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.


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.


In late fall activity may again be seen as both male and female carpenter bees clean out old nest cavities where they over-winter. Since carpenter bees tend to migrate back to the same area from which they emerged, it is important to implement some control measures in order to prevent logs and wood members from becoming riddled by these bees.



Although carpenter bees prefer bare wood they will attack wood that is stained. Painted wood surfaces, on the other hand, are rarely attacked since the bees must see or feel the grain of the wood in order to recognize it as wood. One of the most effective measures for preventing extensive carpenter bee damage is to fill old or empty holes with Energy Seal. Carpenter bees are attracted to existing holes. Be sure to treat the hole before you fill it since live adult bees will drill right through the caulk on their way out.


Treating Carpenter Bee Holes

The way to treat an existing hole and tunnel depends on the time of year and if bees are present at the time of treatment. If the female is drilling away when you find a hole (you can see sawdust coming out or hear her working inside) spray a contact pesticide like wasp and hornet spray into the hole. She will quickly back out and die. Immediately fill the hole with Energy Seal.


If you find carpenter bee holes in late spring or early summer it's difficult to tell if there are bee larvae developing in the tunnels. The best thing to do is to run a length of flexible wire into the tunnels in order to break through the pollen plugs separating the chambers. Then spray a pesticide into the hole and seal it up.


Just remember to plug the holes since they will attract more carpenter bees come spring. Several people told us that although they sprayed a pesticide into the holes, carpenter bees later emerged, in some cases even after the holes were plugged. How can this happen?



If we take a look at a cross section diagram of a carpenter bee gallery we can see how. After drilling out a four to five inch long gallery, the female carpenter bee lays an egg in back of the gallery then places a plug of pollen she has gathered to form a chamber (A). She continues doing this until there are four to six egg chambers in place. After a few days the egg hatches and a small white grub emerges (B). The grub feeds on the pollen plug for a few weeks (C) until it is ready to pupate (D) and change into an adult bee (E).


If you look at the way the gallery is constructed you can see why spraying a pesticide in the hole may not kill all of the developing bee larvae. The pollen plugs prevent the pesticide from getting to the rear chambers. So before you spray any pesticide into a carpenter bee hole be sure to run a stiff wire all the way to the back of the gallery to break through any pollen plugs. That way all of the larval chambers will be exposed to the pesticide.


A few years ago we requested information about the effect of our gloss topcoat on reducing carpenter bee activity via survey. Out of over 20 responses by letter, phone and e-mail only two reported any penetration of the gloss topcoat by carpenter bees. One home went from 20 to 30 holes the previous year down to 2 this past year and the other went from over 20 holes to 4 holes. This confirms our suspicion that the Lifeline Advance Gloss exterior topcoat appears to provide a finish to the wood that carpenter bees do not find very attractive. That is not saying that the gloss finish repels carpenter bees. It does not. Although bees would occasionally land on the gloss topcoat, they just did not drill through it. So why is it? First and foremost, the Lifeline Advance Gloss topcoat is not a pesticide nor does it have any pesticide properties. It appears to form a coating on the surface of the wood that carpenter bees are reluctant to drill through. Why? It could be the glossy look or the hard, slick finish.

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.
A high performance finish gives long-lasting color retention through the use of a balanced formulation of transparent iron oxides and long lasting mildew inhibitors. By applying a clear topcoat, you also have the opportunity to create a gloss or satin finish and greatly extend the life of the stain system.
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.
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!

Step 2 – Schedule Interviews

contractor estimatePerma-Chink Systems maintains current contact information, insurance and license information for all contractors on the referral list. Obviously, you’ll want to interview the contractors to determine their reliability, reputation and experience as well as their procedures that best meet your individual needs.
So here are the top 4 Key Questions you should ask each contractor candidate:
1. Does the contractor carry insurance?
A contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance to protect you in the event of a job accident. Ask for proof of general liability and workers' compensation coverage for the type of project.
2. Is the contractor licensed?
Ask if the contractor is licensed by your state and/or city. Not all states or cities require contractors to be licensed.
3. Will the contractor provide references from previous jobs?
Most experienced log home contractors will have a portfolio of past jobs, along with photos and customers testimonial letters.
4. What is the contractor’s workmanship warranty?
Some contractors typically warrant their workmanship for one year or more. Longer warranties are not necessarily more valuable than shorter warranties. The length of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the contractor to stand behind his warranty. That is best evaluated using customer references.

Choosing a Contractor

There are several more important things to consider as you narrow down your contractor selection. All job bids (if well written) should contain enough detail provisions and terms to clearly state both parties’ expectations. Your contractor’s knowledge of local building laws, their schedule to do the work and, of course, the total price they bid for your project, is all part of the equation. When it comes to caring for your log home, it's reassuring to know that you can choose a contractor on whom you can rely on for good advice as well trust that they’re dedicated to providing you with the best results possible.
Again, Perma-Chink Systems is happy to offer you all our resources to make this process a successful experience. We will contact you within 7-10 days to follow-up on the contractor’s response and also log information and future follow-up if the job was awarded to one of our preferred log home contractors. Give us a call at 1-800-548-3554 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get a referral to contractors in your area.
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

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.
Thursday, 13 October 2016 00:00

Leroy Mountain


The Leroy Mountain project was in need of some help. Built in 2003 it had been coated with Sansin Classic. One product, one color had been used on everything- logs, trim, and deck. This resulted in a mono-tone appearance. A second and third coat had been applied over the years, without adequate preparation. On one wall it looked like the finish had not been stirred or mixed before applying. Time, sun and weather had degraded the exterior badly. It was sad to see such a beautiful home in this condition.
My first impression on seeing the house was “Whoa, what is that little gem doing here?” Large Doug Fir logs, scribed fit, three gables, two balconies, two dormers, two porches, hexagon great room and deck – all tucked in on a basic footprint of 32’ X 32’. This is not your typical Pennsylvania log home. The log kit was supplied by The Log Connection, British Columbia, Canada. As soon as I saw it I knew we could bring it back to better then new looking condition.
Monday, 19 September 2016 00:00

Pros and Cons of Log Home Stain

By Lee Denman, Intensified Wood Restoration


There are essentially two types of log home stains available on the market today:

Film-Forming Finishes

Oil based (Alkyd) Log Home Stains

Latex based Log Home Stains

Acrylic Latex based Log Home Stains

Varnishes for Log Homes






Penetrating Finishes

Oil based Semitransparent Log Home Stains


stains1What 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.


stains2What 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:

  • What season the logs were cut (winter cut logs only)
  • Proper surface preparation
  • Environment surrounding building
  • Moisture content of logs

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

Tuesday, 12 April 2016 00:00

Protect and Preserve your Deck

dd3Your 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.

dd1 dd2
 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.  

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  • StripIt is a water based, non-hazardous pH neutral stain and finish remover. Take a look at our video - StripIt® Stain and Finish Remover for Log Homes

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