Introducing Log Gap Caps – Perfect for Sealing Around Doors and Windows

log gap cap foam insert

No more hand cutting foam inserts before caulking around your doors and windows! The Log Gap Cap™ reduces air infiltration where round logs meet window and door trim. Though designed to work with 6″ to 10″ diameter logs, the Log Gap Cap’s uniform shape fits most log profiles. With an easy scissor cut along the flat side, they work in log siding applications. The material is resistant to mold, rot, bacteria, and will not absorb moisture. A perfect companion to Energy Seal applications. Check out step by step instructions on using Log Gap Caps below:

log cap caps log home

 

 

How to Check Your Wood Home for Air Leaks

Reduce your utility bill this Winter by checking for air leaks in your home. A few air leaks can cost you many extra dollars per month. The key is to find and seal these air leaks before the super cold weather sets in.  Check out the 3 ways to successfully locate air leaks below.

Energy.gov  recommends first performing a visual inspection. On the outside of your home, make sure to inspect all areas where two different building materials meet including :

  • All exterior corners
  • Outdoor water faucets
  • Where siding and chimneys meet
  • Areas where the foundation and the bottom of exterior brick or siding meet.

On the inside of your home:

  • Electrical outlets
  • Switch plates
  • Door and window frames
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Baseboards
  • Weather stripping around doors
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Attic hatches
  • Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners.
  • Cable TV and phone lines
  • Where dryer vents pass through walls
  • Vents and fans

Easy Do It Yourself Method

Set aside time to locate air leaks on a cool Fall day, when the outside temperature is at least 20 degrees lower than the temperature in your home.

Items you will need:

  • Small bucket of warm waterEnergy Seal Box Logo
  • A piece of chalk
  • A step stool or ladder depending on the height of your ceilings.
  • Caulking material
  • Backer rod
  • Caulking gun
  • Masking tape
  1. Dip your hand in the water and run your wet hand over the interior walls, making sure to keep your hand about 6-12 inches away from the wall surface.
  2.  You will easily feel the cold air if there are leaks in the walls.
  3. Make sure to use this method around doors and windows, as those are often places where air leaks develop.
  4. Mark these areas where you feel cold air with the chalk.
  5. Once you locate leaks, the best way to close up cracks and crevices is from the outside.  Sealing a leak from the outside will prevent further air infiltration as well as water.
  6. The opening source of the leak outside may be several inches from the spot where it is felt inside the home. Continue to seal the area until the person on the inside no longer detects the air leak. For step by step information on sealing areas on log homes see our Energy Seal application page.
  7. In some areas, it may be necessary to use a flexible backing material, see information on backer rod.

Advanced Do It Yourself Methodblue fan

  1. For a more advanced and detailed way of finding leaks, place a box fan in a window or door blowing outward.
  2. Cover the rest of the opening with plastic sheeting. Doing this will draw cold air into your home through the leaks making them easier to find.
  3. Once you have located and marked your leaks, continue on with the steps listed above.

Hire a Professional

Another option for dealing with the air leaks in your home is hiring a professional to locate and caulk the leaks. If you know you have quite a few drafts and leaks to caulk, this may be the most time-efficient option.

With a little patience, time and diligence you can be on your way to utility savings and a warmer house.

Thanks to Perma-Chink Systems, LLC for providing inspiration and reference for this article.

Additional Source:

http://energy.gov/energysaver/air-sealing-your-home

Tips for Preventing and Treating Cluster Flies

In late Fall and early Winter many homeowners notice large flies gathering in warm windows, in attics and loft spaces. These flies are called Cluster Flies. During Winter, Cluster Flies hibernate indoors where it is warm. You will often find them “clustered” in groups on the warm sides of your home. Jackie Davis from Cottage Life states, “Cluster flies don’t feed, breed, or lay eggs inside, so if you do nothing, they’ll either leave on their own, or die”. Really, they are just a nuisance, with their loud buzzing and the feeling of unease created by having creepy crawlies on your ceiling. Here are a couple ways to keep your home Cluster Fly free this Winter.

Close all cracks and crevices on your home

The first and best defense against Cluster Flies is to keep them from coming into your home. Cluster Flies are attracted to the warmth of a heated space and usually enter homes through small cracks and crevices. Make sure to seal up all these areas around your home including windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys and under fascia with good quality caulking. Make sure to do this well before cool temperatures arrive.

Patch or replace all window and door screens

Torn window and door screens are a easy way for Cluster Flies to enter your home. Patch or replace these before cool temperatures arrive.

