In many rural areas of the country log home abound. One issue that all log home owners face is deciding on what exterior sealants to be used. Over the last thirteen years we have built and maintained log homes for customers so we have used a wide variety of products. So let tell you a little bit of my experience and what has worked the best with time and cost factored in.
Log homes all look great when they are first built. But without proper care the bright new colors soon fade. So all log homes need to be covered with an exterior sealant. If you visit a local hardware store you will see a wide variety of stains. There are ones designed for decks, railing, and wood homes.
The first thing that I can’t emphasize enough is that the cheaper the sealant the shorter life span it will have and the less protection it will give the logs. About the least expensive sealant is the Thompson’s Water Seal. This product advertizes a 12 month life. We used buckets full of it on our first log home and after eleven months it needed to be redone. Though cheap in cost up front the logs grayed in places and after that first year it didn’t even look like we had invested in any stain. I do want to say in favor of Thompson’s that it did not change the color of our log home or darken it like some sealants that I tested. Overall, I give this product a low rating.
For a more expensive exterior stain and sealant I would like to second mention Lowe’s Severe Weather Exterior Sealant. This product had a nice color selection. The home was a honey gold color. The stain was moderately expensive. It was a one step process. Overall, after it was applied correctly it lasted about three years with very good success, but on the western and northern sides of the log home it had to be repainted after three years. The other sides lasted a few more years. Overall, I give this sealant a moderate rating.
The last exterior sealant I would like to mention is Perma-Chink’s water based line for handcrafted log homes. This is what we applied to the Bear Creek Plan. The stain is labor intensive, requiring three coats on the exterior and two on the interior. Overall I would say it is a good stain. It allowed the natural moisture to escape, as it was supposed to. It was a bit tricky to apply as it did not want to spread evenly, even when really good stain brushes were used.
And I also want to say that NO you do not oil log home logs. Instead you need to purchase a log home sealant that will not only protect the logs from water but also from UV-ray damage. Good stain should be used regardless if the home is a small log home or a luxury log home. I would also like to say that we prefer an oil based stain to a water based stain.