Have you noticed your heating bill increasing year after year? It could be that your home has cracks that let heat escape, costing you money. Seal up cracks and seams before the weather turns cold and it’s too late to do anything about it.
Specifically designed for milled and scribed log homes, Energy Seal is a revolutionary product offering superior binders that effectively seal all interior and exterior gaps and cracks.
Energy Seal is a 100% acrylic polymer sealant formulated to provide a long-lasting and resilient barrier for any chinkless log home. Since logs constantly twist, turn, swell, and shrink during the life of a log home, annoying gaps can appear. These gaps promote the retention of moisture, which can lead to log decay and damage, as well as seepage of air and water.
We occasionally get calls about the exterior of a home that has turned black.
Almost without fail it's the result of using an oil-based stain that contained linseed oil.
Linseed oil is a yellowish oil derived from the dried seeds of flax plants, and is also known as flax seed oil. Linseed oil is used as a carrier in many brands of oil-based paints and stains. Since linseed oil is organic, many varieties of mold fungi thrive on it. Over time mold can proliferate to point where the coated surface can turn dark brown to black. One way to tell if the darkening is due to mold rather than UV damage is inspecting areas protected from direct sunlight like under eaves and overhangs; it will be the same dark color as the rest of the wall.
Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means it naturally absorbs and releases moisture from the environment. Logs can safely absorb large quantities of water before reaching moisture content levels that will be inviting for decay fungi.
Some of the most vulnerable areas of a log home are the corner log ends. This is because the cross section end grain is exposed and the ends often stick out beyond the walls allowing sunlight, wind, rain, snow and ice to wear away the stain and expose bare wood.
The exposed end grain acts like small straws sucking water into the log, giving rot and decay an opportunity to start eating away the wood. In addition, wood cracks and checks are prone to start at the ends. If left unprotected long enough, log or log corner replacement may eventually be required.
Being aware of the susceptibility of log ends to weathering, rot and decay, we developed Log End Seal, a clear polymer finish that prevents water from penetrating into log ends and provides a layer of protection against log end damage. Although it is a sealer, Log End Seal is designed to allow moisture already in the wood to slowly escape. This helps reduce those large checks that often form on log ends.
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.
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 bumblebees but have bare, shiny backs whereas a bumblebee'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 hardwoods 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 the hole. 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. If left unattended for several years, serious damage to a wood member may result.
Pressure washing (also referred to power washing) is the function of using highly pressurized water to remove mildew, mold, dirt, pollen, UV graying, etc. You’ll hear different recommendations whether or not pressure washing your logs is the best cleaning method.
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.
Whether 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.
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.
Are you a DIY-er? Do you like handling home projects, going back and forth to the local hardware store for equipment you need? While Perma-Chink Systems pride ourselves in offering DIY-friendly products, along with a wealth of how-to articles, customer and technical support, some customers choose to hire a contractor.
Or sometimes you can't do it yourself. Time, ability, confidence (or you plain don't want to do it) usually makes the decision for you and you need to find a contractor. Specifically, a log home contractor.
Why a log home contactor? Would you entrust your car to a golf-cart mechanic? While similar in nature, there is a difference between the two. Log home contractors have experience dealing with the unique characteristics that come with a log and timber home. This experience will give you a better result than hiring a painting contractor. Not to mention the long-term relationship the contractors have with the product manufacturer.
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 both experience and training in using our products on log and timber homes. Many of the contractors we've worked with for years, and we continually review our referall list to provide our customers with the best available contractors.
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!