pcs connections

PCS Connections

From Peter H. Miller, Traditional Building:


Not every great leader was born with wealth and privilege. In fact, some of the greatest U.S. presidents came from the most humble of abodes. On this Fourth of July, we look at some of our favorite presidential birthplaces.


1) Abraham Lincoln

Arguably one of the greatest leaders in our nation's history, Abraham Lincoln could not have come from a more humble beginning. This one-room cabin in Hodgenville, Kentucky, measured only 16 ft. x 18 ft., had a dirt floor, a stone fireplace, and a single window.


2) Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in this simple 2-story frame house in Denison, Texas. He was the first U.S. President from Texas--although he didn't know that until he was an adult. Eisenhower's family moved to Kansas when he was 2 years old, and he had no knowledge of his Texas origins until a local school principal named Jennie Jackson contacted him and asked if he was related to the Eisenhower family of Denison. Once Eisenhower's mother confirmed that it was indeed his birthplace, Jackson set about raising funds to buy the home, which was then donated to the city of Denison. It is now operated by the Texas Historical Commission, and is a designated Texas Historic Landmark.


3) Bill Clinton

William Jefferson Clinton, our 42nd president, was born in the small town of Hope, Arkansas. He lived in this modest house in Hope with his recently-widowed mother and her parents until he was 4 years old. It was in this home that Clinton first learned about social equality, justice, and a commitment to serving others from his beloved grandfather.


4) John Adams

John Adams, the second president of the United States, was born in this Quincy, Massachusetts saltbox house that was built in 1681. This historic American colonial structure still stands in its original location, surrounded by the six acres of land that Adams' father--a prominent deacon--bought soon after his birth. Adams lived in this house with his family until the age of 29 when he married Abigail Smith.


5) Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant's parents paid $2 a month to rent this tiny home in Point Pleasant, Ohio. Grant was born in this home, but lived there less than a year--his family moved to Georgetown just prior to his first birthday. Today, this site is a historic house museum operated by the Ohio Historical Society, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


ext1small“Which of your products should I use to seal my log home” is a question often put to us by prospective customers. Why do so many people refer to “sealing” a log home rather than staining or finishing? Nobody talks about sealing siding or trim on a stick built home. They are either stained or painted, yet sealing is the term used by many log home owners. As it relates to log homes the term “sealing” dates back to the early 1900s. Prior to then most log homes were constructed using heartwood from old growth timber and left bare. Since heartwood is resistant to insect and decay infestations and the people who built log homes knew better than to not include porches or leave log ends sticking out beyond the roof line, the best thing for them to do was to leave the logs bare but keep them dry. That's why so many of them survive to this day.

Starting at the end of the 19 century old growth timber was no longer readily available and people started constructing log homes using second or third growth timber that was mostly sapwood. They also stopped using many of the good construction practices of their ancestors, so problems with bugs and decay began to arise. At around the same time the petroleum industry began to develop and for the first time oil and tar products became available at reasonable prices. Log home owners soon discovered that smearing some of these oil derivatives over their homes helped eliminate some of their insect and decay problems. In their minds they had “sealed” the logs, and the term has stuck with us to this day. Up to the 1950s, unless the logs were painted, log homes came in two basic colors, black and gray.

So, are any of our LIFELINE exterior finishes sealers? As the term relates to keeping liquid water from entering the wood, they all are. All of our LIFELINE stains as well as Prelude Clear Primer and Advance Topcoat all act as water repellents to keep the underlying wood dry.



There is a misconception that our pigmented finishes alone do not act as water repellents and it's the Advance Topcoat that seals the surface. That's why many people call our Advance Topcoat a sealer but that's not an accurate description of the product. breathable filmAll of our stains are excellent water repellents. No, they may not bead water but they provide a polymer-film barrier that prevents liquid water from penetrating into the wood.

Calling our pigmented finishes “stains” can also be a bit confusing. The term itself implies that the wood fibers are “stained” with the colorants contained in the products. However, in the case of film forming water-based finishes the wood fibers are not impregnated with the colorants like they are when penetrating oil stains are used. If wood is painted with a latex paint no one expects the paint to impregnate the underlying wood. So if you believe that your wood is not “taking” our LIFELINE stain it's important to understand that our finishes behave more like latex paints than penetrating oil-based stains.



One of the most frequently asked questions we receive about our Advance Topcoats is why don't we include the topcoat in with the stain. The answer to this simple question is that if we did, it would no longer be a topcoat. Topcoats play a specific role in protecting any finish system. car fadedTake car finishes for example. The pigmented paint provides the color and helps protect the metal from corrosion. It is formulated to adhere to the primer and retain its color. The car's clear topcoat is designed to protect the color coat from abrasion, dirt and sunlight and the only thing it has to adhere to is the color coat. Our Advance Topcoats play essentially the same role, to protect the color coats from the weather, sunlight and dirt. Although our stains have to be able to adhere to bare wood, previously applied stains, and existing topcoats, it is not necessary for Advance to adhere to bare wood since it clearly states on the label that it's to be applied only over an existing finish. Although most topcoats on the market are just unpigmented versions of stains, Advance is specifically designed as a high performing topcoat with a unique set of characteristics that have yet to be duplicated by anyone else in our industry. One of the reasons LIFELINE Advance outperforms all other topcoats is that it is designed for a very specific purpose and should never be applied to bare wood.


No matter how much you know about log home chinking, there is always something new to discover.

Historically, what are some of the odd materials used for chinking?

As far back as log cabins go, there have been all sorts of attempts to seal out water and other undesirables. Wood slats were placed in between the logs at an angle, these slats were then covered with mud, or a combination of mortar mixed with horsehair or whatever else could be found. In the Northeast section of the USA oftentimes tree moss would be soaked in water and driven into any openings that it could be pounded into. Also in the Northeast, roofing tar or oakum would be used as chinking as well.

Most of these compounds worked for a little while, but they all lacked in adhesion to wood as well flexibility. So when the logs moved, the products used to seal did not, and the next summer or fall, everyone was out “chinking” the home in preparation for the next winter.

