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Common Log Home Questions Answered: Log Cabin Maintenance

Following our earlier post on ‘Log Home Restoration’, part two of the series ‘Common Log Home Questions Answered’ tackles popular questions on maintaining and protecting your log cabin.

Log home owners have a lot of queries and doubts about the maintenance and care needed for their home. Obviously everyone wants to keep their investment in good shape for years to come. By log home maintenance, we mean the general upkeep required to ensure there is proper protection from moisture, damaging UV radiation, air infiltration, insect and rodent intrusion. Keep reading to get answers to burning questions on staining your cabin, techniques for chinking, and tips for protecting against mildew, mold, termites and rot.

Why Do You Need To Maintain Your Log Home Regularly?

A little prevention goes a long way. Getting an annual inspection done on your log cabin and following a regular maintenance routine will keep your home looking the way it did when it was first finished. It is also necessary to maintain the integrity of your log structure. Taking measures like washing your home, re-staining and chinking and fixing minor problems that crop up can prevent major headaches in the long run. Though the amount of maintenance your log home will need depends on factors like your home’s location, design, and finish.

What Exterior Design Factors Should You Keep In Mind To Make It Easy Maintenance?

The main factors that you should remember when designing a log cabin are specific site conditions such as location, weather conditions, exposure to natural elements, how much snow or rain the area receives annually, the materials most suitable to the given conditions; and how to use the rooflines and overhangs to best protect the exterior log material.

What Role Does Finish Play In Maintenance? What Is The Best Type Of Finish For Your Log Cabin?

The selection of a high-quality finishing stain is very important for protecting your logs. Equally important is the proper preparation of the log for stain thorough power washing or cob blasting. Only when the surface of the logs is properly prepped will a high quality stain fulfil its true potential in protecting the logs.

The best stain for your log home does depend on personal preference, and situation. There are advantages and disadvantages of choosing oil based, latex based or varnish. To know which product is right for your home and how to prepare your surface for application, contact your local dealer or get in touch with log home specialists. You can pick from many good brands and manufacturers. But a good quality stain needs to have a high UV blocking capability. Because it is the harsh UV rays from the sun that does most damage to the wood over seasons. Read our previously published article on ‘Choosing The Right Log Home Stain’ for guidance.

What Technique Should Be Followed For Maintaining Log Cabin Chinking?

Proper chinking repair requires selection of correct chinking material, right application and finally the state of its disrepair. When correctly applied, synthetic chinking generally only needs to be applied only once. If you spot any failing chinking, mark those spots and remove it with a knife or razor so that the area can dry out before starting fresh with backer rod on the log home and synthetic log chinking.

Where full replacement isn’t an option, a good way to repair old chinking is to put a strip of clear packaging tape over the damaged chinking and then apply a new layer of synthetic chinking over it. This should be preferably be done before applying the maintenance coat of stain. Remember that the correct technique of chinking repair really depends on your individual situation. If in doubt, contact an expert log home restoration contractor.

What Are The Selection Criteria For Chinking?

Select a quality product with high elastic properties. It should expand, bend and mold to the natural movement of logs over the years. Quality is the key here.

Want to know the advantages of chinking your log home?

How Can You Protect Your Log Cabin From Mildew, Mold, Termites And Rot?

Log cabin rot is a common problem in log homes and it is more often due to fungi. Wood destroying fungi survive on air, water, and food. It is not possible to eliminate air and they feed on wood in our homes so the only factor that can be controlled is water. Keeping moisture out of the wood can help prevent log rot. Promoting air flow through your log cabin is important as it can deter mildew and mold issues too. Borate preservatives can be applied to wood before staining to prevent insect infestation. Mildewcides can be added to the stain or sealer to prevent mildew and mold in areas of high humidity.

Need Help With Your Log Home Maintenance?

If you have any more questions about log home maintenance, or would like to schedule an inspection of your log home or cabin, please contact We Fix Log Home.