Use a fly swatter or vacuum

If Cluster Flies do get into your home, and on warmer days find their way out of hibernation you will notice their sluggish buzzing around your house.  If they become bothersome, the simple use of a fly swatter can remedy the problem.

A vacuum is also an option if they are clustering in accessible windows or ceilings.

Do not use insecticides

FightBugs.com states that timing of insecticide sprays for Cluster Flies is crucial. Too early and the insecticide gets broken down by the sun and does not effect the flies, too late and the flies are already in your house. In addition, insecticides must be sprayed every year. We do not recommend spraying insecticides on the interior or exterior of your house.  The danger to you and your family far outweighs the benefits. We also do not recommend using an insecticide powder to kill flies where they cluster, this will cause the flies to die in your walls which could then attract Carpet Beetles. Carpet Beetles then feed on the dead flies and can wreak havoc on woolens, dry goods and other natural items in your home.

Practicing preventative tactics is really the best way to deal with Cluster Flies, if they can’t get in, they can’t bother you.  It may take several years of regularly sealing cracks to eliminate Cluster Flies, but in the end your work will pay off.

Reference sites:

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/cluster-flies

http://www.orkin.com/flies/cluster-flies/

http://cottagelife.com/environment/how-to-get-rid-of-cluster-flies

http://www.fightbugs.com/get-rid-cluster-flies/

Should You Choose Energy Seal or Perma-Chink?

LogFinish.com is a stocking distributor of Perma-Chink products. The following article was provided to LogFinish.com for re-publication by Perm-Chink Systems, LLC.

Which Log Home Sealant Should I Use?

We are asked this question very frequently about our two biggest selling log home sealants. Both of these sealants were formulated to weatherproof joinery in log and log sided buildings. Our simplest answer is that in general, Perma-Chink should be used in applications where the seam width is one inch or wider and Energy Seal is a better choice in sealant seams that are narrower than one inch or where joinery was not intended to have chinking applied to it. However, this answer is overly simplistic when you consider the variety of log profiles and joinery types and many different surfaces that come together to make up a finished log structure.

What is the Difference?

Log Home Interior Using Perma-Chink®
perma-chink

Perma-Chink is our original log home sealant (and the company namesake). It was formulated to look like the concrete mortar that was typically used on full-log construction at that time. It is the original elastic log home sealant. Today Perma-Chink is available in eight different colors, some of which look like concrete, the others are various wood tones.

Log Home Interior Using Energy Seal™
energy seal

Energy Seal was formulated at the request of our customers at a much later date. These customers had homes that were usually built with log profiles that did not use chinking, but required weatherproofing some time after they were finished and in use. Because the application surfaces were never intended for a sealant application, they don’t have proper geometry that includes a caulking well to allow for sealant and backing material installation. Consequently, we formulated Energy Seal to have higher elongation performance. Energy Seal comes in a wide selection of 12 colors for customers who would prefer to conceal the sealant or even to match the chinking on their log home.

es-pcEnergy Seal is a Better Choice in the Following Situations:

In general, Energy Seal is a better choice for very demanding, narrow seam application where more stretch is required in a narrow sealant seam. It is also the best choice if you would like the sealant to blend in with the wood surface and not be easily seen. Energy Seal is an excellent choice for use in sealing around doors and windows, butt joints, corners, and junctions between log walls and other surfaces such as beams, rooflines or framed walls.

Perma-Chink is a Better Choice When:

Many log homes are designed, manufactured and constructed with chinking an integral part of the building envelope. Perma-Chink is the clear choice in this situation.  Additionally, Perma Chink is ideal to use when sealing up the junction between wood walls and concrete, brick or stone features like fireplaces, stone accents and walls.

Tips for Preventing and Treating Ladybug Infestations

In the Fall, many homeowners experience an overwhelming onset of Ladybugs in their homes. Ladybugs are particularly attracted to homes in wooded areas, homes with natural wood siding that is warmed by the sun, homes with lots of cracks and crevices and are often attracted to light colored areas on homes.  It is thought that the reason they gravitate towards lighter colored surfaces is that those areas mimic their native habitat where they hibernate in sun-warmed limestone cliffs.  There are many options for helping to prevent and treat ladybug issues, check out our recommendations below.

Prevention

Seal all Cracks, Gaps and Crevices

  • Ladybugs enter homes through small cracks and crevices all over the house. Be sure to seal up all cracks around windows, doors, pipes, clap boards and other utility lines that enter the house before the Fall season approaches.
  • Replace mortar and weatherstripping around basement foundation and windows.
  • Repair or replace broken screens on windows and doors.

