The Log Home Neighborhood

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Hi my name is Lily and have a one floor 1700 sq' log home with front and back overhangs. I chose the local guy who was supposed to be a log professional. $7500 one or two coats of sikkens and extra sanding, prepping and scraping the sun damaged side of the cabin. Now it's a nightmare. When I first saw that he didnt properly remove old before adding first new coat I quickly researched stain removal. I found someone an hour away who could have come and cob blasted last week. That wall looked dirty, even though he pressure wash it. After he stained over it he told me nothing will get it off and told me he would be able to make a darker color to conseal the black marks. I let him. 3-4 coats latter its worst and now the blaster tells me I must wait about 2 years for it to dry. Today I told him I needed to hold back the some of the cost. I guess my question is. Could he have sanded it better to get a better outcome, even a stain removal. I'm besides myself with worry. It's this common with people saying they are log home guys and really have no clue? I'm also replacing a window that leaked from my faulty builder that's why the difference in color is so sharp. Lily

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Hi, Lily. Sorry to hear about your frustrations.

I don't know your contractor and don't know what you agreed to with the work that was done, so can't speak to that a whole lot. What I can tell you about it wood! Those photos show what appears to be sun burned wood, along with stain remnants underneath a semi-transparent stain (which is designed on purpose to allow whatever is underneath to show. We like woodgrain!) Short of media blasting, it can be hard to remove all sun-damaged wood, along with remaining stain. Sanding will sometimes do the trick, but that really depends on the condition of the stain. If it's still hanging on pretty good, blasting is usually what has to happen. (Chemical stripping works, too, but will leave you with an even darker surface much of the time.)

As stated earlier, when I look at your photos, what I'm seeing is sunburned wood that has soaked up the stain. Much like concrete changes colors when it gets wet, so does wood. Those areas that have been more damaged by the sun will soak up the stain and give a darker look. Couple that with the leftover stain showing through, and the results you got are to be expected. In the future, you can mitigate that some through the combination of media blasting, which will effectively remove almost all stain, and a wood cleaner that will brighten the sun damaged wood fibers themselves. But you won't be able to completely get rid of it. Sun damage becomes part of the character of the wood. (Think of the sun damaged wood like wrinkles. :-) We love them.)

The good news is that your home is protected right now. There's no need to worry that the wood is at risk for rot or anything major like that. It's an aesthetic issue that, while not ideal, won't compromise the structural integrity of your home.

You have a couple of options ahead of you:

1) Wait for the Sikkens to dry and weather for a year or two, then re-do that wall again with blasting and a wood cleaner, knowing that it will have some of that darkening effect, no matter what; or

2) Chemically strip the fresh Sikkens and start over now. This will definitely be the more laborious and damaging to the wood, not to mention the most costly.

I hope that helps some. Feel free to email me directly with any other questions. I'm happy to help set your mind at ease as much as I can. ;-)

--- Charis w/ Sashco - -

Your logs look good!  I would say $7500 was a great price for a Sikkens re coat and the outcome looks satisfactory.  It could have been the $50,000.00 job also, but you went for the $7500.00 job.  The $50,000.00 job is still there waiting to be done tomorrow or in 2 years.  Keep us posted with pics.  

As for the contractor, I'd say he was a good contractor as most are.  Don't blame your problems on others, take responsibility, and learn from your mistakes.  To succeed in design you must be willing to accept failure.

Thomas Elliott

Log Home Finishing

Youre wrong. I can tell your opinion is not from professional. Had several log home professionals look at this house who do this all the time since posting here. Also owned 2 others so I know my prices. Or just a guy who does bad work yourself and always blame the client! You haven't read my contract or know what area I live yes, I held $$ back from this job and getting it redone in 2 years. I also had 3 estimates from 4K and I pay for materials to this guy who lied about having a license to do this and the highest price. I learned a big lesson and was glad I didn't pay him up front.

OK, now this is starting to make sense.  You don't pay your contractors.  What else?

Lol! Well you sound like a very angry contractor who must deal with this all the time maybe because of shoddy work! If you can't see this problem you are not a professional. He DIDNT do what the contract said and he got $$. Just not for the wall that needs to be done! No need to reply please go back to bed your wasting our time!
Lily, they don't have a like button here. But I love your reply.
Hello Lily
I'm sorry to hear of your experience. It appears that your contractor failed to remove the old stain and uv damaged wood. Yes unfortunately there is contractors that do not have enough experience.
20 years building and 10 years restoring here. Message me if you have any questions.
Bill Ristau
Update: thank you for the positive replies. Contractor came back and admit no license to do log homes. Just a local rural painter, doesn't make that a bad thing. He admit he screwed up and looks bad, and I will wait for this wall to dry up and get the restoration done. Paid him both happy.

So glad to hear that you were able to work things out, Lily. Feel free to have your contractor give us a call if he wants some more advice. We actually have a contractor training seminar called Zero Failures that teaches through the science of log and wood, as well as how to finish log and wood homes. If he's wanting to get into the log and wood home finishing business more, this will help give him a good foundation for the future (as well as the knowledge he needs to make things right on your home).

Have a great day!

--- Charis w/ Sashco - - 

Thank you for your response. He wants nothing to do with log home ever again. I explained how it could benefit him since the only restorer is 1 hr away. He's a house painter and probably a great one. Lily


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