Exterior of old wooden cabin in forest on sunny day

4 Quality Choices For Your Log Home Roof

There are a number of roofing choices available to complete your custom log home and make it look stunning. Besides the aesthetics, obviously you want your roof to be durable, long lasting and also within your budget range.  And it can be anything from simple roofing to a unique customized style. The final decision comes down to the style of your log home and location. The decision typically comes down to the style of your log home, location and budget. Consult your log home builder or general contractor before you make a choice because it will affect your log home living. Do it right the first time around to avoid any nasty surprises in the future like a leaky roof.   Continue reading

Log cabin living area

Surprising Facts About Log Cabins

People have been long been struck by cabin fever from way back around 3500 B.C. to the current times. Log cabins have seen many changes through history and have gone from being simple wood- structure shelters to luxurious and sprawling log homes for the rich and famous.  Log cabins are breathtakingly beautiful, efficient and cost-effective too. So more people have taken to building and living in log homes. Here are some surprising facts about log homes.

1. The Humble Beginnings Of Log Homes

The origin of log homes is highly debated and it cannot be traced to a particular date. But log cabins came about in Northern Europe around 3500 B.C. during the Bronze Age.

According to Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect, log cabins can be traced to Pontus or what is now North-eastern Turkey, where shelters were built by laying logs on top of each other and gaps filled in with mud. Even Europeans started building their log homes using round logs with an opening in the roof to vent smoke and then evolved to using square logs with double-notch joints.

It was in the 1600s that log cabin construction came to North America, with the Swedish settlers who brought this building customs from their home country to Delaware. Other people believe that the Mennonites were the pioneers who brought it to the Pennsylvanian area in the early 18th century.  It was only in 1862, that the Homestead Act gave homesteaders rights to open land, provided they build homes at least ten by twelve feet in size, with at least one glass window.

2. Noteworthy Log Cabins

Log cabins have long been a symbol of humble origins for settlers and have come to stand for hard work and patriotism in America. A country log home is a major feature of backwoods living. Not many know that 7 US presidents were born in or lived in a log cabin. Some standout names include Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan and Ulysses S Grant. It was with the assassination of President James Garfield that the long history of frontier, log cabin-born presidents came to an end. A replica of the log cabin he was born in near Orange Township, around Moreland Hills, Ohio still stands on the site today. The log cabin was even used as a political tool and badge of honor to drum up support for William Henry Harrison during his presidential campaign. Many rich and influential people now own log homes, including Oprah Winfrey, Ralph Lauren and the late Muhammad Ali.

3. Oldest Log Structures

The Nothnagle Cabin, situated right on the side of Swedesboro Road in Greenwich Township, Gloucester County, is the oldest standing log structure in North America.  The Finnish-made cabin was built in-between 1638 and 1643 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Harry and Doris Rink have been maintaining and looking after the heritage cabin, while living in a newer part of the structure that was built in the early 1900s.They have tried to retain the original design by keeping it as close to the original as possible, even during repair works. In fact even the logs are all original too except for one which was damaged by ivy and had to be replaced. The design highlights of the cabin include dovetail joints and an indoor chimney. Visits to the Rink heritage log home are free.

A few examples of oldest log homes around the world include a timber log home in Finland, which is estimated to be around 4000 years old.  Another old log home reported to have been found near Lake Ladoga, Russia is estimated to have been built around 800BC.

4. The Largest Log Home In The World

Granot Loma, which is a combination of letters from the original owner, Louis Graveraet Kaufman’s three children’s names; Louis, Graveraet and Otto, and his wife Marie, is said to be the largest log cabin in the world. The home, which sits on the shoreline of Lake Superior, is a 26,000 square foot log home mansion. Granot Loma was built in 1923 from Oregon pine and it took 400 Scandinavian builders four years to construct. It was designed by 22 architects and has 50 rooms total, with 23 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms. The logs have been wrapped around a steel super-structure built on a six-foot thick cement foundation to complete the home. Granot Loma is on the National Register of Historic Places. Besides many stone fireplaces, carvings of over 50 animals and people, some Native American artwork and a mantel made from a salvaged sunken ship in Lake Superior, there is more to look at.

There is so much more to log cabins than the obvious. Log cabins can be everything you want it to be- from a rustic getaway to a luxury pad. All you have to do is be inspired and start planning.

 

Restored Old Log Cabin

Common Log Home Questions Answered: Log Home Restoration

This is a two part series post on the most common questions on log home restoration and maintenance. Part one is about- restoration of a log home, which is a big project to take on but once the log home is returned to its original beautiful state, all the effort that goes into restoration work seems worth it.