What is the Purpose of Chinking?

ext10 copySince its invention in 1981, Perma-Chink log home sealant has been the leader in making log homes comfortable, weather tight and energy efficient. Millions of homes around the world are sealed with the first sealant that looks like traditional concrete mortar, but stretches and moves with seasonal log movement to ensure a tight seal to eliminate air and water infiltration or infestation by insects.

Remember, having 1/16" voids (between the horizontal logs and corners) and unsealed gaps where the logs terminate up against the window and doorjambs can be no different than having a window open on a breezy, bitter cold December evening.

The Product

pc cornerPerma-Chink Systems revolutionized the log home weatherization process in the early 80's with our elastomeric, flexible chinking which emulates traditional mortar. With a strong presence from Alaska to New Zealand, it is proven to be the most effective, permanent sealant to any climate.

How Long Will it Take to Apply Log Home Chinking?

How long the process will take you depends on the amount of lineal footage you have to seal, what percentage of chinking is done while on a ladder, method of application, how precisely the logs fit together, whether you do the log extensions or vertical corners, how wide the joint is, whether you do the joint at the diagonal roofline, how many hours you work in a day, the inconvenience of working around shrubs, trees and other natural structures. But the most definitive factor deciding how long your project will take may depend on the look you want.

Removal of Failed Chinking

Keep in mind: old, unsightly, failed chinking does not always need to be removed before applying Perma-Chink. Applying Perma-Chink over existing chinking can be done, but make sure the new chink joint is wider than the existing, allowing for adhesion to clean wood.

When dealing with old mortar, any loose pieces should be removed and the void filled with backing rod. If old mortar is taken out completely, make sure to sand or wash the portion of the log where the new Perma-Chink sealant will be in contact. Depending on the adhesion of the mortar, and whether or not it is held in place with wire or nails, the removal process can be much more time consuming than the application of Perma-Chink. Keep in mind; it is generally easier, neater and quicker to apply Perma-Chink over foam Backing Rod than over existing textured mortar.

The Right Tools

The method of application can vary tremendously depending on personal preference, the financial commitment you are making to the project and the size of the project. Read more about our tools here https://www.permachink.com/pcs-connections/tools-and-tooling-your-sealants

Backing Rod

backer gripThere are three primary functions of the round foam Backing Rod that are tucked into place on to which the Perma-Chink (or Energy Seal) is applied. First, it allows the applicator to form a two-point adhesion (on the top and bottom log), which provides for better elasticity during inevitable log- movement. Second, backing rods allow you to apply a uniform thickness, and third, it saves you money by not using more chinking than you need to. When filling up a joint without utilizing Backing Rod, you can easily use twice as much chinking as necessary. It is available on rolls ranging from 1 foot to 6,400 feet, depending on the size needed. Sizes available range from 1/4" up to 2" of the round Backer Rod. Grip Strip, which provides the same function, is trapezoid shaped, allow you to chink over a flat surface, if desired. These sizes range from 3/4" to 6" wide.

Simple Clean Up

While Perma-Chink will not come out of clothes and sticks tenaciously to clean wood once cured, cleaning your tools at the end of the day is quite easy with the use of water. Generally, soap is not even needed, unless it is dried a bit in which case a little scrubbing will help.


For several years our Lifeline Advance Topcoats have been an integral part of our exterior finish systems. In addition to prolonging the life of the finish system, Advance Topcoats help keep the exterior surfaces free of dust and dirt and make them easier to clean. That's because Advance is designed specifically as a topcoat. Unlike most topcoats on the market, Advance is not just a non-pigmented version of our Lifeline stain. This allows us to formulate our stains for maximum color retention and adhesion when applied to bare wood and use an entirely different formulation to meet the performance criteria important in a clear topcoat.

The same concept applies to our Lifeline Interior finishes as well. Acrylic Gloss and Satin (G/S) and Sure Shine Gloss and Satin (G/S) are totally different formulations than Lifeline Interior. Lifeline Interior, Lifeline Accents and Prelude contain a polymer system that offer some distinct adhesion advantages when applied to bare wood, however, when left exposed without a topcoat, they are more susceptible to dirt pick-up that may not be easily cleaned off. When topcoated with Acrylic G/S or Sure Shine G/S, the finish surfaces become much more impervious to dirt pick-up and since the coating surfaces are slick and smooth they can be kept clean with much less effort. The bottom line is that Lifeline Interior, Lifeline Accents or Prelude are highly recommended to be topcoated with either Acrylic G/S or Sure Shine G/S.

Whenever a house is over one or two years old or you are sure your logs are dry, be sure to obtain samples of both Sure Shine G/S and Acrylic G/S to try. If Acrylic G/S does not result in the smooth, slick surface that you may be expecting, try Sure Shine G/S. Sure Shine G/S is a water-based acrylic-urethane that builds depth and luster with fewer coats. However, polyurethane films are less breathable so we do not recommend their use on logs that have not fully seasoned. One or two coats of Sure Shine G/S can always be applied over the Acrylic G/S later if you want a smoother, deeper finish on your interior walls.int19

What if you don't want a pigmented stain on your interior wood? Do you need to apply Prelude or Lifeline Interior Clear before applying Sure Shine G/S or Acrylic G/S? From a technical and performance standpoint it does not matter, although Prelude does include an additive called UV Boost that will help prevent the picture frame effect that occurs over time. Although UV Boost can be added to Interior Clear, Acrylic G/S and Sure Shine G/S, most people prefer not to spend more money than they need to and using Prelude as a primer on bare interior wood will significantly decrease the amount of more expensive Acrylic G/S or Sure Shine G/S you will require.

