Rustic, cozy, welcoming — these are some of the attributes that draw so many folks to log homes. However, as beautifully warm and inviting as the exterior may be, keeping a log cabin in pristine condition often requires a serious commitment to maintenance. After all, woodwork is a fine artistry, and it often needs a little extra TLC to keep it in tip-top shape.
Whether you’re dreaming of living in a log cabin or you’re knee-deep in prepwork and gathering materials, it’s important to have a good grasp of the amount of upkeep that will be required to keep the exterior looking as lovely as you’ve always imagined.
Staining the wood is an important part of routine maintenance that will help keep your cabin looking its finest.
How Often Do You Have to Stain a Log Home?
The good news is that most exterior wood stains are formulated to last at least a calendar year, taking you through all four seasons. If a high-quality base layer is applied, the average log home can get away with a touch-up coat every two or three years. With that said, climate and severe weather challenges can put a varying degree of strain on the home’s exterior, so it’s important to check the exterior for signs of weakness, regularly. In addition, south-facing walls typically face more exposure to the sun, meaning they can be damaged by UV rays at a faster rate than other walls with more shade.
Low-Quality Stain = More Frequent Maintenance
It goes without saying that high-quality stains are generally formulated to last quite a bit longer than generic, low-quality staining products. Sometimes this difference can be seen in the product price tag, but other times it isn’t quite clear. Research the different products that are available to get a better idea of how often the stain will last on your log home, taking wood type and environmental challenges into account.
Is Staining a Lot of Work?
As with any home improvement project, the homeowner’s experience and comfort working with the materials will make a big impact on how easily the project can be achieved. To provide an idea of what’s involved with staining a log cabin, homeowners should be prepared to power wash the exterior and apply several coats of stain, either using a pump-up sprayer or airless sprayer, depending on the product specifications.
Perhaps even more important than technique is a familiarity with the selected stain. It’s quite common for staining products to have different instructions and application methods, so be sure to stick to the stain’s specific guidelines, and try not to bounce back and forth between products. For example, water-based stains feature different properties than oil-based stains, and it’s not recommended to switch back and forth between these two product types without sanding back to the bare wood. In addition, staining should ideally take place in moderate weather, between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, for the best application.
How Long Can I Delay Staining My Log Home?
If you’re like most homeowners, chores that you once tackled with pride can begin to get less appealing as the years go by. When it comes to log homes, re-staining the exterior is one of those maintenance tasks that you shouldn’t put off very long. Stain is often thought of as an aesthetic aid for the home’s exterior, but it actually provides an important layer of protection, too. When the surface of the exterior begins to wear off, structural components of the home can become compromised quickly. Moisture can get in and cause those beautiful wood beams to warp, rot, and mold. Not only is this highly unpleasant, but it can also be structurally dangerous!
In other words, staining is not one of those maintenance tasks that homeowners can expect to put off for too long when it’s needed — that is, without dealing with the consequences. If you’re already dreading the routine maintenance of re-staining a log home, it may be time to consider some alternatives for exterior siding.
Is There a No-Stain Alternative?
Natural wood siding comes with quite the laundry list of maintenance chores, including re-staining every few years. Luckily, there are now exterior siding products that don’t require re-staining. Better yet, choosing one of these exterior alternatives doesn’t mean that you have to give up the beautiful look of natural wood!
For example, going with steel log siding is one way to enjoy the gorgeous look of natural wood grain or log beams without worrying about the long-term maintenance duties associated with natural wood siding. In fact, steel log siding requires no staining or painting, because the steel is durable enough to maintain its appearance over the years without showing signs of damage from the elements, or insects.
If you’re dreading the re-staining process but still want the authentic look of a log cabin, low-maintenance steel siding from Trulog may be the best solution! Contact us today for more information on lower maintenance steel log siding.