Perma-Chink Systems® recently added another beautiful wood finish option for our customers - 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.

Log Home Exterior Stain Tips and Hot Weather

What does hot weather mean for exterior log home stain application?

August is upon us and with it comes the dreaded heat. Many places in the United States and around the world will see record high temperatures this season. For our applicators, contractors and homeowners, this time of year presents considerable challenges when applying Perma-Chink Products.    

Keep a sharp eye on the weather and look for opportunities where the conditions are favorable for application of our products. All Perma-Chink stains and sealants are waterborne products. If our products are applied when it is too hot - or even worse, on very hot surfaces - the outcome will often not be favorable. Keep in mind that the outside air temperature and surface temperature are two totally different things. For example, depending on the type of surface, it can be up to 50% higher in temperature than the surrounding air. Our application temperature recommendations are based on surface temperature and not air temperature. For best results we recommend a surface temperature between 40 – 90 ֯F for application of our products.

By Jared Turner

We often get asked this very question. To help answer this we must look to our experience both past and present. For 40 years now Perma-Chink Systems® has been working to develop products that meet both the demands of Nature and our Customers. The result of this experience has been a wide range of products that help solve specific needs. Our wood finishes can be split into four main categories: exterior film forming, exterior penetrating, interior film forming and specialty. Let us take a closer look at these products and discover what makes each one unique.

Designing a Fortress of Protection for Your Log Home


When I was growing up, I was fascinated with forts. I would often get together with friends from the neighborhood, and we would combine our resources and construct some rather elaborate fortresses. To test our handywork we would end our session with a great battle to decide whose fort was superior. Fast forward nearly forty years and I am still helping design forts! At Perma-Chink Systems the forts we are building are designed to protect your home against the forces of nature such as sunlight, wind, rain, dust, insects and microorganisms. Let us take a closer look at what our fort looks like.

Why do my choices regarding surface prep, stain, and color matter?

When it comes to choosing a finish system for your log home exterior there are many factors to consider and depending on what choices you make it will have a significant impact on the longevity of the finish system. For example, some of these choices include surface preparation, type of stain, and color choice. Let us take a closer look at each one of these factors and discover how they each contribute to a systems performance.

With so many different choices on the market for wood restoration and cleaning products, it can be confusing trying to decide just what to use. Unfortunately, when it comes to cleaning or restoring wood, there is no “one size fits all” approach. Each unique situation has a chemical solution that best solves that problem. Perma-Chink Systems understands these challenges and we have developed specific products to address each situation.

Applying and tooling Perma-Chink or Energy Seal sealant you need the right tools to make the job easier and quicker. 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 20oz. and 30oz. capacity and operates by pulling sealant straight from the pail.

Stains & Finishes

Download the full Application Guide for Stains & Finishes here


Download the full Application Guide for Sealants here.

Application Temperatures for Perma-Chink System products

Caulks and specialty log home sealants are used to keep air, water and insects from getting into your home.

The most important decision you will make is choosing the right sealant for your log or timber home.

Many sealing problems are attributed to the caulking material itself, and most often the proper sealant was not used for the job.

Basically, there are six types of caulks: butyl, oil-based, ethylene vinyl acetate, urethane, silicone and acrylic/latex. All are designed to do a specific job, and none are suitable for every application.

The most frequent mistake made by log home owners is choosing a silicone caulk. Silicone-based caulks are excellent for many applications, but they do not work well on wood. Silicones are formulated for use on non-porous surfaces like metal, plastic or glass. However, wood is porous, and silicones do not adhere to either damp or dry wood. In addition, silicone caulk is difficult to tool and clean up and does not accept a stain or paint.

Presently, the most widely used sealants are acrylic/latex sealants. Although they are suitable for a wide variety of applications, their quality depends on the specific formulation and manufacturer.

log home sealants

Premium acrylic/latex sealants such as Perma-Chink, Energy Seal, Check Mate2 and Woodsman are manufactured from high quality components to perform specific tasks. They are more expensive than a tube of general-purpose caulk, but they are formulated for excellent appearance, high performance and ease of application. These materials are made to be long-lasting in specific uses on your log home.

Apply New Sealant Over Old Caulking? – NO!

An application of new sealant over old, failed caulk is rarely a good idea, even if it looks like the caulk is still adhered to the wood. It may take a little more time, but old caulk should be removed for several reasons. If caulk no longer adheres to wood, it may be because moisture got under the caulk creating decay. Old caulk must be removed to properly treat and seal the wood substrate.

Newly applied sealant can only work if it is applied to a clean, sound wood surface or a compatible stain. So, if you want to use the old caulking as a backing material, you can apply new sealant over the surfaces to adhere to clean wood surface beyond where the old caulking reached. Otherwise, you should remove the old stuff.