Perma-Chink Systems Family of Interior Stains and FinishesInterior Stains and Finishes 

Water Bad stainsSome of the most challenging discolorations on wood are water stains. They can run the range from light brown to jet black and can appear on both interior and exterior surfaces. How do water stains form? All wood contains a number of components that are grouped under the category of “water-soluble extractives.” In other words, they can dissolve in water and as the water within the wood evaporates they can be carried along to the surface. Generally, if wood is exposed to water for only a brief period of time, the water does not get a chance to penetrate deep into the wood and dissolve these water-soluble components. However, if the wood is exposed to water for days, weeks or months, the water can pick up a high concentration of these components and deposit them on or near the surface of the wood.


Exterior water stains typically occur around checks, fissures and other openings that collect rain water. The water soaks into the wood and as it evaporates out of the wood it brings along the colored extractives which can then become visible on the surface. In some cases water-soluble tannins may react with minute particles of steel on the surface forming dark iron tannate stains. This process may occur on bare wood or under an existing finish. Interior water stains typically develop during construction before the home is sealed or from an ongoing water leak. They can be particularly ugly and may cause a lot of distress.


Getting Rid of Water Stains


Water stains 3The first step in determining a course of action is to find how deep the stain goes into the wood. Remove about a 1/16” thick sliver of the discolored surface with a sharp knife and if the discoloration comes off with the sliver the discoloration can usually be sanded off or treated with products like Log Wash, Wood ReNew or Oxcon. Since there are a number of components involved with water stains it's impossible to predict which product will work best. We recommend starting with Log Wash and if that does not work move to Wood ReNew and finally Oxcon. The problem is that even these products don't always work and sanding may be the only solution. If the discoloration goes deep into the wood and is still visible after the sliver of wood is removed it will be virtually impossible to either sand or chemically remove the water stain. In this case there are only two options, either replace the discolored wood or hide the stains.


Hiding Water Stains


Although Perma-Chink Systems manufactures and sells transparent finishes, some of our colors are fairly pigmented which gives them some hiding power. On interior bare wood surfaces Butternut color is a good choice since it is very close to the color of bare white pine. It may take several coats depending on the darkness of the discolorations. If a colored stain is going to be later applied it would be a good idea to first use Prelude over the entire wall to even out the absorption of the stain and obtain a uniform color. The best way to hide exterior water stains is to use a dark colored finish like Walnut or one of our gray colors. If this is not to your liking you can try using the same hiding procedures as stated for interior stains but on exterior walls the opaque finished areas tend to be more pronounced than on interior surfaces.

Accent the Natural Beauty of Wood

Staining your log home is a humbler art. Whereas paint transforms the color of a surface, leaving no trace of its previous hue, stain is typically used to accent the natural beauty of wood. Its purpose is to bring out the best in what’s already there. Semi-transparent stains from Perma-Chink Systems are designed to let the beauty of the wood shine through and to add a colorful twist to your interior or exterior.

accent cinnabaraCheck out Lifeline Accents' extensive interior/exterior stain product line that boasts a variety of features that everyone will find irresistible; the most obvious is color. Nothing compliments wood better than earthy reds. The rich and full-bodied Cinnabar or Barn Red brings color warmth into home exteriors and this stylish tone is universally appealing.

accent azure forestgreenBold hues such as jade, garnet and midnight catch the eye, while more traditional tones, such as sand, umber and charcoal, round out the 18-color palette. Each vibrant color is designed to allow the wood's grain to emerge, so the color complements the wood, rather than covers it. And unlike many other tinted stains, the color endures, meaning fewer touchups over time.

"Our Lifeline Accents high-performance semi-transparent stains are designed utilizing our proprietary technology to highlight and protect both interior and exterior surfaces," said Richard Dunstan, the founder of Perma-Chink Systems. "The combination of exciting colors and ease of application will expand choices and add value for homeowners and applicators."


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seal step1When applying any of our sealants in cold weather there are two main factors to consider, the temperature of the logs and the temperature of the product. As long as the logs are dry and not frozen, any of our sealants can be applied to them without comprising appearance or performance.

The problem associated with very cold sealants is viscosity, their viscosity increases as the temperature decreases. In other words, they become thicker. This is especially apparent when trying to squeeze product out of an 11 ounce or 30 ounce tube or when attempting to load a bulk loading gun from a pail of sealant. Cold product is also more difficult to tool. It's always best to store our sealants in a controlled environment (50-70oF), they will be a lot easier to apply and tool. Once applied the only effect that freezing temperatures have on our sealants is lengthening the time it takes for them to cure. Whereas in summer months it may take Energy Seal™ or Perma-Chink® a matter of a few weeks to completely cure, during the winter it may take a couple of months to complete the curing process.

No matter what the time of year it is advisable to never apply a sealant in direct sunlight. Even if the day is cool, direct sunlight can cause the surface to skin over before the remaining free water has a chance to evaporate resulting in blisters forming on the surface of the sealant. In very hot weather blistering can occur if the sun rapidly heats the wall after chinking has been applied, especially if the underlying wood is green or damp. Draping the chinked wall with a tarp until the chinking cures will help prevent the formation of blisters.

logcap 4Another challenge using our sealants in very hot weather is that the surface may dry so quickly that tooling time may be reduced to only a few minutes. If masking tape has been used to protect the surrounding outer surfaces, it's imperative to remove it before the surface starts to dry. If left on too long, it will pull off the skinned-over layer of sealant along with it.

Although we don't specifically state an upper limit on the Perma-Chink and Energy Seal labels, we discourage either product's use above 90°F.

Note: The upper end of the Woodsman™ application temperature range is 120°F. That's fine if the Woodsman is to be used between courses of logs but if it is going to be used as an external sealant in a manner similar to Energy Seal, 90°F should be considered its upper temperature limit.


Diamond-Hard Interior Wall and Floor Finish


sure shine cIf you are moving into a new home, thinking about installing wood floors or refinishing the ones you have, you’re probably dreaming of those gorgeous, glossy finishes like you find at professional gyms. They never seem to get a nick or lose their luster. Even if deciphering wood finishes is a whole new arena for you, don’t worry. Sure Shine, a revolutionary product, has changed the industry. Now it’s easy to have that professional grade shine and you can do it yourself with very little mess, odors, or waiting time.

