What Makes A Topcoat Different?

There is a common thought out there that believe topcoats are just the regular finish without color added. However, our topcoats are completely different than our finishes because they do different things. 

Lifeline Acrylic Gloss and Satin (G/S) and Sure Shine™ Gloss and Satin are totally different formulations than Lifeline Interior or any other finish. Lifeline Interior, Lifeline Accents, and Prelude™ contain a polymer system that offer some distinct adhesion advantages when applied to bare wood. Topcoats are designed to envelope those finishes, protecting the color and wood from environmental damage and everyday living.

logwashLog Wash is The Easy-to-Use Cleaner for Interior and Exterior Surfaces

The initial reason we developed Log Wash™ was for cleaning finished log home exterior surfaces. We found that all of the products typically recommended for general maintenance cleaning like Spic & Span, Mr. Clean or even mild dishwashing soaps softened finished surfaces during the cleaning process. This resulted in potential finish damage, especially if a pressure washer or a brush was used. It turned out that the one thing these cleaners all had in common was their high pH. When we tried the Log Wash formulation we found that it hardened the surface of our finish system and no damage occurred to the finish - even with vigorous scrubbing. It was only later that we discovered the benefits of using Log Wash on bare wood.

The inside of a home is where you do most of your living. As such, it’s important to take time to select the right interior stains and finishes for your log and timber home. You will achieve an interior that is visually pleasing and performs well for years when a proper stain is chosen.


Two Traits

When it comes to interior finishes, there are two phenomena that homeowners tend to overlook.

1. Surprising surface area. Interior walls and ceilings dramatically increase the amount of surface area that requires treatment. Generally there is about twice as much stainable surface on the interior than the exterior. You’ll be looking at the results of your interior stain for years to come throughout your entire home, so choose wisely.

2. Choices, choices, and more choices! During a new build, homeowners are faced with hundreds of decision points along the way, often with details unfamiliar to them. It’s common for homeowners to ask the general contractor (GC) for advice. Many GCs typically recommend a “safe” off-white color, but that doesn’t always translate well with the natural logs in a cabin. A GC wants to stay on schedule, but selecting your interior stain takes a little time. You can’t easily undo stain.


What’s Your Color?

To make the best choice for your log home’s interior stain, think about how you spend time inside your home and the feeling you want to create. Does the space have abundant, natural light? Do you prefer cozy dark walls and a lighter ceiling? Or a bright, fresh feel with lighter walls? Another consideration is that wood absorbs light, so a darker stain may translate into a much darker room than you anticipated.

Then there is the tint base - do you prefer browns, reds, gray tones, or even a bleached look? Like many home designs, wood stain “looks” go through trends. Explore your options and be sure to choose a tint that will look beautiful to you over time. You can always darken a lighter stain, but not the reverse.


Distinct Needs

Not all interior wood is the same. Logs and heavy timbers are not like the wood of cabinets, moldings, and furniture. These smaller wood products are usually sprayed with nitrocellulose lacquer to protect them through a hard, shiny finish. Unlike cabinets, tables and trim, larger timbers and logs are more dynamic. If you try and put a similar lacquer on your interior log walls, the finish will crack and peel as these larger pieces of wood naturally contract and expand. A specialized finish for logs will ensure the interior looks the best for years to come.

Some homeowners wonder if the interior can go "au naturel" and keep the wood plain with no stain or topcoat. While interior logs may not be subjected to the same elements as their external counterparts, unfinished logs and timbers will absorb cooking oil and odors and collect dust, handprints, and water stains if not protected. Have you ever run your hand across rough-cut wood? The roughness of the wood is not very pleasant to feel. All those little crags and jags on the surface need to be covered in a light film; one that’s strong enough to be wiped down and protect the wood while remaining flexible enough to not crack as the log expands, shifts, and contracts over time.

Choose a stain that’s designed for the demands of a log home interior. Exterior stains contain higher levels of biocides and preservatives that you don’t need or want inside your home, especially where you’re eating and sleeping. This is also why you want to avoid an oil-based stain. Oil-based products have high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are extremely unhealthy in enclosed spaces. 


Smart & Attractive

Start with a stain that gives you the aesthetic and exact level of transparency you desire. Here at Perma-Chink Systems, we recommend using one of our Lifeline Interior stains, which come in a wide array of tones, including clear. After staining, add one or two clear coats of interior finish; Lifeline Acrylic or Sure Shine, a water-based poly finish. Both add enough film to protect your logs and minimize the roughness of logs so they can be easily wiped and cleaned. Lifeline Acrylic and Sure Shine come in gloss or satin. Sure Shine is strong enough to withstand foot traffic, and an excellent alternative to wood floors than smelly and caustic oil-based floor coatings.


These stains also contain the right amount of UV protection to avoid “picture framing.” Picture framing is the shadowy discoloration that remains on the wall when you move a bookshelf or a picture. After all, your stain should let you redecorate your log home whenever you want! Perma-Chink interior stains and finishes will ensure that the inside of your log home is just as breathtaking and gorgeous as the outside.