Spray a Repellent

  • Ladybugs do not like citronella or the smell of mint.
  • Combine peppermint essential oil with water and spray around the areas Ladybugs gather.
  • For exterior areas where they may be entering, spray plant oil based repellent like NBS 30 around entry points to help discourage them.

Set Up a Ladybug House

  • Provide the Ladybugs with another location to over winter that is safe and warm but outside your home by providing them with a Ladybug House.

Plant Mums

  • Mums are a late blooming Fall flower that repel ladybugs. Plant mums around your house, on decks and in window boxes.

Use Diatomaceous Earth

  • Diatomaceous earth is a soft, crumbly, porous sedimentary deposit formed from the fossil remains of single celled algae. Spreading food grade diatomaceous earth around your house, awnings, window seals, etc will often keep Ladybugs away. The substance gets stuck to the Ladybug’s legs, making it unpleasant for them to walk through.

Treatment of Existing Infestations

Ladybugs  are harmless, though they can be a nuisance and often make people uncomfortable. Ladybugs do not eat household items and do not lay eggs while hibernating in the home. Ladybugs will however excrete a stinky yellow substance, (which is actually their blood) when they sense danger, this substance has been known to stain light color objects.  That being said, here are some methods to deal with an existing infestation:

Make an In-Home Repellent Spray

  • Ladybugs don’t like the smell of camphor menthol, citrus or clove scents. Use a couple drops of one of these essential oils mixed with water in a spray bottle and spray in areas where the ladybugs are congregating. Often, they will leave the premises.

Vacuum with Hose Attachment or Shop Vac

  • Ladybugs will often survive vacuuming. To do this humanely as possible, place an old sock on the end of the vacuum nozzle with a rubber band. The suction will pull the ladybugs into the sock and then you can easily transport them outside away from your home.

Caution: Use of topical insecticides or bug bombs on the exterior or interior of your home exposes children, pets and yourself to potentially harmful substances. For everyone’s safety, it is best to stick with sustainable methods of dealing with ladybugs.

Often several seasons of treatment may be necessary to rid your home of Ladybugs but your efforts will usually pay off over time.

Do you have a successful way of preventing Ladybugs? Share your story in the comments section below.

Reference Sites:

http://www.ladybuglady.com/infestation.htm

http://www.todayshomeowner.com/how-to-deal-with-ladybug-infestation/

http://household-tips.thefuntimesguide.com/2010/08/ladybug_infestation.php

http://www.orkin.com/other/beetles/ladybugs-asian-lady-beetles/

 

Tips for Winterizing Your Wood Home

October is coming on fast, and that means it’s time to winterize your wood home. You may have cold weather already, or it could be just around the corner, but taking these simple steps to winterize now means your home will be protected and toasty warm before cold temperatures are here to stay.

Inspect Your Logs

If you have temperatures above 50 degrees, you can still re-coat your home and decks with a wood finish. Following recommended maintenance schedules protects the integrity of the wood, enhances the beauty of your home and saves you money over time.

Wash Wood Surfaces

Wood exterior surfaces collect a lot of dirt, dust and pollen. Fall is a great time to wash down your wood home. We recommend washing with Log Wash for light surface cleaning. Log Wash is super easy to use! All it requires is a pump up sprayer and a garden hose with a spray attachment.

Fill Checks and Gaps

Great information from Perma-Chink Systems: Come Fall, lady bugs and box-elder bugs love to congregate on warm log walls, sometimes in the thousands. They too will enter the home through any small openings. The only effective way to keep them out of the home is to prevent them from getting inside by sealing up their entrance points. Pesticides do not work well against these insects and besides, ladybugs are beneficial insects that feed on aphids and other bugs that can harm your plants and shrubs.

Fill upward facing checks in logs, and any gaps around doors, windows, and exterior ventilation openings.  This prevents moisture infiltration from ice, rain and snow and keeps indoor heat from escaping.   Once the weather turns cool, many types of insects start looking for a nice, warm place to spend winter. Cluster flies ( they look like big house flies) can detect warm air coming out of a home from many yards away. They follow the warm air to its source and squeeze through amazingly small cracks. We recommend Energy Seal, and Checkmate 2.

Inspect and Clean Your Gutters

Gutters are an important part of keeping wood in great condition. Clean gutters keep excess water from spilling, splashing and saturating wood surfaces. Make sure all gutters are free of fallen leaves and obstructions.