Up until about 20 years ago, the “Swedish Finish” was the only way to go. Extremely high-performance, it worked well, but as a solvent based product, it was highly caustic. Certainly not a do-it-yourself project, it required trained professionals and total evacuation for up to a week (including the houseplants!)

Sure Shine offers all that original wearability, durability and beautiful shine, without the toxic fumes and disruption to your life. Instead of solvent-based, it uses a water-based technology that is both environmentally and user-friendly.

When these water, or urethane-based, finishes were first introduced they got a bad wrap for not adhering as well or enduring wear and tear. Sure Shine, however, is a third generation product, with the years behind it to prove that it will last as long as the original, super-tough polyurethane finishes.

sure shine dAllen Erickson writes of Sure Shine: “About two years ago I laid about 1200 sq.ft. of plank flooring in my house and decided to try your floor product Sure Shine. The wood species were mixed pine, spruce and sub alpine fir, which was very soft. It caused me to wonder if I would need to redo the floor within a year or two. So far it appears I will never have to redo even in areas of heavy traffic as the Sure Shine is holding up remarkably well.”

This product shines even brighter from an application standpoint. It’s easy to do yourself, and it dries so quickly (only one hour) you can apply all three coats in one day. They will never yellow, are non-flammable and there are no fumes, which means there is no reason for the inconvenience of vacating your home. Cleaning up your tools is a simple matter of a little soap and water. And when the work is done, you can walk on your new floor finish in 8 short hours!

Sure Shine is available in 1-gallon containers, in either Gloss or Satin finish to complement the rest of your fine woodwork. For how to apply Sure Shine guides click here.

Whenever the outside temperature is at least 20 degrees lower than the temperature within a home it's a good time to find any gaps that may be leaking air. All you’ll need is a small pail of warm water, a piece of chalk and a perhaps a ladder depending on how high the ceilings are. If you dip your hand in the water then run your wet hand over the interior walls keeping it about six inches to a foot away from the surface, you will easily feel any cold air leaks that are coming through the walls or around the windows. As you move your wet hand closer to the wall you can pretty well pin-point where the leak is located. Be sure to mark those leaking areas with the chalk.

If you have a box fan and want an even more efficient method of locating leaks, place the fan in a window or door blowing outward and cover the remaining opening with plastic sheeting. This will help draw cold air into the home through the leaks making them easier to find.

A more accurate and sophisticated method of locating air leaks is with the use of an infrared camera. They are somewhat expensive, but there are people who specialize in doing energy evaluations of homes using this type of equipment.

finding air leaks

The best way to attack air leaks is from exterior surfaces. Interior walls can be caulked but if a crack or crevice is leaking air it may also leak water. Sealing the leak from the outside prevents water penetration along with air infiltration. Sealing with Energy Seal™ can be accomplished in cold weather as long as the temperature is above 40° F, and the wood is not wet or frozen. However, the pails or tubes of sealant should be stored in a heated area until they are used.

Maintenance caulking is really a two person job, one outside doing the sealing and one inside feeling for the leaks. Finding the outside source of the leak may not be as easy as it sounds, especially around window and door frames. The opening source of the leak may be several inches from the spot where it is felt inside the home. It's just a matter of continuing to seal the area until the person on the inside no longer detects the air leak.

It is virtually impossible to prevent logs from developing cracks and checks as they age and dry. That's because as a large piece of wood seasons, mechanical stresses build up until the surface stress becomes so great that the wood cracks. We call these stress cracks “checks.”

Do checks need to be sealed? Depends upon the depth and direction of the checks. Upward facing checks can collect water increasing the interior moisture content of the log. If they continue to collect water and the wood remains damp, they can eventually result in internal wood decay as well as provide nesting sites for carpenter ants and other insects. It is not necessary to seal checks on the bottom half of round logs since they do not collect water. For a uniform appearance of your home, you may want to seal them as well. It is not usually necessary to seal checks or fissures that are less than 1/4” wide since they cannot accumulate that much water.

Another wood check to inspect for is a spiral check, where the check spirals around the length of the log. Sometimes these checks can start on the exterior and spread around the log to the interior, creating drafts and paths for insects to crawl into the home. Insects can gain access through small voids and checks; one-sixteenth of an inch or less.

The good news is you can prevent insects from entering your home by sealing spiral checks. Other entry points can occur around window and door casings, log-on-log joints, and facia cracks.

If your home is new and the logs or siding are green, it may be best to wait a year or so before addressing the checks. This allows the wood to reach an equilibrium with its environment and by then most of the larger checks will have opened. On seasoned wood or an older home that's in the process of being refinished you can seal the checks either before or after applying a stain.

Check Mate 2

Checks and splits in logs present a different set of dynamics than those typically addressed by a caulk. They open and close as the log's moisture content varies throughout the year. The opening width of a check may change as much as 50% from summer to winter. Most sealants are designed to cope with a different set of conditions and are ill suited for sealing checks. Check Mate 2 is specifically formulated to meet the particular requirements for sealing checks that appear in logs and log siding.

backerrod2backerrod1When initially applied 3/8” thick in a check the Check Mate 2 bonds to the sides of the check. As the check opens, the Check Mate 2 stretches to maintain a water-tight seal. The role the Backer Rod plays is to maintain a Check Mate 2 thickness of 3/8” during the application and two point contact with the wood. Two point adhesion enables Check Mate 2 to elongate and contract


