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Wood in use is exposed to the elements and must be protected from their harsh effects. Log homes have come a long way from the days not so long ago when sales people touted them as no-maintenance dwellings– and some people actually believed them! Your log home represents a huge investment. It’s well worth the the relative small cost required to keep it looking its best and protected.

In the long term. proper maintenance is just as important as the initial application of stain, maybe even more. Whats the good news?  proper maintenance doesn’t have to be a ton of work. Here are four steps to good maintenance.

(1) Start with clean logs.  The performance of your stain depends on the condition of the logs and before your first coat and certainly before every re-coating. Proper cleaning of the logs to remove the dirt and grime that has accumulated over time, as well as the deterioration of  the original stain is essential. Can you imagine waxing your car without washing it  before applying a new coat of wax? If you apply a coat of stain over the dirt, you have now sealed it in. The new stain will only adhere as good as the surface to what it is applied.

(2) Apply liberally. When it comes to getting the best performance from your stain, the less-is-more philosophy doesn’t apply. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not applying enough. This starves the wood, especially on the homes sunny exposures. You have to get as much stain as you can on the logs with a sprayer, until it just starts to run or drip.

Using a brush can also be an effective method to apply the stain, as long as you put it on the logs to the point of maximum absorption. Back brushing is also important during spraying to smooth out any runs or drips.

(3) Protect the stain. Adding a clear top coat to a tinted stain will help keep the color looking its best, but remember, clear by itself offers little or no UV protection. The UV blockers and absorbers take the wear instead of the wood. Its like sunscreen for your wood and needs to be reapplied as needed. If your wood has good color after your cleaning, then may be a good option to apply a clear coat only for protection. this will renew the color and prevent additional  darkening.

(4) Keep your eye on the logs. The more often you inspect your logs, the more likely you are to spot the places where a little care may be needed. If a minor problem arises and you ignore it, then it’s going to get worse.