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What is best stain for exterior of log home?

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I'm a little late but if I can help someone make a good choice from here on out than I'm happy! First, I want you to know how I have drawn opinion: I've stained log homes in various regions of the U.S., from Maine, Michigan, and Minnesota to New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah. Obviously different weather and elevation factors. I have used various products...$15 to $90 a gallon. Big name stains to the not so big named stains. The key to staining is multiple coats and doing it right. At lower elevations, stains with a price tag of $45 or more per gallon tend to hold up very well. At higher elevations, with the bright sun in the sky, it tends to be more tricky! A "thin" penetrating stain will soak in, great for preventing wood rot, however the down side is that the stain has little "top layer" protection, so they tend to discolor fast, and if that's the look your going be it....but that also means that as the "top layer" burns off so does the protection for the top layer of log. Basically your log will start shedding itself inwards. This means more time and money invested into your log home in the long run. These stains are generally 2 applications. The key to the "best" stain preformance is a "top layer" stain with multiple coats. Flat out...the more the better. A "top layer" stain will seal the logs and with the multiple coats, protect itself from the sun. No burn off of the "top layers" will give the result of better color and protection...long term. Your inital cost is more, ie more product and more time to apply but your cost savings long term are well worth it. What about water based and oil based product you may ask? I will say this because this is a great topic to argue about and even maybe fist fight over with some friends who disagree, your high dollar, extremely well preforming oil based products......simply put, act like water based products, they don't penetrate like an oil product in theory should, they sit on top of the surface...just like a water based product does. Period. Between the descriptions of types of stains, you hopefully understand the preformance differences. My preference when working on a log home is Permachink's Lifeline Ultra 2, 2 coats with at the very least 1 coat of the clear coat Lifeline Advance. Initally, as a professional in the business, I make more money but since the product lasts much longer, I don't get to return to restain for a longer period of time, creating a longer staining cycle, which is better for you, the homeowner. I have nothing to gain by stating my stain preference...except more business when people choose the inital cheaper cost! I'd be happy to help with any questions,, remember do it right the first time, and with any product...backbrush,backbrush,backbrush..............and then again! There is such a thing as tooooooo much backbrushing, its called a good job! Be safe!

Can the stain be done with a brush or is it ok to spray and then brush in???  What about the second story that is logsiding?  Does it need treated the same way?  Where are you located??? I am in western NC.  I may be looking for someone to do this job.


My log home was originally stained and sealed two years ago.  I am starting to think about redoing it probably next year.  Besides restaining, does it need any other treatments beforehand??  What about for the porch and deck...Just pressure clean and reseal?  Do logs on house need pressure cleaned also before resealing/staining?


Can you please email me your guide?

We have a mess on our hands due to a contractor overstating his abilities.  Our white pine log home has been stripped but not well, so there are some streaks.  The contractor is dodging our calls and won't come back.  We are trying to find someone to finish the job.  The only person we have found so far wants $16,000 to strip the logs again and do 2 coats of stain.  This seems awfully high.  The home is only 2100 square feet.  What is the price range for this type of work?  I don't really have a clue - I'm sure there are a lot of variables but this just seems exorbitant.  We are leaning towards Weatherseal stain.  The home is located in Western New York. 

Connie - I emailed you an educational booklet called "Keeping the Dream Alive", along with some contractor names.  Let me know if you got it.


Thanks!  -- Charis w/ Sashco - -


I did get them.  I'll print the booklet out tomorrow and give the contractors a call.  Thanks for your help!

Without seeing photos of the house and knowing where it is I can't tell you if it is fair or not. We restore log homes. We have done some for less than that, and some for substantially more than that. It depends on the house and what it needs. If the house is being stripped, you should also see line items on the quote for borate application, log buffing, any caulking that may need to be done or chinking repair or the like, and which product they are installing. Some are better than others. Check licensing, check insurance, check the BBB rating.