  1. Begin by cleaning any dust, dirt, oil, solvent or previous sealer out of the check. Previously applied caulks can usually be easily pulled or scraped out with a hook knife. If the check is upward-facing and has allowed water penetration, pour some Shell-Guard RTU into it. This will kill any decay fungi present and prevent further deterioration of the log due to rot. If the wood within the check is damp from cleaning, rain or a borate treatment make sure the check has time to dry before applying Check Mate 2. You can speed up the drying process by blowing the water out of the check with a leaf blower. The last thing you want to do is to trap any water within the check.
  2. step picture bstep picture aFor sealing checks 1/4" wide or larger, Check Mate 2 should be always used in conjunction with Backer Rod. Insert the Backer Rod into the check and use a trowel or other implement to push the Backer Rod about 3/8” to 1/2” deep (Pictures A & B). If you push it deeper than 1/2” the cured Check Mate 2 will be too thick and may rip away from the sides of the check. If the Backer Rod is placed too close to the surface the Check Mate 2 may end up too thin and split.
  3. step picture cFor a neat, clean appearance you can use masking tape to mask off the wood on either side of the check (Picture C). Be sure to remove the masking tape right after you tool the Check Mate 2 smooth. If you remove the masking tape after the Check Mate 2 has begun to dry you will pull the top layer of Check Mate 2 off along with the masking tape.
  4. step picture dCut the tip of the Check Mate 2 tube to about the same diameter as the checks you plan to fill (a little smaller diameter is better than one too large). Fill the space between the Backer Rod and log surface with Check Mate 2 using a standard caulk gun. Check Mate 2 must have good contact with wood on either side of the check and be sure the crack or check is completely sealed from end to end (Picture D).
  5. step picture eTool the surface smooth with a trowel, spatula or wet finger and remove overflow immediately with a damp cloth (Picture E). Don't forget that the masking tape must be removed while the Check Mate 2 is still wet.
  6. Check Mate 2 will dry to the touch in about one hour but complete curing may take several days depending on application thickness, temperature and weather conditions. The color of Check Mate 2 as it comes out of the tube is always lighter than the final cured color. Note: Newly applied Check Mate 2 Clear is white but turns clear when cured.
  7. Clean tools and hands with soap and water

Ok, so you have an idea of which Perma-Chink or Energy Seal sealant you need for your home - and the right color - now what? Depending on the job and type of sealant needed, you have a few decisions to make regarding the tools and accessories you'll need for the project.

chinking applicationStarting Out On The Right Foot

Having the right tools at hand is critical for a good chinking job. The most popular tool for applying Perma-Chink or Energy Seal is the bulk-loading gun. This tool is available in two sizes, the 20-oz. and 30-oz. capacity and operates by pulling sealant straight from the pail.

Simply insert the 2-inch wide cylinder into the pail and fill the gun by pulling back the plunger, which draws the product from the pail into the body of the gun. After wiping the threads clean and screwing on the end cap with plastic cone nozzle, you’re ready to apply the product. To make your job easier, quicker and much cleaner with less product waste, the gun-compatible follow plate can be used (highly recommended). This 9.5” round metal plate has a 1” rubber gasket which allows for the tapered shape of the pails.

To move the sealant into position for proper adhesion and smooth bumps is what we refer to as "tool" or "tooling." The best tool we recommend is a bent trowel that’s about the width of the chink joint. The bent trowel makes it much easier to avoid trowel marks in the sealant as it dries and cures. Along with a trowel, you’ll want to have a plant mister or squirt bottle filled with plain water. Perma-Chink Systems offers a variety of stainless steel trowels ranging from ¾” to 4-inch wide with both rounded and squared off tips in our Tools & Dry-In section.

Backing Material - Why You Need Itwithout backing material

Backing materials are an integral part of a sealant system and should be used wherever possible. The overall performance of any sealant system is dependent on the use of correct application thickness and proper backing. Backing materials furnish an even surface for the application of a sealant and make it easier to apply a uniform thickness across the joint or gap. They also provide two-point adhesion to ensure maximum elasticity and flexibility after the sealant has cured (they form a bond breaker in the center of the sealant band with adhesion to the wood at both sides). The use of improper or poorly installed backing materials can result in unsightly sealant joints and substandard performance. They are an integral part of the sealant system and should always be used whenever and wherever possible.

For small joinery the most used backing is round backer rod. It comes in a range of sizes and is relatively inexpensive. It is flexible and can be pushed into a crevice without needing to be nailed or stapled. In situations where joinery is too narrow to insert some type of backing material, a narrow strip of water resistant masking tape works well. (Avoid masking tape that wrinkles when wet because the wrinkles may show through the sealant after it has cured.) A good option is to use pinstripe tape available at most automotive supply stores. The tape should be water resistant, so Energy Seal does not adhere to it, making it a suitable backer material. Pinstripe tape is available in widths down to 1/8".

There are a number of products specifically designed for use as backing materials for sealants. For smaller gaps, joints and cracks the most commonly used material is round backer rod. It comes in a range of sizes and is relatively inexpensive. Since it is flexible it can be pushed into a crevice without needing to be nailed or stapled. Grip Strip is designed for sealing larger gaps. Similar in composition to backer rod, it is shaped like a trapezoid so it can be squeezed in between round logs although it can be used in a variety of situations.

backer grip

Approved Backing Materials

  • Grip Strip
  • Backer Rod
  • Log Gap Cap
  • Polyisocyanurate board (Polyiso or R Max)
  • Extruded polystyrene (non-foil EPS)
  • Water-resistant masking tape or pinstripe tape

DO NOT USE: Expanded Polystyrene (causes blisters), Polyurethane foam (Pur Fill, Great Stuff, Styrofoam), Blue Board, Pink Board or other colored board that outgases to cause blisters. If you are unsure about your backing material, check with Perma-Chink Systems before using it.

Download "Log Home Sealants Application Guide" PDFpdf small

In July we are celebrating National Log Home Month. During the month of July, log home manufacturers will honor America’s log home heritage by hosting home tours, log raising demonstrations, log home building seminars and more. There are many different sizes and styles of log home construction to suit any homeowner's vision.


Here we present the TOP 15 Log Home Manufacturers, and invite you to visit their websites and see what they have to offer. Each manufacturer is outstanding in quality of craftsmanship, and this is not a ranked list.