Removing Old Caulk Between Logs

The right tools can make the removal process easy. Remember the old church key used to punch a hole into soda or beer cans? It is a handy tool to scrape out old caulk. Hook knives also work well. If old caulk is a silicone-based caulk, you can usually remove it with your fingers. Always inspect failed caulk areas for evidence of moisture. If the wood is damp, these areas should be properly treated before a new sealant is applied.

Sooner or Later? When is the Best Time to Seal Your Log Home?

If you are doing other work, a decision to make early in the process is when to apply your sealants. This decision might have some bearing on which sealant to use. One consideration is that some sealants take a stain much better than others.

Smooth-surfaced caulks like Check Mate 2 do not stain as well as a textured sealant like Energy Seal. If you are planning to apply sealants to your log walls first and then stain afterward, Energy Seal is your best choice.

Usually, the best time to seal logs is after Lifeline stain has been applied. The log surfaces are fresh and clean and whichever Perma-Chink Systems sealant you select will adhere to wood surfaces stained with Lifeline. If you are going to use a topcoat like Lifeline Advance for exteriors or Lifeline Acrylic for interiors, we suggest that the topcoat be applied after the Energy Seal. This gives the most even appearance over the entire wall. However, if you want to really hide the sealant and want a seamless appearance, apply Energy Seal before you stain.

log home wall chinking

Now let us look at various caulking applications around a log home and select the right product for each job.

Sealing Door and Window Frames

When sealing around window and door frames you have several options.

For either new or older log homes we recommend Energy Seal since it has outstanding elongation and adhesion. This means that as your home settles and shifts, Energy Seal stretches to maintain its bond to the wood. It is available in 12 different colors and since it is textured, it will take the color of the stain.

On chink-style homes many people want the sealant to match their chinking. If that is the case, Perma-Chink can be used to caulk around window and door frames, too.

Checks and Small Gaps in Logs, Log Corners and Log Ends

Upward facing cracks and checks in logs should be filled with Check Mate 2.

Otherwise they collect water that can lead to decay and insect damage. You need not worry about checks on the bottom half of round logs unless they penetrate all the way through the log wall. Choose a color that is closest to the color of the stained logs. If checks are more than ¼ inch wide, stuff a length of backer rod into the check to about 1/4 to 3/8 inch below the surface before filling it with Check Mate 2. The Check-Kit has both backer rod and convenient applicator tubes. For more instructions how to seal checks in logs and log siding click here

Sealant and Caulk Application

One of the most common mistakes made when sealing logs is to completely fill deep gaps or checks with the sealant material. Quality sealants are made to stretch and elongate with the movement of the joinery. When a sealant is applied too thickly, it loses its ability to stretch and may separate from the wood.

A good rule of thumb is that the thickness of the caulk should be approximately 1/2 the width of the gap you are trying to fill. However, sealant joints never need to be more than 3/8 inches thick. So, how do you fill a large gap?

If you are trying to fill a void behind a window frame for example, Log Gap Cap foam is the product to use. You can also put backer rod into gaps. See step-by-step instructions here.

The space left after installation of the backing material is called the caulking well. This caulking well should be approximately 1/4 to 3/8 inch in depth, regardless of the width. This space is what you will fill with sealant. Some sealant applications have geometries that do not allow for these “textbook”conditions. But, whenever possible, adhere to these specifications for the highest performance seal.

For filling in large voids or gaps, urethane foams are an excellent choice. However, many foam systems have a high expansion ratio which forces foam out of the void you are filling. It is difficult to remove. If you are unsure about your backing material, check with Perma-Chink Systems before using it.

Tips On Applying Perma-Chink and Energy Seal

Some people think that Perma-Chink and Energy Seal is just like any other caulking product on the market, so they apply and finish it with the same methods. Typically, with silicone caulking can be smoothed just by running a damp finger along the bead of caulking. Using that method with Perma-Chink or Energy Seal will net you disasterous results. To get a smooth, clean finish, spray the sealant liberally with water then tool it with a metal spatula or similar. It's counter-intuitive to apply water to smooth it, but it's the best way. Unlike smooth caulking, the texture in Perma-Chink and Energy Seal need more water to maintain a smooth finish. And it'll be much, much easier.


Remember, hot air that gets into your home in the summer and cold air in the winter increases your energy bills.

Water penetration can cause decay and insect nesting. One of the best ways to keep insects out of your log walls is to eliminate the openings where they get in. Properly selected and applied sealants are among your best materials for protecting your home. Use the right sealant for the job for years of protection and comfort.

Call 1-800-548-3554 to request a copy of "LogHome Sealant Application Guide" for more detailed information, or click here.

PRELUDE is a clear wood sealer and primer for surfaces that have been media blasted. PRELUDE is enhanced with UV Boost for maximum protection against graying due to ultraviolet light exposure.

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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...

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