Blog

Blog

By Tony Huddleston
VP of Sales and Operations, Perma-Chink Systems

 

Log home living in today’s world can be linked to the same pioneer spirit that helped many of our ancestors forge a new world. The spirit that dwells in so many of us tells us that we want something different from all the rest. Something that enables us to have a different way of expressing our lifestyle that embodies the individuality in some of us that separates us from the masses.


The months or years that are spent researching log home styles, construction methods, visits to dealers and talking with homeowners about their homes are brought to reality when we finally move into a new log home. Hopefully during our quest for the home we wanted that our dealer advised us to plan for maintenance and to design our homes to be “maintenance friendly”. After all we, like our homes are not going to be forever young, so planning for maintenance down the road will pay off big dividends in years to come.

Today’s log homes are not the same homes our ancestors built, as they were often built strictly as a necessity for their families. There were very few thoughts as to anything other than shelter and protection from the elements as well as other predators. Log homes of today are engineered to be structurally sound and take advantage of energy-saving features, much the same as other homes. They are no longer viewed as “cabins”; they are primary homes and second homes or vacation getaways.


Having said that, all of the engineering, planning, and choices you make should also include planning for scheduled maintenance on your home. Maintenance should not be viewed as a chore or just an expense, it should be considered as an investment in your homes’ longevity and value. Properly cared for; log homes will appreciate in value, rather than depreciate. Download the "Inspection Checklist" in PDF here.


If you are new to the lifestyle of log homes, then possibly you may be new to the care and feeding of a log home and may have some questions or reservations as to how this should be done. With a little planning and timely execution it is not as difficult as it may seem.


inspectionStarting with the basics; a walk around your home at least twice a year will help you become acquainted with your home and the condition of the sealants and finishes. If you do see something, get up close and personal to see what is happening. Pay close attention to the South and West sides of your home as that is normally the areas that catch most of the sun, and the ultraviolet rays that come with sunlight will cause those areas to show the quickest signs of needing maintenance. Many folks are under the impression that you always have to re-stain the entire home; when in fact all you may need is a touch up on the weathered side.


During your walk around, pay attention to the sealing system on your home, especially around doors and windows. As checking and fissure development is a naturally occurring process in large timbers, make note of any checks that face upward to catch water and hold moisture that may cause problems. Take special note of any that run behind door and window trim that may allow moisture to work its way to the interior. Also look for any telltale signs that your stain or finish is beginning to need attention; fading, peeling, or dark areas under the finish are good indicators that mean it is time for a maintenance coat.

rotecting wood surfaces in a beach or water front environment is a challenging task. You are faced with numerous variables that contribute to erosion and degradation of the substrate including sunlight, wind, moisture, salt, and sand. The two most destructive environmental variables to an exterior coating system and wood are sunlight and water.

sunlight damage

uniform sunexposureSunlight is the major cause of damage to a number of materials, including plastics, textile, wood, coatings, and other organic materials. The type of damage, such as loss of gloss, chalking, elasticity, adhesion, and color change, varies depending on the material sensitivity and the spectrum of sunlight. Spectral sensitivity varies from material to material.

One component of sunlight is ultraviolet light, commonly referred to as UV. UV light is responsible for most damage to exposed wood because it changes or destroys the wood’s lignin, a component of wood that hardens and strengthens the cell walls. In more scientific terms this process is called photo-oxidation. The colorants contained in the color coats are responsible for absorbing UV light. The more colorant a finish contains the less UV light will get through to the wood itself. 

Opaque finishes like paint and solid body stains are very efficient in blocking all of UV light from hitting the wood. That’s why when they peel off the freshly exposed wood may still look bright. On the other hand the objective of transparent stains is to allow the character of the wood to show through the finish. 

In order to accomplish this transparency the pigment loading is significantly less than that contained in opaque finishes. Although some of the UV is blocked by the colorants, enough of it gets through to eventually photo-oxidize the wood. Since darker colors typically contain more colorant than lighter ones they tend to last longer. However, some lighter colors that contain titanium white, or KX colorant, also contain a high colorant loading which extends their life but they do give up some degree of transparency in return. 

My name is Mike Samuels. I am a Log Home owner and recently started working for Perma-Chink Systems. So let me tell you how my story begins. We are going back to my childhood. My parents vacationed in Smoky Mountains once or twice a year. As a child I was very impressible and excited any time I was able to go on vacation. The trip always included a drive through the mountains, sightseeing around Cades Cove and driving up the most treacherous Ski Mountain Road.

On every visit to the Smoky Mountains, I remember making comments to my mother that one day when I grow up, I would have a log home or mountain chalet here. I made a lot of wishes to my mother growing up just as any kid does. I am sure that my mother listened to my comments in one ear and out the other. She was always very encouraging. I also remember that I told her I would be an US Air Force fighter pilot. Not everything comes true, but there is nothing wrong with dreaming.

I worked for one company for 38 years, mostly living in Houston, TX but my wife, Kathy, children and I lived in Tennessee for a total of 10 of the 38 years. Unfortunately the Tennessee years were located in the middle and west Tennessee, never East Tennessee. However, many of our family vacations were still in Smokies. My children were overwhelmed with the breathtaking views of the mountains as much as I was as a child.

Fast forward 40 years. Where did the time go? It was finally time to think about retirement and where my wife and I would spend the remainder of our lives. The decision was not as easy as one would think. The first place many people want to retire is the beach. That was our first idea, but Kathy and I looked at each other and simultaneously we said, How about Smokies, and How about a Log Home?