1. Satterwhite Log Homes

 Satterwhite Log Homes


2. Rocky Mountain Log Homes

Rocky Mountain Log Homes


3. Honest Abe Log Homes

Honest Abe Log Homes


4. Golden Eagle Log Homes

Golden Eagle Log Homes


5. StoneMill Log Homes

StoneMill Log Homes


6. Hearthstone Homes

Hearthstone Homes


7. Woodhaven Log and Lumber

Woodhaven Log Homes


8. True North Log Homes

True North Log Homes


9. Blue Ridge Log Cabins



10. Sierra Log Homes

Sierra Log Home


11. Katahdin Log Homes



12. Appalachian Log Homes

Appalachian Log Home


13. Fairview Log Homes

Fairview Log Homes


14. Wildwood Log Homes


15. Strongwood Log Homes



tiny house banner

Tiny House Nation Saturday nights at 9/8c on FYI
S4| E15
450 Sq. Ft. Tiny House On The Prairie


Homeowner John has always dreamed of living a pioneer lifestyle and this tiny cabin in the Rocky Mountains is going to be just that for him, girlfriend Hilary, and their five teenagers.

For the first time these two families will merge under one roof and hope to create a space that is focused less on the materials, and more about the time and memories they will share with each other.

Perma-Chink Systems is Proud of Our Own Veterans!

Veterans part of the Perma-Chink Systems Family:

  • Tony Huddleston, Marine Corps, 1964 / PCS Sr. VP of Sales & Operations
  • Rex Graves, Marine Corps, Sergeant, 8 years of service / PCS Production
  • Bill Shabarekh, US Army, Sergeant, 8 years of service (Served in Korea and Vietnam) / PCS Production
  • James (Frog) Mellon, National Guard, Specialist 4th Class, 7 Years of service / PCS Production
  • Max Griffith, Marine Corps, 4 years of service / PCS Washington Warehouse

It’s getting cold and you still haven’t finished sealing your home. So what can you do? Depending on the stage of construction you are in, you have several options available. The most critical part of the application process that is weather dependent is staining or finishing the exterior. This should always be done keeping the weather in mind.

log home winter

Temperature and humidity go a long way in determining how well a product will perform and can also determine the success or failure of the product. Air temperature and substrate temperature are not always the same.

For example, a log wall that is exposed to constant shade will normally have a lower surface temperature than the air around it. Even though the air has warmed up considerably, there may still be ice or moisture on the log surface that will interfere with the finish.

If the wall feels warm to your touch, it’s probably OK to apply your finish as long as there is sufficient time for the product to dry before the temperature drops below freezing. Allow four to six hours of drying time before the finish is exposed to freezing temperatures.

log cabin winter

Products that are “freeze/thaw” stable are formulated to resist damage during freezing temperatures, but it doesn’t mean they can be applied in freezing weather. It also doesn’t mean they can be constantly exposed to temperatures below freezing.

In most circumstances, it is always better to stain prior to applying chinking. It is very difficult to apply a finish without staining existing chinking or sealant. So, if you were able to apply your finish in good weather conditions you can apply the chinking or other sealant in colder weather.

If the home is located in a very cold climate, it may be necessary to “tent” the home and use space heaters to warm up the area prior to the application of the chinking. This serves more than one purpose. First of all, it helps to warm up the surface and drive off excessive moisture from the substrate. Second, it is much more difficult to work in sub-freezing conditions and may make the results less than satisfactory

Care should be exercised anytime you are using space heaters in confined area as they consume life-supporting oxygen in order to achieve combustion. They also emit deadly fumes that can cause serious injury or death.

If you tent the home for work, always allow for fresh air to enter the area in more than one place and break the work up into small time periods so you can leave the tented area for a while.

Perma-Chink and Energy Seal are both freeze/thaw stable, but as the temperature drops the viscosity of the product goes up. Consequently it gets more difficult to apply them as it gets colder. To make the product trowel easier, put a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent in your spray bottle before you start.

As in any temperature, do not apply the chinking compound over dirt, grease, or wood that has water or ice on the surface since this will impede adhesion and lead to early failures. If possible, store the product in a heated area prior to application and only bring out pails that will be immediately used.

Also remember when you apply chinking, water is involved in both the tooling process and clean up, which makes it feel even colder. So, plan extra time for the project and allow time for warm up to make your job easier.

It is possible to work under less than ideal weather conditions if the will exists and the weather is not totally intolerable. Remember, if you use common sense and follow the directions, you’ll never go wrong.

Click here to see what products are freeze/thaw stable.

Is it worth the effort? You bet it is!

hearthstone2 fall mtnFall is a great time of year to do some of those home maintenance chores you’ve been putting off during the hot, summer months.

You want your home to look great and now is the time to get ready for the cold winter months ahead.

First and foremost, give it a good wash-down with Log Wash™ to get rid of the dust and dirt that have accumulated on your logs over the summer. You will be surprised how much better your home will look once it’s clean.

Fall is also a good time to seal up any gaps that may be leaking air into the home. As fuel and electricity costs keep going up this becomes especially important. A few air leaks can cost you many dollars per month in keeping your home warm during the winter. The trick is finding and sealing those air leaks before the really cold weather sets in. Here is a system that’s fairly easy and works well.

Finding Air Leaks

First you need a cool fall day when the outside temperature is at least 20 degrees lower than the temperature within the home. Next, you want a small pail of warm water, a piece of chalk and a perhaps a ladder depending on how high your ceilings are. Dip your hand in the water then run your wet hand over your interior walls keeping it about six inches to a foot away from the surface.

The Hearthstone's Prospective...

extHearthstone chink me nowHearthstone’s career in log home restoration began many moons ago. We've worked with all types of timber, and this includes: 200 year old 'seasoned' material, trees salvaged from the river bottoms and lakes, timbers air dried naturally for two years, freshly cut trees from the Eastern and Western US and Canada, standing dead, laminated logs and now vacuum-kiln material. We've seen them all. All this wood has one thing in common: it still shrinks and it still settles.

If timber can be dried down to 12% consistently, you will see minimal shrinkage thereafter. But shrinkage from moisture only accounts for HALF of the settling.

