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Log Home Maintenance Checklist

Your dream is now a reality. You’ve built a rustic log home, and you love it. You’ve selected the perfect furnishings and lighting fixtures to complement its woodsy look. It is just what you imagined. Everything is perfect…or is it?

If you maintain your new log home properly, you will have nothing to worry about. Regular maintenance is necessary for a log home. If left unattended, it could suffer serious damage overtime, costing a substantial amount to replace the logs or repair the damage. With these helpful tips, you will better understand how to maintain your log home and how to identify potential problems between yearly inspections.

1. Inspect Your Log Home Annually
Log homes are like cars; they need regular checkups. Make it a priority to schedule an annual inspection with a log home professional. Professionals know what problems to look for and where to look for them. When problems and damage are discovered early on you will save time and money making the repairs. Plan to fix any problem as soon as possible preventing it from growing. If your car had an engine problem, you wouldn’t continue driving it, would you? In a similar manner, you shouldn’t continue living in a log home that has structural damage or other problems without correcting them. Log home inspections are necessary and should be thought of as a preventative or safety measure.

2. Protect Logs Against Insects
Though small, insects can threaten the structural stability and integrity of your log home in a huge way. A variety of insects can damage logs by boring holes and tunnels to build nests and lay eggs while others chew and digest wood. Insect damage is often easy for a log home owner to spot himself. Look for small holes that appeared to be drilled into your logs. They can range in size from something the diameter of an ink pen to a tiny pinhole. You’ll be able to identify if insects are currently “working” within your logs if you notice piles or mounds of wood shavings that look like sawdust. Several products are available to fight insect damage. Borate treatments and impel rods are commonly recommended by log home professionals.

There are a few other things to consider when protecting your log home against insects. Use logs that are naturally insect repellent. In North America, white pine, cypress and cedar logs are most often used. Stack firewood away from your home and plant trees and shrubs a good distance from the structure as well. The closer firewood and plants are to your log home, the easier it is for unwanted insects to invade your home.

3. Repair Caulking and Chinking
When caulking or chinking separates from the logs of your home, it is time for repair. If left unattended, these cracks and crevices become an inviting place for insects, mold and mildew. Also, water can seep through these cracks and infiltrate the logs causing them to rot. Or, you might even notice drafts in your home. There is a wide variety of caulking and chinking products available allowing you to seal cracks, gaps and other spaces making them water and air tight. Consult a log home professional to find out what products are best for your geographic location.

4. Protect Against Sun and Water Damage
If you’ve built a log home, chances are you love the great outdoors. However, Mother Nature can potentially be a log home owner’s enemy at times. The outdoor elements are often a contributing factor in log home damage if the logs are not well protected. Proper protection is achieved by applying the necessary log home finishes. Remember this: If you invest in a quality log home finish, you’ll be protecting your investment.

Log discoloration is one of the most obvious types of log damage and is easily recognized by most log home owners. UV or sun damage to logs causes discoloration, and restoration requires considerable effort and costs. When it comes to staining your log home, remember to choose dark stains. The darker the tint or pigment in the stain, the better protected the logs will be from harmful UV rays.

Another problem to look for is water damage. Water will cause logs to rot threatening structural stability. Frequent rain on the top sides of logs will breakdown the protective elements in quality sealers. Water finds its way into tiny cracks causing rot deep within the logs as well as on the surface. If the sealer appears to be peeling away from the log, it is time to seal the logs again. If this problem is not corrected, the logs will continue to rot. Furthermore, insects will begin making their homes deep in the cracks of the logs. Fungus and mold will begin to grow. Without applying a new sealer, problems will continue causing even more structural damage.

Sun and water damage can be prevented using the right stains and sealers. If you discover you have sun or water damage, it is necessary to perform a stain removal treatment before staining or sealing the logs again. Check with a local log home professional to find out about various removal treatments and to learn which stains and seals offer the best protection for your geographic location.

5. Repair or Replace Damaged Logs
Some of the most common causes for log repair and replacement are fire, water, fungus, and insect damage. Lack of knowledge for proper log home maintenance is also a leading cause for structural damage. No matter what type of damage your log home may suffer, there are log home professionals who will assist you with the repairs or replacement of damaged logs. Refacing techniques (cosmetic repairs) are less costly and time consuming than replacing logs. However, if a log needs to be replaced, log home professionals will use an extensive database to find a log match for your home or a skilled craftsman will duplicate the type of log on the jobsite.

Using scheduled annual inspections and these other tips about log home maintenance, you can protect your log home from all types of damage and potential problems far into the future. Your log home is a huge investment; use smart log home maintenance as added insurance for protecting your dream home.

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