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Log Home Restoration - Is Your Log Home Two Years Old But Looks More Like Ten?

Thu 29 Oct 2009 - 15:26

Log Home Restoration - Is Your Log Home Two Years Old But Looks More Like Ten?
By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Earl_D._Johnson]Earl D. Johnson

I was called to look at a log home recently and to give the homeowner a price for washing and re-coating their log home. That sounds simple enough, but I have found in log home restoration, it usually is never that simple. This was no exception.

When I arrived at the log home, I was met by the homeowner and they proceeded to tell me. "The last time I had a guy just "power wash" the house and the next day he applied the stain." "One year later and it already looks like it needs another coat."

Upon inspection, it was obvious what the "problems" were. After looking at so many log homes through the years, it is not uncommon to see a pattern of the same sets of problems.

As I inquired about the history of the home, I found out that a water based sealer had been applied shortly after the home was constructed. I would like to mention that the same problems occur with oil stains as well. This one just happened to be latex. This coating was a multiple coat system, two base coats and two top coats. On this home for some reason, only one base, or color coat was applied followed by one topcoat or clear coat.

On many newly constructed ("manufactured" or "milled") log homes, the logs have a thin layer of "Mill Glaze" that is created during the milling process. It forms a film on the logs (and any lumber that has been through the milling process) and, if not removed, it can prohibit penetration of any type of coating.

So what I found was first, the color coat was applied before the logs were aged enough to be free of any mill glaze. Second, being new logs, the grain was very tight making it hard for the logs to absorb stain properly and more likely than not it was wet, meaning the wood had a high moisture content. Compound this with the fact that only one half of the coating system was applied. Remember, it only had two of four coats of sealer applied.

Moreover, the last contractor used an oil based stripper (sodium hydroxide) to try to remove the water based stain. Needless to say, that did very little removing a latex finish. It did however remove some of the loose, less intact stain and penetrated into the wood where the stain had completely been worn away. Then after attempting to rinse the stripper from the wood, the new stain (color coat) was applied.

Sodium Hydroxide is the main ingredient used in oven cleaner and also used in dish washing liquid. It is used in both of these products as a degreaser. Used as a degreaser, sodium hydroxide breaks down oil based stains used on log homes. An excellent stripping agent, sodium hydroxide is very hard if not impossible to rinse out of the wood so it must be neutralized so as not to react with any coating, oil or latex.

So if your log home is a couple of years old or less and the finish is showing signs of fading, peeling, blistering or worst of all, turning black, then most likely the problem is excessive moisture, mill glaze, mold and mildew or all of these.

Proper log preparation is the most important step in log home restoration. It is imperative that the wood is clean, dry and free of any mill glaze, mildew, moisture and other coatings. Any one of these can cause premature failure of any kind of finish, but in particular, penetrating oil stains.

In this situation, the homeowner should have waited at least a couple of months and then thourghly cleaned the logs before sealing or, at the very least, if unable to wait , clean the home with a chlorine/TSP solution. This would remove the mill glaze, construction dirt and any mildew. It is however, better to wait. This allows the wood more time to dry naturally and opens the pores of the wood allowing for better penetration of the sealer. The more sealer absorbed into the logs, the better the performance.

Log home restoration has its challenges. Wood and logs, in particular, can present some unique problems. Log movement, shrinkage, mill glaze, moisture issues, sealer application and the list goes on. Some problems can be solved using scientific techniques. Some can be solved through trail and error, or years of experience. Most however, require good ole common sense.

Earl D. Johnson is the owner of Taskmasters Wood Maintenance. Living in a log home that my wife and I renovated and built two addition rooms allowed us to deal with every aspect of log home maintenance. Our business is log and cedar home, deck and dock restoration. We enjoy sharing our knowledge to help educate the homeowner on proper maintenance techiques so they will have the ability to make informed decisions when planning for their home maintenance and restoration. Be sure to visit our website @ http://www.taskmasters3.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Earl_D._Johnson http://EzineArticles.com/?Log-Home-Restoration---Is-Your-Log-Home-Two-Years-Old-But-Looks-More-Like-Ten?&id=3165723

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