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.