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 Semi-transparent 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 Perma-Chink Systems’ Lifeline is best bang for your buck!

While Perma-Chink Systems 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

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Last modified on Wednesday, 24 July 2019 22:14