Inspect Your Landscaping

Trim tree branches resting on your roof or hanging too close to power lines. Rake leaves and excess vegetation away from your foundation to keep unwanted critters and wood boring insects at bay. Dry, brittle pine needles are a potential fire hazard. Reduce your risk by clearing them away from your home and off your roof. If you are in an area prone to natural fires, consider protecting your home with a flame retardant. We recommend Flame Seal Wood Seal.

Clean and Seal Concrete Surfaces

Fall is the perfect time to clean and seal concrete driveways and patios so they hold up to damaging Winter salts and freezing temps. It’s also important to fill cracks while they’re small to prevent spreading and expansion. We recommend Concrete Masonry Cleaner and Seal-Once Concrete & Masonry Waterproofing Sealer.

Perform Marina and Dock maintenance

Pulling up a dock? Clean it  and then seal it with a good waterproofer to protect it from harsh elements. We recommend Seal-Once Marine.

Protect your Patio or Deck Furniture

Give your outdoor furniture a good cleaning and then let dry,  cover and protect for the coming Winter.

Whether you plan to stay in your wood home through the Winter or leave and return in the Spring, properly winterizing protects your home through those cold Winter months and extends its life for many years of enjoyment.

 

 

Why Wood Turns Gray If You Use a Clear Finish

Effect of 18 Months of Sun Exposure on Bare Northern White Cedar
Effect of 18 Months of Sun Exposure on Bare Northern White Cedar-Image courtesy Perma-Chink Systems

 

 

“The bottom line is that if only clear coats are applied to exterior bare wood they provide only temporary protection against UV damage.” – Perma-Chink Systems

Our customers often ask us for a clear finish that will protect their wood.  The truth is, clear finishes may provide water repellency, resistance against mold and mildew and insecticidal properties, but clear finishes do not  protect your log home from damaging UV rays that cause graying of your home’s exterior walls, decks and rails.  With most clear finishes you will notice graying wood within 6-24  months of initial application.

Why will the exterior of your home turn gray if you only use a clear finish to protect it?   Clear finishes do not contain the appropriate pigment load to absorb UV rays from the sun. Clear finishes often contain little to no chemical UV inhibitors and the inhibitors they do contain are often “sacrificial, in other words the more UV light that they are exposed to, the quicker they get used up” according to Perma-Chink Systems. The result is a clear finish that breaks down rapidly from exposure to the sun, leaving wood unprotected and exposed to damaging  UV rays.  Wood will then start to turn gray, which is the natural reaction of bare wood fibers when exposed to the sun for extended periods of time.

We like to compare pigmented wood finishes to sunblock. Your body’s natural reaction when exposed to the sun over time is to tan or burn, it’s just how your body manages UV exposure. You apply sunblock to create a protective layer between you and the sun.  When you apply a wood finish that contains pigments or tints, you are accomplishing the same thing as you are with applying sunblock before you go to the pool, which is to provide a layer of pigment protection between the wood and the sun.

Semi-transparent, tinted wood finishes provide your wood with UV protection. Different wood finish brands contain various UV inhibitors, but the rule of thumb is the darker the tint of the stain, the better the UV protection for your house.  If your house is located in a high sun area, where it is fully exposed for hours at a time, LogFinish.com recommends using a finish with a medium to dark tint.

If your deck or wood exteriors are weathered and gray and you have decided to re-finish them with a tinted product it is important to first remove the gray, weathered surface. To do this, we recommend using a cleaning and brightening product that will leave your wood at the proper pH for staining as well as remove any dirt and pollen that has collected on the wood.  We do not recommend using household bleach and water to brighten wood because of its ability to dramatically change the natural pH of the wood. Instead, try out an oxalic acid based product like X-180 Weathered Wood Restorer, a wood cleaner and brightener for mild to severely discolored wood.

Thanks to the good folks at Perma-Chink Systems and LogFinish.com for inspiring this article and providing a wealth of information on this subject.

Tips for Maintaining Your Wood Home

“Maintenance should not be viewed as a chore or just an expense, it should be considered as an investment in your home’s longevity and value. Properly cared for log homes will appreciate in value, rather than depreciate. “ -Tony Huddleston, Perma-Chink Systems.

 

Wood homes require more maintenance than painted or vinyl sided homes. When you have a wood home it is important to know that you are working with a natural material that will sunburn (graying of the wood) and dry out if not properly maintained over the years. Most log finish manufacturers will give you a time frame during which you should apply a maintenance coat. Some don’t. The tips in this article will help you know when it is time to apply a maintenance coat.

