RANDY THE HANDYMAN
What are the basics of log care?
Learn the basics of log care to keep your home looking
new for years.
A:Treatment to protect your logs can begin before construction starts and should continue for the life of the home. Here are the most common techniques. 1 THOROUGH DRYING. Water inside wood can support a host of harmful organisms, so the first step is to reduce the moisture content of the logs. Your log provider may air- dry the wood for up to a year or more, heat the logs in huge kilns (reducing moisture and killing insect larvae) or use a combination of the two methods. 2 BORATE TREATMENT. Some providers also protect the wood from insects and fungi by dipping logs in tanks filled with a borate-based solution or infusing them with a borate preservative through pressure treating. 3 CLEANING. Once the logs arrive at your home site, use a cleaning solution to remove mill glaze, road grime, mud and dirt. These substances can prevent preservatives and finishes from adhering to the wood. 4 WOOD PRESERVATIVES. The next treatment likely will be a wood preservative to repel your logs’ primary enemy: water. Water promotes mold and mildew and attracts fungi and insects — all of which can break down the wood. Normally, apply preservatives to your logs every three to five years. But the maintenance schedule depends on factors such as the climate in the region you’re building and the specific preservative you select. Important: Apply only preservatives specifically formulated for log homes. 5 BIOCIDES. To protect against fungi, mold, mildew and insects, some manufacturers add chemicals called biocides to their preservatives. These agents are safe for humans and animals but kill the organisms that feed on wood. 6 SUNBLOCK. Manufacturers offer sunblock and pigmented preservatives to mitigate the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. 7 FINISH COATINGS. Depending on which product line you use, you may have to spread on a final finish coat after applying the wood preservative or stain. This finish coat will reflect ultraviolet rays and add another layer of water repellency.