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Tuesday, 26 September 2017 00:00

Fall Log Home Maintenance is not Just Cleaning

fall smMost people are accustomed to spring cleaning, but if you are a home owner, you know that your house needs attention year-round. Fall maintenance is much like spring house-cleaning, but more preventative and less “cleaning.” And it’s much easier to do it now rather than wait until the weather turns nasty.

leaves medFrom The Top

Fall means leaves—and plenty of them. You will certainly need to clean out your gutters. A word of caution: most of the automatic guard systems only screen out large leaves while allowing gunk and small sediment to accumulate. You still will have to routinely clean the nasty rotting gunk out of your gutters! So an alternative is to have your roofer regularly come and clean your gutters every fall. You should make sure that the drainage area around the downspout is functioning properly as well. The roof area should also be checked for any leaks around the flashing at the chimney and around the vents for the heating or sewer system.

While inspecting the roof area it’s important to check for any holes or access spots where squirrels, raccoons, or bats can enter your home and make themselves a vacation home for the winter. Clear away all debris from around the foundation of the house.

Caulking around all exterior areas is a must. You probably won’t find but a few areas where the caulk needs replacing, and it’s not a big job to replace old caulking with a fresh bead where needed. Weather stripping also should be examined and replaced if you find any that is curled or coming loose. Neither the caulking nor weather stripping replacement is a heavy job. It just takes some care and close examination. This can usually be done in a day for a moderate-sized home.

Thursday, 21 September 2017 00:00

Seal Your Home With Energy Seal

Have you noticed your heating bill increasing year after year? It could be that your home has cracks that let heat escape, costing you money. Seal up cracks and seams before the weather turns cold and it’s too late to do anything about it.

Specifically designed for milled and scribed log homes, Energy Seal is a revolutionary product offering superior binders that effectively seal all interior and exterior gaps and cracks.energyseal category

Energy Seal is a 100% acrylic polymer sealant formulated to provide a long-lasting and resilient barrier for any chinkless log home. Since logs constantly twist, turn, swell, and shrink during the life of a log home, annoying gaps can appear. These gaps promote the retention of moisture, which can lead to log decay and damage, as well as seepage of air and water.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 00:00

Hurricanes, Floods, and Log Homes

By Paul Peebles

paulp

Paul Peebles is Perma-Chink System's West Coast Director of Sales, and has over 20 years experience in the log home industry. As a log home owner, his first-hand experience helps customers get the right products and correct solution to maintain and protect their homes.

 floodedhome

What to do if your log home was flooded?

Since I actually had my log house flood in 2010, I think I can answer any questions about how to clean log homes after flooding. My heart goes out to all of these people whose homes became victims to flood as I have been in their muddy shoes and boots. Here is what I learned the hard way.

Log homes are actually more durable than traditional homes, and are more likely to survive natural disasters, including flooding. The clean-up and repair of a log home after flooding is also much easier; follow these steps...

Wednesday, 06 September 2017 00:00

All About Linseed Oil

All About Linseed Oil - And Why It's No Good For Wood

We occasionally get calls about the exterior of a home that has turned black.

Almost without fail it's the result of using an oil-based stain that contained linseed oil.

mold

Linseed oil is a yellowish oil derived from the dried seeds of flax plants, and is also known as flax seed oil. Linseed oil is used as a carrier in many brands of oil-based paints and stains. Since linseed oil is organic, many varieties of mold fungi thrive on it. Over time mold can proliferate to point where the coated surface can turn dark brown to black. One way to tell if the darkening is due to mold rather than UV damage is inspecting areas protected from direct sunlight like under eaves and overhangs; it will be the same dark color as the rest of the wall.

Thursday, 24 August 2017 00:00

Log End Seal

End Grain

Why is it so Critical to Seal Exposed Ends of Log Homes?

Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means it naturally absorbs and releases moisture from the environment. Logs can safely absorb large quantities of water before reaching moisture content levels that will be inviting for decay fungi.

Some of the most vulnerable areas of a log home are the corner log ends. This is because the cross section end grain is exposed and the ends often stick out beyond the walls allowing sunlight, wind, rain, snow and ice to wear away the stain and expose bare wood.

The exposed end grain acts like small straws sucking water into the log, giving rot and decay an opportunity to start eating away the wood. In addition, wood cracks and checks are prone to start at the ends. If left unprotected long enough, log or log corner replacement may eventually be required.

Being aware of the susceptibility of log ends to weathering, rot and decay, we developed Log End Seal, a clear polymer finish that prevents water from penetrating into log ends and provides a layer of protection against log end damage. Although it is a sealer, Log End Seal is designed to allow moisture already in the wood to slowly escape. This helps reduce those large checks that often form on log ends.

Friday, 28 July 2017 00:00

Tips from the Field - Borates

By Paul Peebles

paulp

Paul Peebles is Perma-Chink System's West Coast Director of Sales, and has over 20 years experience in the log home industry. As a log home owner, his first-hand experience helps customers get the right products and correct solution to maintain and protect their homes.

 

There are two kinds of wood – wood that is rotten, and wood that one day will be rotten. This statement may seem a bit extreme, but it is a fact. Wood is a product of nature and its nature is to return to the earth in a natural process. As professional log home contractors, it is our job to ensure that wood used in the construction of log homes lasts for many years.

Borates have been used to preserve wood for many years, and because people have lately become more concerned with the toxicity of products used in their homes, it has steadily grown in popularity. This newsletter will discuss the use of borates to preserve log homes in detail.

