Wood is a robust natural material that despite its durability is subject to ongoing changes from external natural forces. The biggest threats affecting the beauty and endurance of log wood are the potent natural forces of moisture and sunlight. While these two natural elements do not affect the surface of your logs, they do create the right conditions for more destructive forces to be unleashed against your log wood home. Depending on the conditions faced by your log home, it is possible to take certain precautions to prolong the life and beauty of your home.
Keep Logs Dry
Many people mistakenly believe that using particular species of log wood that have natural decay resistance will help their log home last for decades without the need for any regular maintenance that comes with owning a log home. But it is not necessary that the resistant characteristic of the living tree also be the same for the log. It is a fact that the natural forces will get to the strongest unprotected natural wood faster than the weakest wood species treated with modern preservatives. It is important to guard against sun and water, as exposure to sunlight breaks down the ligning that holds the wood fibers bonded together in the wood. And once this bond is broken, the water can easily wash away the weakened wood fibers. So the log home needs to be sheltered from the sun and rain, and the wood also needs a coating that allows it to breathe freely to prevent the moisture from being trapped in the wood. When the water gets trapped in the log, it ends up rotting the log from within. When logs dry with age, they will check and crack, which allows water to penetrate through and cause decay in wood. So to protect your log wood from decay due to trapped moisture and water damage, you can establish a regular maintenance program for your log home that ensures your log wood stays smooth and dry.
Watch Out For Fungi
Log homes often fall prey to decay without proper maintenance. When proper design methods and construction practices are not followed when building your log home, all too often decay sets in leading to structural failure of the supporting logs. Your log home has to follow design practices to help shed water and shade sun from the logs.
There has to be regular checks in place to detect faulty gutters, splash-backs, unprotected log ends, damaged roof overhangs that cumulatively hasten the process of log decay.
Weakened logs are especially at risk from attacks by rot fungi and different insects like termites and wood-boring beetles that gradually damage the surface of the wood by feeding on the starches in wood. Preventative measures such as exterior wood treatments can stop infestation. While chemical treatments cannot replace structural modifications for correcting any moisture problem, they can delay the decay process till repairs are undertaken.
Wood finish treatments with added mildewicides, fungicides, insecticidal borates, UV blockers and water repellents can be used to protect logs from wood destroying insects and fungi and harsh elements. All borate products should ideally be applied to unfinished log homes before the wood is stained and sealed. But you can use fused borate to protect against rot fungi and insect pests, which can be implanted in a wooden timber or log later.
Apply products that are high quality and keep moisture from seeping through the log.
Fix Problems Immediately
The most important job for log home owners is to always be on the lookout for cracks and checks and to inspect the exterior of your home regularly. You need to evaluate whether something needs just a touch-up or you need to redo the whole house. If after spraying the exterior of your home with a garden hose, water still beads up over the log surface then you can be rest assured that your protection is intact. Where the water soaks into the wood instead, will need protection. When in doubt, call in the log home experts for a consultation.
You can extend the lifetime of the finish on your log homes by implementing a regular maintenance program to protect your logs and reduce the cost of repairs later. Clean the logs and reapply a preservative or finish to give your logs that extra protection. And if you do not want to go into the trouble, you can hire log wood repair specialists to get the job done correctly. Remember that you need to follow a maintenance program, even if you have a relatively new existing log home.
Contact Performance Log Homes today at 800-781-2551 for repair and maintenance work on your cabins, log structures, and for log home restoration projects. We take pride in our work!