature and humidity. The expansion and contraction causes checks or cracks in the wood.  If those checks are upward facing they provide an ideal place for water to accumulate. When water mixes with naturally occurring fungi in an upward facing check, wood rot can result. There are a number of ways to prevent wood rot from day one.  Let’s look at each:

  1. Controlling water by design is a great way to prevent wood rot. Large overhangs and porches all around will keep water off your logs. If the water cannot get to your logs, rot will not be an issue. Gutters also do a great job keeping water from running off your roof, landing on a deck or patio and bouncing back up on the logs.
  2. All wood on your log home should be at least 24 inches off the ground. Make sure you design your foundation with enough height to make this a reality.
  3. Treat your logs and log siding first with an EPA registered wood preservative. The typical preservative options are borates such as those found in Shellguard and Shellguard RTU. These wood preservatives are safe to use according to the manufacturers directions and are effective at killing of the fungi that causes wood rot. These products are penetrators and must be applied to bare wood.
  4. A different approach to wood preservatives is a log home finish which is also a wood preservative such as Outlast Q8 Log Oil. This two in one product provides a beautiful finish as well as penetrating deep into the wood to kill off fungi. The active ingredient in Q8 Log Oil is Copper 8 Quinolinolate and it is just as effective the borate based product.
  5.  Another source of log rot is from water getting in around windows and doors as well as at corners and log butt ends. Energy Seal is the solution.  Before applying Energy Seal log caulk, always first insert a piece of backer rod.  No mater what species you have built your home from, you can rest assured that as temperatures rise and fall your logs will move. The backer rod allows the caulk to expand and contract without tearing.
  6. The best way to prevent rot is to keep water out of your wood. This can be done by using a top notch exterior finish on your logs and log siding and regularly maintaining that finish per the manufacturer’s directions. The key is maintaining that finish on a regular basis to keep water out.
  7. Logs and log siding are natural products. They shrink and check over time. When upward facing checks appear you should treat them to keep water out. The best way to deal with checks is to seal them up with Checkmate 2 .  First insert some round backer rod and then apply Checkmate 2 to a depth of approximately 3/8″. For step by step instructions on sealing checks visit LogFinish.com.




Keeping Your Home Carpenter Bee Free

Carpenter Bees rarely cause structural damage to homes unless they have been drilling and nesting in the same wood for years at a time. More likely damage will happen when woodpeckers hear the Carpenter Bee larvae in the nests and then start to damage the wood in order to get at a tasty meal.


Treatment as related to Carpenter Bees usually means taking control of the nesting areas by eliminating the bees or using products to repel the bees.

When to treat: (1) It is a good idea to treat in the spring, when bees are first observed, (2) again in mid-summer to kill any bees which may not have acquired a sufficient treatment when they emerged, and a third time in early fall to contact any over-wintering bees occupying the tunnels.

Carpenter Bees like many other bees are very effective pollinators. Currently, there is a global shortage of pollinators which is threatening  farmers’ livelihoods and our food supply.  Due to this concern, please consider pesticide-free alternatives when treating Carpenter Bee nests.

Pesticide Free Treatment and Prevention

Carpenter Bees emerge in early Spring from their nests and start to collect pollen.  On sunny, warm days, Carpenter Bees, both male and female, will leave the nesting holes. The females who are the active drillers will collect pollen to bring back to the nest, which will eventually feed the young.  At this time, you can safely use a coat hanger to eliminate any larvae in the nesting site by inserting the wire into the nest and breaking up any larval activity. Coat the holes in almond oil or NBS 30. Once that is done plug the holes with a small ball of aluminum foil and caulk the holes with wood caulk or fill in the hole with a wooden dowel.

To further prevent Carpenter Bee nesting, spray NBS 30 Insect Repellent, a mix of plant oils that makes wood smell unpleasant to Carpenter Bees as well as drilling wasps and ladybugs. Apply the repellent after plugging the holes in early Spring. NBS 30 can be mixed with water for a temporary (30-60 day) topical solution or mixed with wood finish (always in the last coat applied) for a longer term repellent solution.