Kathy immediately logged on to the Internet and starting looking at land for sale. I can tell you that once my wife has a mission, she reacts quickly and thoroughly. Within minutes she found several pieces of property for sell. Of course, this would mean another vacation to Smoky Mountains to look and buy land. She planned out a trip, contacted a Real Estate company and put everything in motion.

We picked out approximately 10 properties to look at. Our real estate agent met us at the hotel around 8am on a Saturday. An early start was essential in order to look at all of the properties in a couple of days. It was rainy and cold. I believe the trip was in March, the best I can remember. We made it to all of the properties on Saturday… a very long Saturday. Kathy and I were a little car sick from the winding mountains roads and disappointed, because none of the properties made any significant impact on us.

View-of-Smoky-Mountains
A Great View of the Smokey Mountains

Early on Sunday morning the rain had stopped so my wife and I decided to go out and search on our own for the perfect piece of land.   What a difference does good weather makes. Kathy and I parked the car and started walking. We made it about half way up the property and were able to see nothing but trees and hillsides all around. We envisioned how a house would sit on the hillside. We walked up to the top of the hillside and there was this great view of mountain tops. At that time, we knew this was the right property to build our log dream home and spend the rest of our lives here. We made an offer, countered and purchased the same day on a Sunday.

As I mentioned earlier, Kathy is not one to sit back and wait for things to happen. She now has the land. It was time to start planning next steps. We both were still several years away from retirement but that did not stop us. She continued to plan. She contacted what seemed to be 100 manufactures, builders, and purchased tons of Log Home magazines and publications. Being a good husband, I sat back and allowed her to make floor plan decisions and building styles. I knew that my goal in life was to keep her happy. The design of the house was not my main concern. I like spending time outdoors, so as long as I had a place to eat and sleep I would be happy. We lived in five different homes but never one that would take on this feat. Most of our home purchases were buying new and vacant so we could move right in.

Perma-Chink Systems' (PCS) future-oriented, sustainable products take all environmental, ecological and social acceptability issues into consideration. We are constantly looking ahead to the future to develop products for the construction of energy-efficient log and timber homes while applying an environmental mindset that products be free of toxins and have a long life to reduce the number of life-time applications.
This holistic approach by Perma-Chink Systems is not limited simply to issues such as sustainable products, but also takes into consideration the aspect of healthy living by bringing the human aspect into the development process. Our environmental focus is reflected throughout the life cycle of our products, starting with Green Chemistry, then Green Manufacturing and finally Green Application and Care.
healthy-livingGreen chemistry can be defined as the design, development, and implementation of chemical products and processes to reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances and their negative impacts on the environment. The development of a Green finish starts with the selection of the raw materials necessary to formulate a product with the physical properties required to protect a substrate (i.e. wood, metal) from environmental and self-degradation. These raw materials include the resin, surfactants, solvents, biocides, pigments, fillers, colorants and UV-inhibitors.
Our Chemists spend countless hours of research to ensure our products are constructed to be environmentally-friendly not only in terms of toxicity but also in terms of longevity. Longevity, or shelf life, is the length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use. The shelf life of our products is an equally important environmental factor in order to reduce the potential impact of undesired disposal that could result from a short shelf life.
Perma-Chink Systems is proud to introduce our environmentally improved product line with a THREE YEAR shelf life.
The environmental approach by Perma-Chink Systems is Making a Difference Around the World.

Hearthstone log and timber home company delivers and manages 15 unique timber species that are used in custom log and timber frame homes and light commercial projects. The species of wood in order of volume includes White Pine, Douglas Fir, White Oak, Spruce, Western Hemlock, Cypress, Eastern Red Cedar, Western Red Cedar, Yellow Pine, Pressure Treated White Pine, Red Oak, Glulam (yellow pine and Fir), Antique Oak, and Ipe decking. How these specifications get into the project is anybody's guess. Some are written specs by the architect and others are driven by consumer or project managers. Gone are the days of managing primarily White Pine or mixed Oak from our own 40 foot sawmill. Adding to this fun is the HeartDried option, where our vacuum kilns dry most species very well to the core. And the finished dimension is nominal and not to the 1/2".

blog2Once the raw material is dried and sized, the joinery tolerances with our Cad/Cam equipment are designed within 1/64". Gone are the days of dovetail jigs and chainsaw tolerances of 1/4". It's actually easier and more efficient to tighten these tolerances with our computer machinery, just as long as the raw material initial sizing doesn't change after the 60+ hours of CAD modeling is complete.

We still finish the surfaces by hand with hewing, chopping, brushing or Weather Aged finishes. And each of these textures take stain colors differently. So, sample pieces are often provided for the customer to make decisions on wood stain colors, number of coats, top coats, etc. In most cases, these stain samples are provided prior to shipping. For those clients who need more time to decide, the drop shipping option to jobsites or the GC's office by Perma-Chink Systems has worked great.

It was a lot easier just 20 years ago managing two species and 6 colors. But we as an industry have never embraced "easy".

Chris Wood, VP Sales
www.hearthstonehomes.com

Just as clear coats are vital to the performance of today's automotive finishes our Advance Topcoats are an integral part of all of our exterior finish systems.

Not only do they extend the life of the color coats but they do much more. They significantly improve the look of the finish by enhancing the color, clarity and depth of the finish. In other words, they make our finishes the most beautiful log home finishes in the world. Second, they help keep the surface clean. The very nature of a pigmented stain makes it susceptible to dirt pick-up through adhesion or impregnation.

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  • Do you have an old stain that doesn't really show the warmth and beauty your home deserves? Ready to restore it to its natural look? It's easy to start by stripping old finishes using StripIt or S-100. Check Out This Video...

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