To order free color samples, visit our online store here or call us to discuss custom colors at 1-800-548-3554..

What’s the Difference Between Caulking and Log Chinking?

High-quality sealants help older cabins last for generations and give newer ones the rustic good looks many desire. Our sealants provide protection that will let them carry their historic styles far into the future. But when it comes to the language surrounding the sealant between logs, many people call chinking “log caulk.” Log caulk and log chinking are often used interchangeably, but these sealants are completely different. In fact, you should never, ever caulk a log home.


Guest post by Seth Murphy, papadiy.com

A home is more than just a shelter; it serves as our intimate sanctuary. The atmosphere within its walls profoundly influences our emotions, efficiency, and overall well-being. Central to cultivating a calm home atmosphere is the principle of tidiness.

Through consistent cleanliness and organization, we carve out a peaceful niche that rejuvenates our soul. By embracing straightforward daily practices, our living spaces can evolve into serene havens. In this article, which is shared courtesy of Perma-Chink Systems, we will explore straightforward routines that offer both a structured environment and mental clarity.

In loving memory of our late president Rich Dunstan.

In The Beginning

In 1980 my neighbor told me about building a log home in Eastern Washington. He said that he loved the home and the lifestyle but was disappointed wind constantly blew and cold, harsh winters meant there was no real effective way to seal the gaps between the logs. The house leaked air and heat and wind-driven rain came right through the walls.

He tried various caulking materials with little success. Caulking around a bathtub or sink was significantly different from ‘caulking’ literally miles of seams between logs in a log house.  After a number of conversations and experiments, we discovered there was no readily available product that could seal the gaps, look like authentic chinking, and last more than a few months.

After months of trial and error it became apparent that if we were going to design a material that would be acceptable to our criteria, we would have to design it ourselves.

The product we were designing was to be a replacement for what was known in the Log Home Industry as “chinking” – the sealant that historically provided the seal between the logs.  A chink is a gap – as in Biblical Times, “A chink in his armor’. Therefore, chinking is a material to fill a gap. Throughout the centuries of constructing dwellings out of logs, numerous methods were used to seal in between them. Early builders used pretty much anything they could get their hands on to seal the gaps – mud, straw and mud, cow manure, or mixtures of cement and mortar.

This Michigan log home was completed by the homeowners over 2 years in 2016-2017. Red pine logs were regionally sourced from Wisconsin and northern Michigan. The homeowners peeled, sanded, stained, and sealed the log home themselves, making this home a beautiful labor of love.

The exterior is finished with Lifeline Ultra-2 Sequoia with Advance Gloss, and log gaps sealed with Perma-Chink Stone. Interior logs and beams were finished with Lifeline Ultra-2 Dark Natural and Advance Gloss topcoat for the rest. Gaps were filled with Energy Seal - Dark Natural for interior, Dark Walnut for exterior gaps.

"Using your products was so effortless with easy application, no odor, and easy clean up. We have recommended Perma-Chink to others who have log homes in the area." - Roger & Diane G.



How do I know what color your stain will be on my house?

Transparent stains develop color differently, depending primarily upon the wood species, the surface preparation, the application method and the kind of light illuminating it. Even photos can be edited in a way that alters the true color.

The only way you will really know how the stain will look is to try it on your wood. We will provide complimentary samples of Lifeline for you to try on your own wood before purchasing product.

Not just Beautiful, but also Durable!

In addition to building a strong home, you want to build a beautiful home, too, which is why the finished appearance of your logs is so important. No doubt that high-quality finishes will save you time and money in the long run. Longer lasting finishes equates to less labor expense over the life of the finish.

Q: How do I know what color the stain will be on my house?

A: Transparent stains develop color differently, depending primarily upon the wood species, the surface preparation, the application method and the kind of light illuminating it. Even photos can be edited in a way that alters the true color. The only way you will really know how the stain will look is to try it on your wood. We provide complimentary samples of LIFELINE for you to try on your own wood before purchasing product.


Q: Where do I use LIFELINE Acrylic clear finish on log homes?

A: Acrylic Gloss or Satin is an interior furniture-grade finish. Use it on log walls, ceilings, or any other vertical wood surface. Unlike the solvent-based finishes, it will never yellow and has no fumes. You can apply the clear finish by multiple methods - spray it, brush it, or wipe it on with a rag. It is available in Gloss or Satin sheen. 


Looking For Stain and Sealant In One?

Perma-Chink Systems® has extended our finish options for our customers with Log and Timber Defense™. Unlike our traditional Lifeline wood finishes, Log and Timber Defense penetrates your wood much like an oil coating. Once Log and Timber Defense penetrates the wood surface, it forms a strong lattice network within the wood, reinforcing and strengthening the entire system from the inside out. This mechanism greatly reduces the chances of peeling and flaking by leaving the system breathable to water vapor. Many traditional oil-based finishes can also form a network, but are often so high in solids that they can easily blister and peel. Vapor pressure builds up behind the thick, unbreathable solid film and pushes the film away from the wood. This leads to an unfortunate situation requiring removal of the compromised coating down to bare wood.

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