To provide alternative nesting options for Carpenter Bees, drill 1/2″ holes in wood blocks and hang them in sheltered areas around your house and deck. The bees will often decide to nest in these blocks, rather than trying to re-drill nests in the fascia and soffits of your home.

Pesticide Treatment and Prevention

Prevention may be accomplished by an insecticide additive like Bug Juice added to standard paint or log home finishes on new structures or when maintenance coats are needed and will eliminate bees.

Treatment as it relates to elimination of Carpenter bees which have already drilled into a structure, involves steps recommended by entomologists which are effective in reducing future nesting activities.

In early Spring, obtain a pesticide, product containing carbaryl (Sevin), cyfluthrin or resmethrin. Insert this in the nesting hole. Wait for the bees to exit the hole, then plug the hole with aluminum foil and either caulk the hole with wood caulk, or use a wooden dowel. Avoid inhaling the insecticide or contaminating your clothing with the spray. Always stand upwind from the surface you’re treating.  Treated tunnels should be sealed with a small ball of aluminum foil and caulked with log caulk, wood putty or filled with a wooden dowel after 24-36 hours.

In conclusion, not everyone has the same level of issues with Carpenter Bees. Unfortunately, when even one hole is evident it should be treated with the full extent of treatment recommended for prevention. Treating one time and forgetting about it does not work! Monitor the situation from year to year in order to stay on top of the issue. An ounce of prevention………




How to Store Sealants and Finishes During Winter

Freezing temperatures are here! In order to get the best value out of your product investment, know how to store your leftover or unused sealants and finishes during Winter. Here are some guidelines on storage:

In general, it is best not to let any of of these products freeze.  Though some sealants and finishes may be listed as “freeze-thaw stable” it is important to know that any finish or sealant that has been frozen will never completely regain all of the initial properties it had before it was frozen, however, it may still be usable.

Each freeze/thaw cycle log cabin drawingcontributes to the degradation of sealants and finishes. In the event that the product went through multiple freeze/thaw cycles (or more cycles than recommended by the manufacturer) it is most likely that the product is no longer suitable for use and best to start again with a fresh batch.

In the event that the sealant or finish does get frozen, it is best to let the product stay frozen for the duration of the season, rather that bring it inside to thaw and risk it being frozen again. The succession of the freeze/thaw cycle occurring repeatedly is  what primarily causes the breakdown of the product.

See below for product by product guidelines for freeze/thaw stability. Unless otherwise stated all products distributed by LogFinish.com should ideally be stored in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

Product Classification Shelf Life
Outlast Q8 Log Oil Freeze/Thaw Stable Indefinite when stored in a cool, dry place.
NBS 30 Freeze/Thaw Stable Indefinite when stored in a cool, dry place unopened.
Mold-Buster Mildewcide Freeze/Thaw Stable 3-4 years when unopened and not allowed to freeze.
Bug Juice Freeze Thaw Stable Not opened should last up to 2 years. Opened but recapped/tightly sealed same amount of time. If container is not sealed properly, over time it will dry out.
Sikkens Proluxe Cetol Log & Siding Freezable 5 year maximum shelf life when unopened.
Sikkens Proluxe SRD Freezable 2 years maximum when unopened.
Sikkens Proluxe Cetol Maintenance Freezable 5 years maximum when unopened.
WeatherSeal Freeze/Thaw Stable (through at least 10 cycles) 8-10 years when properly sealed. Make sure to remove skin and stir thoroughly before use.
Lifeline Ultra 7 Limited Freeze/Thaw Stable (through 5 cycles) 3 years
Lifeline Ultra 2 Freeze/Thaw Stable 3 years
Lifeline Interior Freeze/Thaw Stable 3 Years
Lifeline Acrylic Freeze/Thaw Stable 3 Years
Lifeline Advance Freeze/Thaw Stable 3 Years
Energy Seal Freeze/Thaw Stable 3 Years
Perma-Chink Log Chinking Freeze/Thaw Stable 3 Years
CheckMate 2 Freeze/Thaw Stable 1 Year
Seal Once Poly Blend Freeze/Thaw Stable up to 3 cycles Unopened shelf life of 18 months.
Seal Once Total Wood Protection Freeze/Thaw Stable up to 3 cycles Indefinite when unopened and stored in  cool, dry place.