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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-soluble salt-like acids. It is about as toxic as table salt to humans and pets, but kills 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 cause far greater damage to homes every year than damage by insects.

For borates to be effective against insects, they must be eaten by an organism. Interestingly enough, consuming borates does not instantly kill termites or other wood destroying insects. It kills the bacteria in their digestive system. The bacteria help insects digest the cellulose fibers that make up wood. Insects die of starvation without these bacteria. 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.

Monday, 20 February 2017 00:00

Log Home Spring Inspection

How To Prolong the Life of Your Home?

One key for keeping your log home in tip-top condition is to take an hour or so once the weather turns nice to inspect the exterior of your home for signs of potential problems.
 log home inspection
Before we start discussing the inspection process, here are a few tips:
  
  1. Make a diagram of your home that you can carry with you while you conduct your inspection. It does not have to be fancy, just a simple plan that you can use to note where something needs to be done
  2. If you have a digital camera, take it with you during your inspection. It's amazing how something you see may disappear when you go back to look for it. Use a checklist of things that are relevant to your home. It's easy to forget what to look for by the time you get to the third or fourth wall.
  3. Give your home a wash down with Log Wash before you start your inspection. It's difficult to determine the condition of a finish when it's covered with a layer of winter dirt.
logwash
log wash application
log wash rinse 

The Inspection

Friday, 17 February 2017 00:00

Choosing A Log Home Contractor

Two Steps and Four Questions

Are you a real do-it-yourselfer when it comes to maintaining your home? If so, every product we offer is made with you in mind. User-friendly products, common sense labels and application guides, plus our experienced team of customer service and technical support staff – all these are at your convenience.

application and removal step by step guideaNow, for those of you who maybe just don’t have the time, physical ability or even the confidence level to do the work yourself – Perma-Chink Systems offers an extensive referral list of log home contractors from coast to coast. Most of these contractors are self-employed and none are affiliated with Perma-Chink Systems, but they do have experience and training in using our products on log and timber homes.

Step 1 – Get Smart

A very important first step before interviewing any contractor is to educate yourself. Perma-Chink Systems can help you better understand the steps and nuances of your project. You can attend one of our free homeowner workshops, read through our literature and application guides or call one of our log home specialists to walk you through the process and related products. Better yet, go online and register for a private webinar with our experts. The more you know about your upcoming project, the better you can ask the right questions and understand the answers from the contractors. So please don’t overlook this important step!

Thursday, 09 February 2017 00:00

Log Cabin Renovation

From Worst to First With Perma-Chink!
By John & Elaine Judsky
Suches, GA
Perma-Chink Customers Forever
 
 
Cabin Before 1I’ll admit the hard truth. I neglected the exterior of our log cabin in the North Georgia mountains. For years. It was ugly, and we needed restoration.
 
We had used Perma-Chink products on the interior of our new cabin back in 1999, with Sure Shine on our floors and the LifeLine interior on our walls. They are holding up well and looking good after 16 years.
 
But the exterior was a mess from our neglect and from using an inferior product. We used the product recommended and provided by our log manufacturer. It shall remain nameless here because it was an oil-based jug of junk.
 
This past summer I finally had the time and money to redo the exterior, and there was no question in my mind I was going to use Perma-Chink products. We attended a workshop in Knoxville and learned lots of good tips and info. The logs looked dirty, faded and had no water resistance. I went ahead and sanded the few spots that needed that much care. The S100 finish remover did a great job removing what was left of the old finish. The Wood Renew made the logs fresh and bright again. Then the Log Wash prepared a good surface for the application of Armor -Guard preservative followed by two coats of the Lifeline Ultra-2, followed by the Glossy Lifeline Advance.
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 00:00

Mobile Log Cabins

MOBILE LOG CABINS (or PLUG & PLAY TRADITIONAL LOG HOME)
By Dan Waring, British Log Cabins
 
 
Mobile homes...Traditionally an ugly metal box, BLC have taken the parameters defining the mobile home and delivered a beautiful alternative LOG CABIN!
 
Developed in response to an increase in the popularity of ‘Log Cabin Holidays’ our Mobile Log Homes include everything. The entire building is prefabricated off site in our log building yard on a specially designed rolling chassis.
off site 1  off site 2 
 
The building comes complete including a kitchenette, bathroom suite, LPG boiler, radiators, log burner and all internal finishes.
interior1 interior2 interior3
 
All that is required on site is a concrete slab and waste and water connections - they really are a plug and play, traditional log home!.
outside1  outside2 
 
Log building as a construction method and art form has been around for centuries. It’s origins were in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. As a trade it has a long established history. The often romanticized vision of a cozy, traditional log cabin in a holiday area is now a reality.
 
Friday, 16 December 2016 00:00

The Wise Woman Builds Her House

mala pattersonAfter graduating from college, the normal progression for most women is marriage. But, what is great, or even fun, about being normal? This neo-Laura Ingalls-Wilder, this Backwoods Barbie, embarked upon an adventure. I decided to build a log cabin!
 
I have had the pleasure of being around log cabins nearly my whole life. I grew up in my parents’ pine, D-shaped log cabin. They had a “turn-key” package; but we, mainly my father, ended up doing a lot of the work. Despite three children, pets, and fluctuating Alabama weather, their home has weathered nicely with little maintenance. Therefore, my parents are supportive of my log cabin, although they enjoy ribbing me about some comments I made when I was about ten years old.
 
I was ticked at my mother because she did not think that a black and silver waterbed (completed, of course) with a zebra bedspread was suitable décor for a ten year-old girl’s log bedroom. Thus, I declared that I would never have a house of wood. I vowed to have only wallpaper and paint in my house one day. (Never say never!)
 
Anyway, my adventure started when I found an ad for oak log cabin kits in a classified newspaper. Not wanting to be saddled with a large debt and realizing that I would be responsible for cleaning and maintaining the house, I decided to purchase the approximately 1,500 square-foot kit. The logs arrived safely and beautifully – Missouri oak heartwood dovetail logs.(Say that ten times fast!)
 
porchSince my kit consisted of only the perimeter wall logs, I drew the interior plans one Sunday afternoon; and Mom and I devised a plan that would allow me to “pay-as-I-go” and have the cabin completed and paid-off in three years. However, I did not realize how much I was going to be involved with the “hands-on” construction, and I never imagined how much I would learn to do and end up doing myself.
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  • S-100 Finish Remover is an easy to use water-based solvent that removes most types of oil and water-based finishes. Take a look at our video - Removing Old Stains and Finishes with S-100 Finish Remover from Perma-Chink Systems

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