The other half comes from compression. This is driven by the weight of the roof (with a full snow load). It is helped by the weight of the second (and third) floors. And it is accelerated by the use of throughbolts and compression springs. The harder or denser the wood, the less settling from compression it has. All told, the longer you take to build a home and the later you design and install the finished stair system, the better.. But shrinkage from moisture only accounts for HALF of the settling.

Ken 5 chink me nowChink me now, or seal me later!

In the old days, there was mortar mix and chicken wire to use between the hewn logs. We would painstakingly splice and dovetail these old timbers and make certain it was perfect. During the higher humidity summer months, these joints would swell tight. Come winter when humidity dropped, these same joints opened up ever so slightly.

No More Air Loss or Water Leaks Around Your Windows and Doors

A Step by Step Guide Using Energy Seal™ and Log Gap Caps™

Did you know 90% of water leaks in log homes occur due to improperly sealed window and door openings? Log Gap Cap and Energy Seal provides a flexible - and repairable - seal and is the only method that really works.

Using Energy Seal with Log Gap Caps, a pre-cut foam insert, will keep windows and door openings free of unnecessary leaks and air loss, thereby keeping your home weather tight. Sealing up the home will also save energy usage with air conditioners in hot weather, as well as heaters in the winter.

Follow these four easy steps:

1. Use masking tape around the window or door seam.

logcap 1


2. Insert Log Gap Cap into the crevice using a trowel. Log Gap Cap provides an even surface for sealant application and makes it easier to apply a uniform thickness across the gap.

logcap 1a


logcap 2


3. Apply Energy Seal™ and tool smooth.

logcap 3


logcap 4


4. Remove masking tape as soon as tooling is complete.

logcap 5


Click here to print in pdf pdf small

Chink Paint™ is a high quality, elastomeric latex paint used to refresh or change the color of your chinking. Chink Paint™ is available in all eight standard colors of Perma-Chink® in either a textured or smooth finish, with or without aggregate, respectively. This difference provides the customer choices as to whether or not he or she would like to add additional texture to the appearance to the chink joint.

Chink Paint can be used in several situations. Some types of log homes have cosmetic chink joints that serve no purpose other than giving the home the appearance of a chink style structure. These false chink joints are typically quite shallow and do not allow enough room in the joint for both an approved backer material and a target wet application thickness of chinking at 3/8 inches. It is much easier to paint the joint with Chink Paint (Textured) than it is to apply a thin layer (< 3/8 inches) of Perma-Chink® and be more susceptible to negative performance qualities like tears and blistering.

Carpenter Ants – Life Cycle and Seasonal Activities

Ants are now the number one household pest in the United States, leaving cockroaches well behind. Although there are more than 20 species of ants that are regular pests in buildings, only a few of them establish colonies indoors. Ants foraging for food and water indoors are usually workers from colonies that are located outdoors. Their nests are in the soil around the perimeter of the house or the yard.

The pest status of ants is based primarily on their presence indoors. However, carpenter ants have the added impact of being capable of causing structural damage. These wood-nesting ants are one of the most common household pests, especially in northern regions.

Carpenter ants are distributed worldwide, from tropical jungles to cold, north temperate regions. The common name comes from the habits of a few species that excavate wood to make their nests.

Life Cycle

During the winter, carpenter ant colonies usually contain a small number of larvae and a large number of workers and winged adults (which may be as much as 30 percent of the colony). Mating flights of the adults take place on warm, still days in June and July. After mating, the young queen sheds her wings and establishes a small nest in a cavity of a log or stump.

The colony grows slowly for the first two years, but within five years it may contain 3,000 to 6,000 workers. When a colony reaches this size, it is capable of releasing swarms of winged adults. It will continue to do so until the queen dies. It is the presence of swarming ants or the activity of worker ants indoors in early spring that alert homeowners of a potential infestation.

Seasonal Activity

April and May

In the spring, there is a considerable amount of foraging. The colony has spent the winter with little or no food, and there is a great need to replenish the energy reserves of the workers and adults. Basically, they are hungry and looking for food! Indoor colonies usually begin foraging in kitchens in February and March.

Eggs and larvae are produced in these colonies in January. Ants from outdoor nests are limited by temperature – they are not active until the ground temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Periods of rain in the spring may lead to increased activity indoors.


In northern regions, peak foraging occurs in June. In southern regions, the peak is in July. By this time, there are many aphids on shrubs and trees around houses or commercial buildings. There are larvae in the colony at this time, and the foraging workers can take advantage of the available honeydew.

Increased temperatures in June influence foraging so that carpenter ants are most active in the morning (from sunrise until about noon), then again in the evening from sunset until about midnight.

In late June, temperatures may be high. There is little or no foraging when the ground temperature gets above 88 degrees Fahrenheit.


Foraging continues at high levels during the early part of the month, because the larvae in the colony are growing and need to be fed. High ground temperatures during this month usually limit foraging to early morning.

September and October

There is further decline in foraging activity during this time, as the colony prepares for winter. Most foraging stops when ground temperatures drop below 50oF.

November through March

The colony is relatively inactive. It is composed of workers that have built up their food reserves during the late summer, which they will rely on to get through the winter. Outdoor colonies will become inactivated by cold temperatures, but thanks to built-in antifreeze, the ants can survive low temperatures. Winged ants are usually present in the colony and more will develop in the spring. They are ready for the first opportunity in the spring to leave the colony in a mating swarm - and start the process all over again.


Control the carpenter ant infestation

The best way to control a carpenter ant infestation is to treat the infested area and those areas subject to infestations with a borate such as Shell-Guard and Armor-Guard. Please keep in mind: Shell Guard and Armor Guard are not licensed for direct ground contact use.

Both Armor-Guard and Shell-Guard are effective pesticides for eliminating and preventing carpenter ant infestations.

We recommend using Shell-Guard for treating active infestations because the glycol components aid the penetration of the borate into the wood where the carpenter ants are nesting.

This results in quicker control. Areas that have been treated with Shell-Guard will also be protected against future infestations. Armor-Guard is best used as a dust in wall voids and other areas as preventative measure.