  • Every log or wood sided home is different. Each home has a variety of factors that influence when you will need to apply a maintenance coat. Some of those factors include the age and porosity of the wood, how the wood was maintained before it was stained, if the wood has been sanded and what type of weather elements the wood is exposed to on a regular basis.
  • It is important to wash your home annually. While washing with a wood-specific cleaner like Log Wash, take the time to evaluate your wood home wall by wall.
  • Wall by wall evaluation before applying a maintenance coat makes sure you will avoid excess build up of previous coatings. Know that if a manufacturer recommends applying a maintenance re-coat every 3-5 years, that one wall could need re-staining every 3 years and another every 5 or more years depending on exposure to elements.
  • For penetrating finishes like Seal-Once Poly Blend and Outlast Q8 Log Oil, watch for fading, cracking or checking of the wood and reduced water repellency as indications of when to apply a maintenance coat.
  • For film forming finishes like WeatherSeal, Perma-Chink and Sikkens Proluxe Log & Siding, look for fading, chalking, flaking, cracking or checking of the wood and reduced sheen. Do not wait until these finishes peel because it is likely that the surface will need to be stripped before re-application.
  • Make your maintenance checklist a yearly to-do. Again, take some time to walk around your home and assess the wood. Do you see fading or reduced water repellency? Wood that looks dry? Reduced sheen? All these symptoms indicate it is time to re-stain.
  • Regular maintenance and inspections can save you money over time. With a little time, attention to detail and knowledge you can maintain your home on a regular basis with little worry on what to do and when.

Product Spotlight: Keep Your Home Insect Free, Naturally!

NBS30

Do you have Carpenter Bees or boring wasps that are drilling holes in your wood?  Ladybugs in the eaves and nooks of your roof and attic? Silverfish coming from your basement? It’s never too early to start thinking about protecting your home from the pesky insects that come out around March or April.   Treat all of these and many more with Outlast™NBS 30, an all-natural, plant oil-based insect repellent.

The benefits of NBS 30 include:

  • Mixes easily with both oil and water-based paints and stains          
  • Can be mixed easily with water for spray application
  • Repels crawling and nesting insects
  • Discourages Carpenter Ants and Bees
  • Reduces Ladybug Infestations
  • All Natural Ingredients
  • 100% Botanical
  • Safe for Pets and People
  • Will Not Harm Plants
  • Extremely Low Toxicity 

 NBS 30 additive is designed for use in exterior oil or water-based coatings where it encapsulates the NBS 30 to provide a “time release” insect repellent.  NBS 30 will deter and inhibit insects from burrowing through or crawling on exterior coatings, and can be used in residential settings as well as dairy facilities, restaurants, parks, playgrounds, agricultural settings, schools, zoos, etc.  NBS 30 is effective in controlling crawling and nesting activity on painted or stained surfaces to which it has been added.  Ants, cockroaches, beetles, mites, spiders, fleas, ticks, silverfish, dirt daubers, bees and wasps are deterred from crawling on, nesting on or burrowing through coatings treated with NBS 30 Additive.

For more information on NBS 30 click here.

 

Product Spotlight: Lead-Out Lead Paint Remover, Removing lead paint is finally easy, safe and affordable!

No more complicated, dangerous and unsafe lead paint removal!

Franmar has developed a revolutionary paint stripper that renders lead paint non-hazardous for safe removal and inexpensive disposal.  Made from soybeans, LEAD OUT™uses a special patented Molecular Bonding System or MBS® that reacts with lead at the molecular level to alter the lead compounds to a non-hazardous compound. The result is a simple and affordable way to safely remove lead-paint.

Because the lead in the paint is converted to a non-hazardous product, waste disposal is easy and inexpensive. LEAD OUT™will remove multiple layers (20+) of lead paint, latex, oil paints, enamels, varnish and urethane in one application and even cleans up with a simple degreaser such as Franmar’s EMERGE Surface Degreaser or Dawn dish detergent.

Once clean up is complete, surfaces treated with LEAD OUT™ consistently produce test results well below the EPA’s lead safe limits.

LEAD OUT™ contains no methylene chlorides,  is non-caustic and is 100% biodegradable.

LEAD OUT™ is safe to use on wood, brick, stone, metal, plaster and concrete.

For a look at LEAD OUT™ in action, check out our video: Lead Out Lead Paint Remover in Action

For more information on LEAD OUT™ from LogFinish.com click here.