Log Home Maintenance and Inspection Guide

-Are gutters and downspouts installed? If not, install. This is probably the single best investment you can make to help preserve your log home! -Are the gutters and downspouts in good shape and clear of debris? Are the downspouts depositing rain-water far enough away from the home? -Is the landscaping around the home set up…

-Are gutters and downspouts installed? If not, install. This is probably the single best investment you can make to help preserve your log home!

-Are the gutters and downspouts in good shape and clear of debris? Are the downspouts depositing rain-water far enough away from the home?

-Is the landscaping around the home set up properly so water drains away from the home?

-Make sure any sprinkler systems are not set up to spray the logs or railings, etc. of the home.

-Is there proper flashing installed over doors and windows, etc?

-Make sure there are not any splash-up or splash-back issues around the whole home. (Most of these should be eliminated by having or installing gutters and downspouts)!

-Is there good drainage off of decks and porches?

-Make sure window sills are laid for proper drainage of water.

-Make sure any bushes or plants have a minimum of 18 “clearance away from the logs. This will allow access to the home of air circulation and prevent mold and mildew issues from the plants holding moisture against the wood.

-Make sure tree branches are trimmed back well away from the home. They can introduce the same detrimental issues to the logs as bushings and plants that are too close, and also the abrasion of the tree branches rubbing on the finish can wear that off.

-Are the bottom courses of logs a minimum of 24 “off of the ground? If not, you might want to install Impel Rods (borate) in the bottom courses to prevent rot from splash-up and check them every year or so.

-Inspect all of the external logs for cracks (checks) on the upper curvature of the logs.
* Important- Only caulk the cracks that are wide enough and deep enough to get the smallest backer rod into (1/4 “) and still have enough space to add a sufficient amount of caulk material on top of the backer rod! Do not caulk checks that are any smaller than this, as the caulk will fail anyway, and you will just be left with a big mess!

-Inspect all caulking or chinking for any failure, or loss of adhesion or tearing.

-Spray a little water onto the stain to test the water repellency of the stain. If it does not bead up well and much of it is absorbed, it is probably time to start thinking about re-staining.

-Check for any signs of insect infestation.

-Check for any visual signs of rot.

-Check for any signs of mold or mildew.

-Make sure nothing is stacked against or close to the home. Wood piles absolutely should not be stacked anywhere near the log home, especially since these will usually contain insects and other critters that you do not want to introduce to your logs!

-Keep a very close eye on your finish on the exterior of your home. Take pictures when the finish is new, so you can remember what it looked like. Look for any slight signs of graying or discoloration on especially the upper curvature of the logs. This will be where failure typically starts, as the upper curvature of the logs can reach a temperature of 170 degrees and up in the warmer months. This part of the logs is on a more direct angle with the sun and can get UV sunburn quite quickly, especially if the current finish does not have enough UV inhibitors in it. (Most do not). This is the most common area for finish failure to start. As soon as you see these minor changes beginning, plan on getting a re-stain done soon! What you do not want to do is wait too long, because then there will be too much wood cell damage to be able to re-stain over it, as you would then be staining over what constituents unsound wood. If you do that, more that likely your new stain will fail! It is much better and much cheaper to stay on top of the maintenance of your log home.

-Are there any logs protruding beyond the roof-line, such as purlins or support beams? If so, consider cutting these back to behind the roof-line, or installing borate rods to protect them from excessive moisture.

-At least once or twice a year, go over all exterior areas of the home and re-caulk any areas where gaps have opened up, including around windows and doors and in-between log courses.

-Inspect closer any dormer areas on your home. These are a typical problem area on many log homes. Many times the logs on the sides of these areas butt up to the roof. The rain-water runs along the sides of the dormers and is wicked right into the ends of the logs. This is a common area to see dis-coloration very quickly and rot issues not too long after that. The best way to address this is to install flashing along the sides of the dormers.

I hope this inspection and maintenance guide has been helpful, and I look forward to expanding on this guide further and in more detail in a future article, as well as providing you with many more articles that address a multitude of the unique issues relating log homes .