10 Common Log Home Repairs …and How to Avoid Them.
Log home repair is its own brand of carpentry. It requires unique skills and specialized training. Fortunately, many repair jobs can be avoided with routine foresight and maintenance on the part of the homeowner.
There are a few repair situations that we encounter over and over. Most of them would be preventable if the homeowner had known about potential problem areas and taken simple steps to avoid them.
Here are ten log home repair and restoration issues that we encounter often and what someone can do to prevent them. Some of the photos show log repair after the work has been done.
Water splash-back from decks
This occurs when rainwater runs off the roof, bounces off a deck and continually wets the nearby logs. If allowed to continue without treatment, the logs can eventually weaken and decay. This can be a much larger problem if ignored, as the decay can spread into the house sills and even the floor framing. To prevent this, install gutters to redirect the water. Also, recoat any logs close to the deck more frequently to keep them dry and in good condition.
Water splashing back from bulkheads or other appendages
Anything attached to your house or stacked next to your house can cause
splash-back issues. Bulkheads, air conditions, electrical services and trash containers, for example, can all be problematic for nearby logs. Monitor the wall logs above and to the sides of these vulnerable areas. Gutters and periodic log recoating are essential here as well.
Shrubs planted too closely to the house
Shrubs planted to closely to the house will trap moisture and can lead to log decay over a period of years. Shrubs should be planted away or cut back from the house to allow for air circulation. This will help to keep the logs dry and sound.
Water collecting in valleys and running down inside corners
Valleys and roof connections can funnel a steady stream of rainwater onto the log walls, which can eventually lead to log decay. A strong gutter system at the base of the valley is the only answer. Water cannot be allowed to run down log walls as it will wear away the stain and eventually lead to decay.
No roof overhangs expose log corners
Although attractive, log corners are a vulnerable feature of a log homes. Because they project away from the house, corners have greater exposure to the sun and rain. Also, the end grain of the corner tends to absorb and hold water longer than the side surfaces of the log. This problem becomes greater when the roof overhangs do not extend beyond the corners and therefore offers no protection.
Be sure that roof overhangs are built to extend beyond the corners. Also coat the corners as needed to be sure they are repelling and not absorbing water. Here are some of the best stains for log homes that offer log term protections.
Logs built too closely to the ground
When log walls or log sided walls are built too low, ground moisture becomes an issue. Walls should be a minimum of two feet above grade. Splash-back can be a problem here as well. Be sure that logs close to the ground are sound and repelling water. A layer of stone around the perimeter will also help keep lower logs, dry as stone will release rather than hold moisture.
Check cracks are openings in a log face that follow with the grain of the wood. They are most frequent on the sunny side of the house. Check cracks over ¼” should be caulked to prevent water absorption from wetting the core of your wall logs. This area will not dry as quickly, and a wet core can eventually lead to decay. Some of the best log home caulks can be found here.
Dormer siding along the roof line
Wood siding along the edge of a dormer will be exposed to water runoff and water wicking. This can eventually weaken the wood and lead to decay. Siding should be cut at least ¾” off the roof. This will help it stay dry and make it easier to maintain.
Porch posts and porch sills
Although they are protected by a roof, porch posts are still vulnerable because
they wick water from the deck during wet conditions and dry slowly thereafter. Porch sills tend to be closer to the ground and can be damaged by steady exposure to ground moisture. Both areas should be coated frequently for protection.
Neglecting Signs of Wear
Log homeowners should not neglect signs of wear. Log wear does not better with age. Homeowners should give their house a yearly visual inspection to look for anything unusual. Look for dark sports, mildew and fungus on your logs as these are signs that repair may be needed. A quick visual inspection can reveal a lot.
To check the condition of your log stain, hoses down your logs yearly. If the water beads-up, the stain is still repelling water. If the logs appear wet, it may be time for a new coating.
And don't neglect your gutters! Good gutters, pitched correctly, are vital to avoiding log home repair. Gutters need to be clean and working properly. Log damage is most common with poorly installed gutters that do not adequately redirect the water exiting the roof.