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Chemist's Corner - Why Do My Log Home Stain Choices Matter?

Why do my choices regarding surface prep, stain, and color matter?

When it comes to choosing a finish system for your log home exterior, there are many factors to consider. Depending on what choices you make, it will have a significant impact on the longevity of the finish system. For example, some of these choices include surface preparation, type of stain, and color choice. Let us take a closer look at each one of these factors and discover how they each contribute to a systems performance.

Surface Preparation

First, surface preparation is often overlooked, underestimated, or even dismissed entirely. At Perma-Chink Systems we have learned through many years of testing and experience that this is an important step and forms the foundation for a successful finish system.

Does the surface of the wood have mold, dirt, discoloration, existing finishes, metal contaminants or discolored weathering? All these wood conditions will likely lead to problems with your finish system if left unaddressed. Perma-Chink Systems offers a full line of wood restoration products, cleaning products, and literature to deal effectively with each of these wood conditions.

Increased wood surface porosity is also important and we recommend sanding your wood with 60-grit sandpaper to achieve best results. This allows for improved mechanical adhesion of the stain with the wood fibers and increases overall performance of the system as well as color uniformity. The overall color development will be much darker than on un-sanded wood. Nevertheless, the protection of the wood surface is increased substantially. Staining on smooth/un-sanded wood can look splotchy due to the reduced porosity and unevenness of the wood. As a result, not much stain goes on the wall and the performance is reduced accordingly.

If, however, surface preparation is skipped or done improperly prior to an application of stain, it will impact the appearance and longevity of the final system. Some of the likely outcomes such as peeling and early discoloration and unhappy homeowners are the usual result.

Choosing the Right Stain

The type of stain you choose also will impact performance. For all horizontal surfaces it is more advantageous to go with a penetrating type of stain such as our Deck Defense™. If you want to coat both horizontal and vertical surfaces another penetrating flat stain such as our Log and Timber Defense™ is an excellent choice. For all vertical surfaces film forming stains such as Lifeline Ultra 7™, Lifeline Ultra 2™ or Lifeline Exterior™ are your choices. For long lasting color fastness and protection on vertical surfaces the best option is our all-acrylic Lifeline Ultra 7.

Two broad categories for stain type are oil and water-based stains. What distinguishes these two types from each other? The advantages of oils are ease of application, extended drying time and initial high gloss appearance. The disadvantages of oil types are: dangerous flammable solvents make it more hazardous to work with; the gloss appearance dulls relativity quickly with exposure; high solids content is less breathable; and can chip and peel more easily than a water-based stain. Cleanup of oils require dangerous paint thinner or similar solvents, and is arguably more difficult. All our water-based stains are non-hazardous with easy soap and water cleanup, as well as made breathable making them less susceptible to peeling and chipping.

Choosing the Right Colors

Finally, color strongly influences the performance of any finish system. Our stains are designed to be semi-transparent. This allows the observer to more easily see the unique features of the wood such as grain and texture. However, by their very nature, transparent type finishes do not offer the kind of protection afforded opaque systems such as paint. In many of our exterior formulations we use transparent oxide type pigments. These pigment types still allow light to pass through so that you can see the grain, while at the same time provide a high level of protection from the sun. In addition, we avoid using organic type colorants that are not as colorfast as oxide-based colorants.

In general, the darker tone colors will provide more protection and longevity for your home, while lighter honey tone colors offer reduced protection. Nevertheless, at Perma-Chink we understand that the right picture-perfect color is a very personal preference and we have different opinions. That is why Perma-Chink offers more choices than any other brand when it comes to color options. We are the opposite of Henry Ford's position of "You can have any color as long as it's black." Color formulation has been carefully evaluated for longevity, so you can rest easy your home will look the same for years. Pigment loading levels have been formulated to give the greatest protection possible while at the same time providing color choices that meet our customers’ needs.

Some additional choices such as how many coats of stain, topcoat or no topcoat, and surface porosity are also important factors. In general, two coats of Lifeline stain are better than one. It helps even the color out and provides increased protection of the wood. Having a clear topcoat, such as our Lifeline Advance™, is also a great benefit. This helps keep the system sealed, dirt pickup is greatly reduced, performance of the system is increased, and it provides a great look to the final product.

Contact Us For Assistance

As a log homeowner, you have many important decisions to make when it comes to the care and maintenance of your home. At Perma-Chink Systems we have spent the last 40 years developing solutions to help meet your needs. Your choices, as well as ours, do matter and will make a difference. Let us work together to keep your log home looking great well into the future. For more information about our products, please give us a call at 1-800-548-3554 and tell us what your needs are. You can also visit our website at where you can find more information and order our products directly.



Last modified on Friday, 12 May 2023 21:00