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Log Home Refinishing: What to Know

log home refinishing

Are you looking to refinish your log home? If so, it is important to understand what log home refinishing means. 

Many people confuse it with applying another coat of finish or re-staining. Although refinishing looks similar to re-staining, there is a basic difference between these two. 

Refinishing is the process of removing the existing stain (using media blasting, corn or glass beads) and applying a fresh new coat of stain on the logs. It also means removing old finishes or stains to make a fresh start to restore the home to its original look. 

Re-staining refers to the process of simply cleaning the logs and applying another fresh coat of stain. 

No matter what product you chose, there are a few key steps you should follow to help ensure the best results possible for your log home.

How to Decide If You Need Restaining or Refinishing?

Well, if you notice the stain is faded, worn off, and is not able to resist water any longer, you need re-staining. 

But you need a more serious refinishing process if your stain is peeled off, the color of the stain is grayed or dark, or bare woods have become noticeable in many areas. 

Here is a simple test to find out if your logs need refinishing or re-staining.

Spray water on the logs. If the water beads up and runs off, then your wood is fine. But if the logs soak up water, it needs a new coat of stain. 

How to Prepare Your Log House for Refinishing?

Look for Necessary Repairs:

First of all, you need to address the issues such as water damage or rot; holes or large cracks; and gutter leakages to prevent water damage in the future. 

Clean the Logs:

The next step involves the cleaning of the logs. Remove dust and stains. But avoid using chlorine bleach for cleaning as it might damage the logs. Sanding can be used to remove the existing finish of the logs. 

Prefer a sanding disk over sandpaper to save time and money. It also eliminates the concern of leaving swirl marks in the wood. Make sure to choose a 40-60 grit sanding tool. Do not get it too smooth or the stain will not adhere to the wood fiber properly.

Chemical strippers or finish removers are also used to remove the existing finish. These cleaning products don’t dissolve finishes. Rather, they only soften them enough to let the finish be removed with pressure washing. Avoid using the chemical strippers containing sodium hydroxide or potassium as they impact the chemistry of the wood, causing discolorations. These products can also leach into ground water so it’s best to avoid if possible.

The combination of chemical stripper and pressure washing is the best method for a beginner or a non-professional homeowner but the house will need to dry for 4-6 weeks after this process is used.

Before using any products to remove the old stain, make sure to test it on the existing finish to determine its efficiency. 

Stain and Finish the Logs:

Use a quality stain to finish your logs. Some products come with different finishes for the south and north front of your log home. South-facing walls are more vulnerable to sunlight while north-facing walls are exposed to more moisture and wind. Make sure to read the information carefully to choose the right type of finish for a certain area of your log house. Avoid oil based stains that are plant based (ex. Linseed oil).

Seal the Logs:

Chinking is the broad white band found between the logs. This can be thick or thin as you choose. It seals the gaps between the logs and prevents heat and air loss. Once you apply the sealant, it needs at least 24 hours to dry. 

How to Choose the Right Product to Refinish your Log Home Cabin?

With a range of products being available on the market, it is overwhelming to choose the right one. You can ask your local hardware store to help you pick the right products for refinishing your log home. Make sure to choose the products being designed according to the weather or temperature of your area. Our gold standard advice is to stick with a good quality water based stain as most oil based stains are plant based and will turn black over time.

How Often Does a Log House Needs to be Refinished?

How soon your log house will require refinishing is determined by many factors such as the degree of weather exposure, care during preparation, stain application, and quality of the stain. The south side of your log house is more exposed to sunlight, making it lose its stain quicker than the north-facing wall. It also depends on the type of finish you choose. For example, an oil-based finish can last 2-3 years. A water based finish can last much longer, 3-4 years is an average we see most often.

How Much Does It Cost to Refinish a Log Home?

The price varies based on the size of your project. Make sure to check out the prices or ask for a quote from different log home contractors if you are looking to get it done from professionals.

I hope this was helpful. Browse some of our log home refinishing questions from log home owners like you.

Question 1 | Question 2 | Question 3

See you Soon,

the log doctor

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