To find out more about borates and borate treatment click here:


Got Carpenter bees? Click here:




ext1smallWe often get asked whether Perma-Chink's Lifeline™ wood stains and finishes can be applied over an existing wood stain. Since the answer to this question is somewhat complex, we'll look at the various types of wood stains individually.

First and foremost, for the best look and performance of a Lifeline finish, it's always best to remove any existing old wood finish unless it already is a Lifeline finish. Even then, the existing Lifeline finish needs to be in pretty good shape before we recommend applying another coat on top of it.

That pretty well covers what should be done. However the question, posed another way, is “can a Lifeline finish be applied over other brands of existing finishes?” If the existing finish is water-based and there are no signs of grayed wood and the color on all of the walls is fairly uniform, the answer is typically yes with some reservations. For example, if the existing water-based log finish contains wax there may be a problem with adhesion or “fish eyes” forming during application. But you have to be careful, not all water-based finishes are created equal. Water/oil emulsion stains claim to be water-based but in fact contain enough oil that adhesion may become an issue.

Meet The Lifeline Family






mold logs
Dark Mold Growth

In general Lifeline should never be applied over film-forming oil stains like Sikkens Cetol Log & Siding, Sashco Transformation, or other alkyd oil-based stains. The same thing applies to the oil/water emulsion finishes. These types of finishes should always be removed before applying Lifeline. But what about penetrating oil stains like WOODguard, Outlast Q8 Log Oil, TWP, Olympic and others? It really depends on the individual situation. Since one-coat oil stains usually don't last more than a couple of years, we rarely encounter a situation where the condition of the surface is good enough to apply one of our Lifeline transparent stains without first removing the remaining stain residue. By the time someone typically decides that the existing finish is in need of repair there is usually enough grayed wood or dark mold growth present to require getting back down to a clean bare wood surface.

A more challenging question is when someone decides that he or she wants to apply Lifeline over a penetrating oil stain less than a couple of years old. The best and safest way to proceed is to remove the existing finish. Attempting to apply Lifeline directly over an oil-based finish is risky and the last thing any of us want is for you to be disappointed with the results.

application and removal step by step guides

So what's the best way to remove an existing oil finish? If at all possible, chemical stripping is the way to go. The components in most chemical finish removers like our S-100™ and StripIt® not only soften the finish but they also help remove any residual oil that may present in the top layer of wood. Media blasting, on the other hand, may remove the alkyd film or the oil-based pigments but does not remove any oils that may have penetrated into the wood. If Lifeline is immediately applied to the blasted surface, there is a chance that the remaining oil residue will come to the surface creating an adhesion problem or blisters in the Lifeline film, especially on sunny walls. After blasting the home to remove the oil finish, a good washing with Log Wash will remove any blasting residue prior to applying the finish of your choice.


Some Rules of Thumb

  1. If you do not know what specific wood finish is on your home, remove it.
  2. If there are black streaks, mold spots or any other discolorations that you do not want to see through the final finish, clean the surface down to bare wood and remove them
  3. If there are signs of grayed wood or if the existing finish has areas that have peeled, clean the surface down to bare wood.
  4. Never apply a Lifeline finish over oil-based, alkyd film forming finishes.

accents pickledwhiteExciting Colors are Irresistible...

Expand Color Choices and Add Value

The exceptional quality of Perma-Chink Systems’ log home maintenance and restoration products has always been vibrant, and the company takes that philosophy quite literally. Lifeline Accents™, from Perma-Chink Systems’ extensive interior/exterior stain product line, boasts a variety of features that everyone from professional applicators to the do-it-yourselfer will find irresistible, and the most obvious is color. Bold hues such as  jade ,  garnet  and  midnight  catch the eye, while more traditional tones, such as  sand ,  umber  and  charcoal , round out the 18-color palette. Each vibrant color is designed to allow the wood’s grain to emerge, so the color complements the wood, rather than covering it. And unlike many other tinted stains, the color endures, meaning fewer touchups over time.

“Our Lifeline Accents high-performance semi-transparent stains are designed utilizing our proprietary technology to highlight and protect both interior and exterior surfaces,” said Rich Dunstan, the founder of Perma-Chink Systems. “The combination of exciting colors and ease of application will expand choices and add value for both homeowners and applicators.”

As a leader and innovator in wood-finishing products, Perma-Chink Systems offers a complete line of specialized sealers, stains, finishes, wood preservatives and cleaners made for the unique needs of log, timber and wood-trimmed homes.


Celebrate NATIONAL LOG HOME MONTH with our Accents!





The most important thing that you can do to help maintain the finish of your log home is to keep it clean. An annual washing with Log Wash will help prevent airborne contaminates, dirt, bird droppings and sunlight from degrading the finish. How can keeping the surface clean prevent sunlight from injuring the finish? One of the features of our Advance clear topcoats is that they reflect UV radiation. If the surface is dirty and dull, it reflects less sunlight and the absorbed UV light will eventually fade the color and gray the wood. So just like car finishes, the cleaner you keep your home the longer the finish will last.

That being said, there will come a time when it may become necessary to do some touch-up work to the topcoat and perhaps the color coat, especially on the south and west walls. The question is, when and where should maintenance coats of finish be applied? The first thing to understand is more is not necessarily better. In other words, if the wall does not need another coat of stain or topcoat, leave it alone. One of the features of Lifeline finishes is their ability to breathe. This allows water vapor to escape from the wood while preventing liquid water from penetrating through the finish. Technically, we call this vapor permeability. If applied at the recommended application rates, one or two coats of stain, depending on the color system chosen from Perma-Chink Systems, and one coats of topcoat maintains enough vapor permeability to allow water that may enter the wood through cracks, checks and fissures to evaporate through the finish. However, each coat of finish that's applied reduces the vapor permeability of the entire finish system by some percentage. The thicker that a coat is applied, the more it will reduce the vapor permeability. That's one reason why we always recommend applying thin coats.

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Project Spotlight

  • 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...

    Project Spotlight