What are borates and how do they work?

Simply put borates or borax are naturally-occurring water-soluable salt-like acids. They are about as toxic as table salt to humans and pets but kill wood-consuming insects like termites, powder-post beetles, and old house borers. More importantly, it kills the wood destroying microorganisms that cause rot.

Rot in log or conventional homes causes hundreds of times more damage to homes every year than damage by insects.

For borates to be effective, they must be actually eaten by an organism. Borates are not effective against carpenter bees because they do not actually consume wood – they just chew it. Interestingly enough, consuming borates does not instantly kill termites or other wood destroying insects. It does however kill the bacteria in their digestive system. These bacteria actually help the insect digest the cellulose fibers that make up a piece of wood. Without these bacteria, the insects die of starvation. Funny how nature works.

What can you fit inside a log?A hollowed out piece of timber on your home might make a convenient storage space for sports equipment or toys, but it's a problem. Before you panic and list your home up on Zillow or Redfin, let's take a look at the situation.

How much decay have you found? If it's not halfway deep through the log, or less than a couple of feet lengthwise, odds are it can be repaired easily. M-Balm and E-Wood from Perma-Chink Systems are specially-formulated epoxies designed to repair decay and soft spots in homes.

The biggest threat to log homes is decay damage, caused by moisture-loving fungi. The three basic categories of wood-destroying fungi are soft rot, brown rot, and white rot. Preventing rot begins with preventing as much contact as possible with moisture, which breeds fungi. The best prevention is using borate preservatives, which destroy wood fungi and protect against decay.

If you do discover decay in your logs during inspections, most likely it can be mitigated and eliminated, without the need for a costly log replacement. If the decay does not exceed more than half the depth of the log, or only a few feet lengthwise, using M-Balm and E-Wood products can replace the decayed wood with an epoxy replacement that can be cut, sanded, and finished like real wood.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 00:00

Things to Know About Carpenter Bees

Every spring we get lots of calls about carpenter bees drilling into logs, fascia boards, eaves, decks and other unpainted wood surfaces. Carpenter bees are big black solitary bees that look similar to bumble bees but have bare, shiny backs whereas a bumble bee's back is hairy. Unlike honey bees that reproduce in hives, carpenter bees drill into wood in order to lay their eggs. Their holes are perfectly round and about 1/4 inch in diameter.

 c bee

Although carpenter bees prefer softwoods such as cedar, redwood, or cypress, they happily attack pine and most other species of wood. Even pressure treated wood is not immune from carpenter bee attack. As the bee drills into the wood, coarse sawdust may be seen coming out of the hole and piling up beneath. Since it only takes a couple of hours for a carpenter bee to drill a hole a few inches deep, lots of holes can appear over a fairly short period of time.

Most carpenter bee activity occurs in early spring when male and female bees emerge after spending the winter in old nest tunnels. Once they have paired and mated the female bee drills into a suitable site while the male stays nearby to ward off intruders. Male carpenter bees often frighten people with their aggressive behavior but since they have no stinger they are essentially harmless. Females have a stinger but only use it if molested.

Once the initial hole is drilled through the surface, the bee will make a turn and excavate a tunnel along the grain of the wood. This tunnel, which may run for several inches, becomes the cavity where the female deposits her eggs. Several eggs are laid in individual chambers separated by plugs of pollen on which the larvae feed until they emerge as adults during the summer months. In addition to making new holes, carpenter bees also enlarge old tunnels and if left unattended for several years, serious damage to a wood member may result.

Thursday, 18 May 2017 00:00

Pressure Washing Your Log Home

By Jeff Kyger
Northwest Log Home Care
www.northwestloghomecare.com

 

Pressure washing (also referred to power washing) is the function of using highly pressurized water to remove mildew, mold, dirt, pollens, UV graying, etc. You’ll hear different recommendations whether or not pressure washing your logs is the best cleaning method.

pressure washing log video

Generally speaking, pressure washing is the quickest and least expensive choice.

One fallacy is that you’re saturating and “damaging” your logs with water as a result of pressure washing. This simply isn’t true. On hard, sound, rot-free logs, you’re only introducing water into the top fibers of the wood.

Friday, 10 March 2017 00:00

What is Quality Log Home Finish?

What are the benefits of using a top quality finish on a log home?

ext4Whether you’re currently building your dream log home or simply checking off tasks on your annual home-maintenance “to do” list, we’re always looking for ways to skimp on expenses around the house. But when it comes to putting your best foot forward with a beautifully stained home that’s also protected from the exterior elements, you might want to think twice before being lured in by the lower price tag of a middle-of-the-road finishing product.

Think about it: Not only does a stain and finish define the aesthetic appeal of your log home, enhancing the striking beauty of the wood’s grain and natural color, but it serves as a shield for your home’s most precious building blocks – the logs. Because of this, it makes sense to spend the extra money upfront on a high-quality finish for your home. And, as it turns out, if you can swing the higher cost for the first application, you will save yourself oodles of cash over the lifetime of your log home.

What are the qualities to look for in a top quality log home finish?

To ensure a successful and long-lasting result, you’ll also need to consider factors like wood protection, maintenance and, of course, appearance.

Appearance: In addition to building a quality home, you want to build a beautiful home, which is why the finished appearance of your logs is so important. By spending a little bit more upfront, you’ll get a distinguished looking wood finish that will set your home apart from the rest.

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