In about a week or two I will be going to Tennessee to purchase a 40-year-old log cabin, what type of issues should I expect as normal wear and tear that might need to be repaired?
I'm also referring to issues like pest.
Log Home Inspection
1. Take a hammer and tap on logs learning the sound of good logs. When you find a bad log it will sound hollow or will be soft when you hit it. Suspect areas are the corners logs that stick out past corner, bottom corners of windows or doors, along decks or concrete areas where the rain from the roof above splashes up on the logs. This can also happen where air conditioner units or basement Bilco doors are by log walls.
Mark the bad logs with blue painter tape and measure the length. Make a list with dimensions and take pictures. Send them to Ryan at American Log Restoration at email@example.com with you contact information for a quote to replace them.
2. Look for peeling, faded stain. Also look closely to see if there is any black mold growing under the stain. It can be small tiny black specks to large black areas when it is really bad to. You will want to make sure you find out what brand and color of stain that has been used on the house. This is imperative for maintenance of the finish. You do not want to just put stain on top of another without know the original type since there can be compatibility issues sometimes. Take a picture of all four sides of the house for later reference. Also, take a picture of a bad area of stain and of a good area if there is one.
3. Look closely at the chink/caulk for breaks, cracks or pulls from the logs. All of this will need to be repaired to prevent air, water and bugs from getting into the home.
4. On the interior look for water marks in the corners, around windows and doors and along the tops of the walls were the logs meet the ceilings. If there are stains present it means that there is still leaking or that there was in the past. Removing these marks can be very expensive since the entire wall and sometimes the entire room needs to be sanded to remove and match properly.
5. Look for warping in the floors. Look at the log walls in the daytime to see if you can see any daylight from inside. This is also a sign that the chink/caulk is bad or that there needs to be some.
6. Check all windows and doors to make sure they all open and close properly. If not they will need to be removed and re-installed or replaced.
7. Look at the logs on the exterior and interior for holes that would be a sign that there is bug infestation. Tiny little holes about the size of a pencil lead could mean that there is Powder Post Beetle. Sometimes you will see tiny little piles of powder below the holes meaning that they are in an active stage. The only way to stop these bugs is to completely strip the wood back to bare and apply a borate treatment and then re-stain.
Old house Bores do basically the same damage but the holes can be 1/4"-3/8" in dia.
8. Carpenter Bees are a common problem in log homes also. They are very hard to control since they bore large perfectly round holes in to the logs and nest, but they do not actually eat the wood fiber so the borate treatment has no effect on them. If you see their damage you will need to plan on having an exterminator come every month in the summer while they are active to keep them under control. You will never be able to stop them 100%.
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