Restoring a log home to its former glory can be a tricky business and it involves getting a few key basics right. To well and truly begin a restoration project or a maintenance routine for an existing log home, it is absolutely necessary to know the history of maintenance program followed for the home thus far, whether by deduction or through proper documentation. Then you can set achievable goals for restoration of your log home, whether you want to go the DIY route or hire a pro for it. Continue reading

Spring Log Home Maintenance Tasks

You may have a small log cabin by the lake or a luxury mountain retreat, but either way you will need to some maintenance work before opening your home for the summer season.  Inspecting and carrying out needed repairs to your prized log home during spring can save you plenty of headaches later. Log home maintenance is not just about exterior beautification but essential care and repair for your home to be rot free. With the right maintenance program, your log home will be safe and sound for living through decades to come. Spring has the right weather conditions to carry out necessary maintenance work. So time to get out and inspect your log home for potential problem areas.  This way you can carry out the maintenance work in the hot summer months.  Here is a checklist for maintenance every spring to get your log home ready for the summer. Continue reading

5 Different Ways Of Protecting Your Log Cabin From The Elements

A natural log cabin gives you unbounded freedom and you can enjoy a rustic experience. Log cabins are all about bringing the feel of the ‘outdoors’ in your home through natural light, spectacular views and use of wood.  But while enhancing this rustic feel of your log home, it is equally important to weatherproof your log cabin against wind, cold air and moisture. The best insulated log homes may still have gaps that let in these wind, cold air or moisture. The cracks do not have to be big for drafts and big heating bills. Protecting and maintaining the logs is an easy job, but it is often neglected, which can be detrimental to the condition of your property from log rot, mold or decay. There are simple steps to check for any trouble areas that may have developed so you can weatherproof your log home and ensure it stands beautiful for years to come. Continue reading

Demystifying Common Misconceptions About Log Cabins

Building your own log cabin or purchasing one can be quite a challenge to undertake in itself but with myths about log cabins aplenty, it can seem even more arduous. While buyers should consider the potential pitfalls of their purchase, it would be wise to sift the truth from the lies. These myths usually come from misinformed sources and more often from people who have never owned or a rented a log cabin. This article will try and put to bed a few common myths surrounding log cabins. Continue reading

Designing Ceilings For Log Homes

Log cabin interiors should exude a sense of luxury and a state-of-the-art finish ceiling can help it do just that.  A unique and original ceiling design can give your living room or the dining area, the kitchen or the bedroom an individual character to impress one and all. The ceiling is unfortunately a sad afterthought in most log homes because most people think it does not require much attention. But ceilings massively influence the look and feel of a room. Wood ceilings may seem like a foregone conclusion in a log home but even drywall or plaster ceilings can dramatize the space in your home. Your ceilings have a big impact on your log home interiors, so do focus on the types of ceilings you can opt for. Your log home can really stand out with beautiful cathedral ceilings, exposed beams, or gorgeous wooden board details. When designing your custom log home, make the most of the ceilings to add charm to your space. Read further to know about the types of ceilings that work best with your log home’s design.  Continue reading

5 Essential Log Home Maintenance Tasks For The Fall

Fireplaces loghome

As the crisp air announces the start of fall, it is the perfect time to make sure your log home stands solid and is all primed up and ready for winter. We at Performance Log Homes have put together a quick and helpful routine maintenance guide to walk you through the different steps of preparing your beautiful log home for the assault of winter. The harsh hot weather of summer and rain water inevitably does damage to your log home like faded stain, moisture infiltration, pest issues, failed caulking and weather stripping.  The seals and log coatings wear down from constant use so you need to take some time out now to take care of all the essential maintenance needed.

Here is what you need to do to keep the cold air out of your log home during winter and maintain your log home in the best condition. If you are not a keen DIY’er then consider getting professional help for log home maintenance and repair around the house.   Continue reading

How To Manage Settling Problems In Log Homes

log home near river

Settling from wood shrinkage is a natural characteristic that you should be prepared for in a log building. In fact, anticipating it and building for it during construction can help homeowners or builders tackle it well. Most wood shrinkage and settlement around doors, windows and vertical posts cause energy efficiency problems and take up time and expense in maintenance. There is cause for concern about construction quality rather than structural integrity with settling.

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