Every summer we receive calls about small flying insects making holes in the exterior surfaces of logs. They are usually described as tiny flies, bees or flying ants, but in fact these insects are small parasitic wasps that are about the size of a fruit fly or large gnat. There are literally hundreds of parasitic wasp species and some of them specialize in parasitizing beetle larvae including wood boring beetles. They can be seen going in and out of existing beetle emergence holes looking for live beetle larvae to lay their eggs on.
For many years oxalic acid has been one of the most commonly used products for brightening and preparing wood surfaces for a coat of stain. Why? Prior to the introduction of organic solvent finish removers in the late 1990s, the most popular paint and stain removal products were caustic chemical strippers which contain sodium or potassium hydroxide. They are still sold at most paint stores, and although quite caustic and somewhat hazardous, they have been used for over 100 years and are relatively inexpensive.
While we call our pigmented finishes “stains,” in reality they behave more like water-based paints than traditional oil-based stains. The word stain itself implies that the wood fibers become “stained” with the pigments contained in the product, whereas water-based finishes form a film that covers the wood fibers without actually coloring or “staining” them.
Mold and mildew are terms that are used interchangeably since they refer to the same living micro-organisms. For simplicity we’ll refer to them as molds. Molds encompass a wide range of fungal species that can live on the surface most materials, including wood. They require air, water, and food. Their color is usually white or black, but can be just about any color. If the growth is green, it’s probably a plant-like organism called algae.
Following are some comparison points of Lifeline™ finish systems to typical oil-based products.
Most oil-based finishes contain some type of organic solvents that evaporate into the air when they dry. These components are known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). When VOCs are in the vapor state and interact with NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) in the presence of ultraviolet (UV) light, ground level ozone or smog, a health hazard to humans, forms.
Osborn Brushes are excellent tools to help prepare a surface before the first coat of finish is applied. They consist of nylon bristles impregnated with particles of silicon carbide which act as an abrasive. Osborn brushes are surface conditioning brushes, not sanding brushes. So what is the difference? Sandpaper and sanding disks are designed to remove the top layer of wood, whereas Osborn Brushes are designed to smooth the surface of the wood without removing the entire top layer.
Log End Seal™ is a product unique to Perma-Chink Systems. Although Log End Seal is a fairly simple and easy product to use, there are some tips that can help you avoid problems especially in the fall when cooler temperatures slow down the curing process.
The most important thing about applying Log End Seal is that it needs to go on in one (1) thin coat. In order to attain a thin coat, the log ends need to be sanded (60 grit) fairly smooth and stained with Lifeline™ stain. If they are not smooth, the rough surface texture will prevent a thin coat application and the thicker the film, the longer it will take to cure.
The most important thing that you can do to help maintain the finish of your log or timber 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 Lifeline Advance clear topcoats is that they reflect UV radiation.