Photograph of  a modern kit log home with lots of leaks Guide to Sealants, Chinking, Caulks, Coatings for Log Homes
     


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This log home maintenance and repair article explains the basics of log wall chinking, caulks, gaskets, and coatings and sealants for log buildings.

We provide links to log home sealants & coatings, product sources for log homes. Our page top photo shows a Pennsylvania log home that was left to the elements. Ultimately the roof failure, leaks at the chimney, and a bottom course of logs in ground contact were the three areas of failure on this structure. Other, nearly identical cabins in this location along the Susquehanna river were in good condition where basic roof and wall maintenance had been kept up.

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Quick Guide to Log Sealants, Log Chinking Products & Log Home Log Wall Coatings

Traditional log home with concrete chinking (C) Daniel FriedmanA traditional log home constructed of individually-cut rough (and varying-in size and shape) logs is shown in our photo at left. Concrete chinking was used, here painted white, to fill in the irregularities between the mating horizontal logs to stop drafts and water from entering the structure.

Some of the really unfortunate disasters we've seen on log home exteriors were caused by use of a log coating or sealant which was not recommended by the log manufacturer. Use of the wrong sealant can lead to peeling and ugly surfaces that can be very costly to correct.

Here are some Log Home special sealants and caulking or chinking products. But before applying anything to the logs on your home, inside or out, find out what products your log manufacturer recommends.

  • Geocel Caulk or other GETM caulking products specifically designed for log buildings
  • CompribandTM, an impenetrable sealant made by Secoa Corporation, Warminster PA
  • Log Home FoamTM, Norton Sealant Operations, Granville, NY

Sample of Perma Chink log chinking material (C) Daniel Friedman

  • Perma-Chink™, a flexible log chinking material that looks just like concrete, remains flexible, from PermaChink Systems, Knoxville TN 800-548-1231 (Photo at left was taken by the author of a sample provided courtesy of Perma-Chink) permachink.com. Our sample has remained flexible and un-damaged since PermaChink sent it to us more than 20 years ago.
  • LifelineTM Natural Wood Finish (acrylic polymer) is also from Perma-Chink Corp.
  • PR-5636TM, poltyurethane sealant, Products Research & Chemical Corp., Glendale CA
  • Traditional mortar log chinking (we do not recommend this approach as it falls out, leaks, requires frequent repair)
  • Preservative stains, pigmented, penetrating type: we've used these with success on slab log siding on log homes; a good practice for maximum durability and insect resistance of slab log siding is to seal all surfaces of the log siding before it is installed.

Antique log home wall chinking falling out (C) Daniel Friedman

Our photo (left) shows concrete chinking on an antique log home in Pennsylvania along the Susquehanna River. Click to enlarge and you can see the exposed log mating surfaces where chinking has fallen away from between the second and third logs near the corner of this wall.

Also note that the bottom logs were placed on flat stones set right on ground level. Original growth first-cut timber that grew in the United States produced trees that grew slowly and produced wood that was quite durable, resisting rot and insects for decades.

The growth rings in these logs were close together and the wood dense. But even first growth timber eventually rots when left on or close to the ground, exposed to ground moisture and splash-up from roof spillage during rainstorms.

Producers of products for the construction, maintenance, repair or protection of log homes are welcome to submit product data for inclusion; there is no fee; our website has no financial relationship with any of the products or materials discussed here. Contact Us with any suggestions.

This series of articles provides information on the inspection and diagnosis of damage to new and older log homes and includes description of log house and log siding insulation values and alternatives, and also a description of the characteristics of slab-sided log homes as well as all other types of log home construction. We include illustrations of log structures from several very different areas and climates in both the United States and Norway.

 

Continue reading at SHRINKAGE & HEIGHT CHANGES, LOG WALL or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

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