Beth Borrego

Vice President

See Dirt Run Inc. Log Home Care

After reading this entire thread, I think I am going to go with an oil based stain. Either the one Terry used (TWP 100), or the WeatherSeal product.

The reasons for my choice are as follows:

I am a "do-it-yourself" kind of guy. With a water based stain/top coat, I feel there is a greater chance I could screw it up.

I'm concerned with flaking/peeling of the clear coat. My current house stain peeled and it really was a PITA to re-stain it. What a crappy job!

While there appears to be a lot of advances with the two step process, I still believe, particularly after reading this thread (Awesome thread, BTW), that oil is a better preservative than water. The folks who promote these new "green" coatings do not have the history of oil stains.

I've also heard once you go with a 2 step (water based) stain, you can't (at least affordably) switch to oil, while oil to water based is fine.

It seems, based on my research, builders use the two step process because it is easier and more profitable. I question whether they would go this same route if it were their own home?

FWIW, my home is a northern white pine new log home in the White Mountains of NH (1000' elevation).


Edit, Weatherseal site shows the results of testing a few stains. Their Weatherseal appeared to hold up much better than all the lesser known brands (with the exception of "Structures Nature One" which appeared to hold up extremely well), and at least as good or better than the more popular brands.

Anyone have an info or experience on Natures One?

Would you send me a copy if your "How to do " sheet?
Thanks Jim Email


I would highly recommend taking a look at Weatherall's stain line which includes UV Guard, UV Guard II and SuSTAIN.  Finally, I would recommend taking a look at their Competitive Stain Test brochure, the results might surprise you. 

Anyways, good luck and let us know if we can provide any further assistance or free product samples.  Please contact me at with any other questions.


“Quality Products at Great Prices”

Here is a video of our company using the Lovitt's brand of products for a clear cedar home restoration.

Our company is entering our 18th year of log home and cedar home restoration and we have been using the Lovitt's products exclusively.  We have restored and maintain hundreds of log homes yearly.

Our only mission is to provide our customers' with the highest quality product, offer a maintenance program that is reasonable, and be able to maintain a coating over a 10-12 year life span before a complete restoration is required again.

Lovitt's stains are the only option for us, we have tried using many other stains, film-formers (maintenance is super expensive), and everything in between.  Lovitt's stains penetrate, last a long time even in high elevations and waterfront locations, and are really easy to maintain over time.

Every log home owner should investigate the Lovitt's product offerings before making their final choice on a log home stain.  That initial choice, will either set the tone for a great experience or send you on the path to future nightmares. 

Bottom line, do your research....

MM Wood Restoration Projects   to view projects completed by MM using Lovitt's products, chances are there is a project that is similar to yours, take a look :)

Ray, I will add my "two cents" worth of first-hand experience and research over the past 25 years. When we had our log home built in 2007, we had a choice between Eoodguard and Sashco's Transformation stains. We were told that an independent study had been done and that the Transformation stain came out the best, despite the fact that the company had been using Woodguard for over 30 years. Natirally, we selected the Transformation stain. Once we saw teh finished product, it took awhile to get used to Transformation's glossy finish, but it looked nice and would hopefully last many years. 2 years later, it became dull in spots and we had to have the whole house restained. We had to do the same at year #4 also. Now at year #6, the Transformation stain not only needs to be done again, but it also has gotten mildew/mold on it, especially on the eaves. Talking to thers in the Northeats who have Transformation on their homes, we are learning that mold/mildew love it! Well, next year we are considering having the Transformation stain completely removed and applying CTA's Outlast Q8 Oil, which is very similar to the Woodguard product. So, from my research and experience, I would NOT recommend Transformation stain to anyone because it does not hold up under our weather conditions here and it also seems to be supportive of mold/mildew growth. Users of Woodguard and Q8 Oil report to me that it has lasted upward of 5-7 years on their homes here between applications! That sure beats restaining every 2 years!!


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