By Lee Denman, Intensified Wood Restoration
There are essentially two types of log home stains available on the market today:
Oil based (Alkyd) Log Home Stains
Latex based Log Home Stains
Acrylic Latex based Log Home Stains
Varnishes for Log Homes
Oil based Semitransparent Log Home Stains
What are the PROS and CONS of each of these types of log home finishes?
1. Oil Based (Alkyd) Log Home Stain
PROS: Wood grain visibility, UV Protection, Non Porous, Easy application, longer open times.
CONS: Trap Moisture, Brittle, Can't Breathe, Weather Quickly, Coat build-up over time, Blistering occurs if moisture is present behind finish, High Maintenance.
2. Latex based Solid Color Log Home
PROS: Breathable, Flexible, Durable, High UV Protection, Porous, Easy application, Low maintenance, Long life, low odor.
CONS: Won't prevent decay if conditions are favorable, Short Shelf Life.
3. Semi-Transparent Acrylic Latex based Log Home Stain
PROS: Breathable, Flexible, Durable, High UV Protection, Wood grain visibility, Porous, Low maintenance, Long life, low odor.
CONS: More difficult to apply than oil based stains and solid color stains, fast drying times.
4. Log Home Varnishes
PROS: Allow for natural look of logs.
CONS: High maintenance, prone to Cracking, Peeling and Blistering, Requires recoating every 1-2 years, Partial UV protection.
5. Oil based Semitransparent Log Home Stains
PROS: Penetrate into wood, Wood grain visibility, Breathable, High UV protection.
CONS: Perform best on rough sawn, weathered, or course textured wood. Compatibility issues with most log home sealants due to waxes found in most penetrating finishes. Don't have a furniture grade finish look (dull), must apply second coat before first coat dries in order for stain to penetrate wood. Vapor barrier, non-breathable.
What types of log home stains work the best?
So we have all this helpful information on the types of log home stains but which log home stain is the best? It is hard to say which one is the absolute best because there are many factors that ultimately decide how well or long a log home stain will perform. Some of these factors are:
Of all these factors none is more important than proper surface preparation of the logs before applying a log home stain. If the surface of the logs has not been prepped properly none of these log home stains will perform as they state they will. This is why it is important to only hire a qualified log home restoration expert to work on your log home! They will have the knowledge and expertise to work with the products available in the current log home market. This will ensure your investment is protected well into the future.
While we can’t say which log home stain is the overall best, we can recommend which type of log home finishes we feel perform exceptionally well and keep maintenance costs down throughout the years. This only holds true if proper surface preparation is kept in mind before and during any finish or sealant application. In our opinion, film-forming, latex based waterborne log home finishes such as PermaChink’ Lifeline is best bang for your buck!
While Perma-Chink finishes aren't the cheapest out there they seem to require the least amount of maintenance based on our 25+ years of experience restoring log homes and log cabins of all sizes and shapes. They also offer an unmatched 5 year warranty on their log home stains when applied properly and maintained accordingly.
Lee Denman is the founder of Intensified Wood Restoration Company
Your decks and railings do not weather in a uniform fashion like your log walls. After a year or two with some deck stains, areas exposed to direct sunlight may hold little or no trace of the original finish, while shaded surfaces may show very little, if any degradation.
There are three primary elements to your deck which can maximize longevity and structural integrity as well as aesthetics. These include periodic maintenance between applications of stain, preparation of applying new stain and the staining itself.
Regardless of the stain used on your deck, its life can be extended with periodic cleaning. Pooling water can easily be swept off with a push-broom, which can help prevent premature failure of your deck stain. However, cleaning it periodically will make the biggest contribution to maximizing its life and appearance. A diluted solution of Log Wash™ (1 cup per gallon) can easily be applied through a garden pump sprayer ($20 - $30 at any garden center or hardware store) then lightly pressure washed off. If you don’t have access to a pressure washer, a strong jet stream from a garden hose will also work. Remember, here you are trying to clean the deck, not remove the finish.
For decks that may have excessive levels of dirt, mildew, green algae, etc., the mechanical action of scrubbing or using a medium bristle push broom after applying Log Wash™ will help a lot. Make sure to thoroughly rinse off all detergents as you never want them to dry on the wood surface.
|Photo 1||Photo 2|
For decks that have darkened from sun exposure with little or no stain left, a deeper pressure washing can be done to remove the darkened surface in order to get down to clean, bright wood. Photos 1 and 2 above show these results. If necessary, Wood ReNew™ and a pressure washer may be used to clean away any gray UV damaged wood fibers, as well as deep rooted mold and dirt residue.
Usually after any sort of cleaning, you need to give the deck time to dry before staining. Apply 1-2 coats of Vista Deck to develop the desired color richness and appearance. New deck stain Vista Deck makes any restoration process easy. Once the initial coast of Vista Deck applied to bare wood, a future maintenance coat applied to a surface previously coated with Vista Deck is easy - clean and recoat, no mechanical or chemical stripping required.
During the winter months it's important to be aware of the freeze-thaw stability of Perma-Chink's products. The reason may involve shipping conditions or whether it is okay to store a product or products in an unheated shed. In any case you need to be aware of the consequences of allowing any of our products to freeze.
Without a doubt it is always best to prevent any of our finishes and sealants from freezing. They all contain water and the formation of ice crystals within the products can separate the water from the other components. In some products once this occurs it becomes impossible to regain the properties of the original formulation even after thawing and vigorous mixing. These types of products are not freeze-thaw stable.
With a few exceptions most of our products are freeze-thaw stable, however, if a product becomes frozen it needs to be thawed slowly, preferably at room temperature. Speeding up the thawing process by heating the container can seriously damage the product making it unusable. If the product is in pails or containers, once it has completely thawed it will require a thorough mixing.
If a product is subjected to multiple freeze-thaw cycles each cycle will contribute to the degradation process until it is no longer suitable for use. If a product becomes frozen it is better to allow it to stay frozen than it is to bring it inside to thaw and then store it where it may freeze again. It's the succession of freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw sequences that really destroys the integrity of a product. Before applying any product that's been frozen be sure to test a small amount to see if it is still usable.
Perma-Chink Systems’ products that are NOT freeze-thaw stable:
Perma-Chink Systems’ products that have limited freeze-thaw stability (5 cycles):
For information about cold weather storage of Shell-Guard® and Shell-Guard® RTU see "Storing Borate Solutions."
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