There is no doubt about it; log cabin homes make some of the most beautiful homes you will ever see. It must be said that it is not only their looks that make them desirable but their sturdy construction plays a factor too.
Along with that though is also the fact that they still are indeed made of natural wood. Wood needs to be cared for and protected throughout the years to keep it looking nice and to keep it from decaying.
Here are some steps that will help insure that the wood your log cabin home is made of lasts a long time.
STEP 1: Pressure Wash it at least Once a Year
Your log cabin’s wood really needs to be kept free of such things as dirt, debris and bird poo; these things trap moisture where it should not be and can definitely accelerate the woods natural rotting process.
That is why it is highly recommended to pressure wash your log cabin home at least once a year to get all the contaminants off the wood.
You may even want to add some cleaning solution such as a Borate mix or TSP alternative to help get rid of substances that are harder to remove such as grease, oils, mildew and mold.
Make sure to use a pressure washing tip that will not cut into the wood and chip it up and mark it. That would be worse than no pressure washing at all.
STEP 2: Keep Trees, Plants and Weeds Away
Another thing that will trap moisture and other unwanted substances against your log cabin home’s wood are vegetation and foliage.
Trees, shrubs, plants and weeds should be pulled out, cut back and trimmed where necessary so they do not come into contact with the surface of your log cabin home's wood.
As was mentioned before, these types of vegetation increase the rotting process when coming into contact with the logs and can really take away the useful life of the wood your log cabin home is constructed of.
Note: Don’t go out of your way to take down entire trees during this process.
A little canopy over the log cabin blocks the sun’s harmful UV rays from getting to the wood and that is a good thing.
STEP 3: Make Sure Rodents cannot Nest inside the Wood
You would probably be amazed at the amount of damage that a squirrel that nests in the wrong place or a raccoon can do to your log cabin home.
Not only will the holes they make in the wood create weak spots that are susceptible to moisture and the subsequent rot that accompanies that, but there urine and fecal matter can do a lot of damage too (not to mention the smell).
You must ensure there are no cracks or crevices that these animals can get into and start to do their damage.
It is important to periodically check for signs of rodent and animal intrusion and then to immediately take the steps necessary to stop it.
STEP 4: Caulk Around Doors, Windows and where else it’s Needed
Sealing between the logs in the wood is what is commonly known as “chinking”. This along with caulking around doors and windows is a very important part of any yearly log cabin home maintenance plan.
It is too important to the overall health of your log cabin home wood to let these things go too long without being done. If there is a weak spot in the chinking, that can lead to big problems such as moisture pockets or places where bees and insects can start to nest and eat away the unprotected and exposed areas of wood.
You can spot such areas that need to be re-caulked by looking for places where the caulk has pulled away slightly from the window frames, doors, etc…
This is a sign that moisture has gotten behind the caulk and it is no longer making a good seal; these are areas that are prone to rotting as the wood starts to absorb the moisture and weaken.
Clean the old caulk off good and allow these areas to thoroughly dry before applying the new caulk so it makes the best seal possible.
STEP 5: Periodically Stain the Wood
Staining is by far the best way to preserve and protect the wood that your log cabin home is made of. There are a couple of reasons for this.
The first is that a lot of the steps that were previously mentioned are included in the preparatory portion of the staining job; the repetitiveness of these tasks like pressure washing, caulking and clearing away greenery can never be done too much, so this part acts as an additional bonus to the staining job.
The second is that wood stain not only coats but it also soaks into the wood to give it even more sealing protection.
The types of wood that long cabins are made of are very receptive to taking a thick coat of stain so spread it on thick when doing it and make sure to brush it in to all the cracks and crevices in the logs real good.
* Sealant or Clear Coat (optional)
Many times log house homeowners will also add a layer of clear coat sealant to the wood that their log homes are built out of.
STEP 6: Treat for Insects
It goes without saying that if you take a walk in the woods you will find many insects making their homes in the trees in the forest.
Insects will exploit and take over any sensitive areas of wood and use them for food and nesting material. When this happens you need to spray, sprinkle dust or use other types of insecticide to eliminate these pests before than can do significant damage to your log cabin homes.
You will find that your log cabin home will stay looking good and hold up well for a long time if these maintenance tasks for your log cabin homes are done periodically.
So be sure not to neglect them and do these things any time you see a problem or you know it’s within their time frame to get them done.