Log Wash is a liquid concentrate for cleaning log and wood surfaces. It can be used as maintenance cleaner or to prepare the surface of wood for a new coat of stain or topcoat. Log Wash removes dirt, grime, pollen, and surface stains without harming the wood or the finish. As opposed to bleach solutions, Log Wash does not upset the natural pH balance of the wood, thus preventing wood fiber damage and iron tannate stains. (To treat gray, UV-exposed wood see below Wood Renew).
One gallon of Log Wash when diluted with water will clean 3000 sq.ft. for maintenance cleaning.
For redwoods and cedar, we recommend Cedar Wash. It is a ready-to-use cleaner specifically formulated for preparing the bare wood surface of wood species that contain high levels of wood extractives and resin oils.
For New Construction Projects
Let’s start with brand new wood right out of the mill. As the logs are planed, the process creates surface heat and pressure. This heat can cause the starches and sugars to form mill glaze on the surface of the logs. Mill glaze is very smooth and can inhibit adhesion and penetration of finishes. Most finish manufacturers recommend removing mill glaze prior to application. The best way to remove mill glaze from exterior wood surfaces is by using Wood ReNew, a percarbonate cleaner, and pressure washing. One old standby procedure was to wash the home down with household bleach. This is a No-No. Bleach is caustic and it will destroy lignin in the wood. Lignin is what holds the wood fibers together. You will end up with “fuzzy” logs, as the lignin is destroyed and the fibers break loose from each other.
You are probably wondering why this neutral balance is so important. Wood is a very interesting object and usually is very forgiving. But whenever the pH balance of wood is altered, the chances of developing iron tannate stains increases. While these stains do not damage the wood, they are unsightly and are very often misdiagnosed as mold or mildew under the finish. If tannin stains develop, they are easily removed with treatment of oxalic acid solution, like Oxcon, a brightener. Oxalic acid is a mild acid, but must be treated with caution and properly rinsed off to bring the chemical balance of the wood back to neutral.
Some wood has characteristic of stains such as bluestain or sapstain that come along with the wood. They are natural occurrence and can’t be removed. Some people try to remove it by spot sanding. While this may lighten the color somewhat, it is best to leave it alone. Spot sanding creates a different surface textures that result in different color acceptance of sanded areas making the finish uneven. If you must sand, try to send the entire wall. Another solution for staining wood with uneven texture is to use a clear primer such as Prelude.
For Restoration Projects
There are two ways to remove old finishes from the logs, Wet and Dry.
Wet Method – Removing Old Finishes
We offer two types of environmentally-friendly wood finish removers that specifically designed for log homes: S-100 and StripIt. Both products are water-based solvents that remove most oil, water-based stains and topcoats. They contain no-harsh chemicals, are bio-degradable and non-flammable, and unlike caustic strippers will not discolor the wood. As opposed to media blasting, chemical stripping is much more user-friendly since all it takes is a general purpose pressure washer.
Dry Method - Media Blasting
The latest and greatest dry method around is blasting that aging, discolored finish off with new age glass media. Glass media is lighter than sand so while it strikes your home with necessary force, it has less weight – this allows it to remove the stain without harming the wood so much. There is also no risk of blowing water into your house, and because the media is dry, you can re-stain immediately. Of course, you can hire someone to do it for you. If you prefer, call us and we find you a contractor near you, or visit https://www.permachink.com/general/find-a-contractor for a list of contractors in your area.
For Maintenance Cleaning
The exterior of a log home is a settling ground for dust, pollen and other airborne contaminants that dull the surface and encourage mold growth. A light cleaning once or twice a year with Log Wash will keep a home looking beautiful and helps prolong the life of the exterior wood finish.
Read the product labels, follow the directions, be well informed before you start the surface preparation process, and the results will be rewarding. And remember, rinse, rinse and then rinse again! You should apply log finish as soon as the home has adequately dried.