Hi all. We are in the process of buying a log home on the mid north coast of Australia. Every builder I ask can I paint it tells me "of course, its only wood". I have learnt from this forum that its def not OK to do this. As log homes are rare in Australia I'm assuming everyone makes the assumption that being made of wood it can be treated the same as a wood cladded home. I would like to know if anyone had any information on the log houses in Scandinavia that are painted black (in a much wetter climate than Aus) and how they manage to not have any problems with wood rot. Apologies if this question has already been addressed. Regards
Hi, Vicki. Hello from the U.S.!
In years past, some folks here from Sashco have gone to look at the homes in Scandanavia. A couple things we observed that helped preserve their homes:
1) Their overhangs were enormous. It was nearly impossible for any moisture - rain or sitting snow - to get on the logs, thus preventing any rot, mold, mildew.
2) They weren't always painted black but actually treated with a creosote-type product (same stuff they use on old railroad ties and power/telephone poles to preserve them), or treated with the traditional Japanese shou-sugi-ban technique, basically charring the surface to preserve it. (This is becoming more popular here in the U.S. - more info here.) So, there wasn't any coating on the surface to trap moisture and cause rot.
If your overhangs are substantial and the wood isn't at risk of getting any moisture on them, painting them probably won't hurt much. If they're exposed at all, you run the risk of hiding developing problems until they're to the point of no return, making log replacement necessary. It means that maintenance checks must be done more frequently.
I hope that helps some. At the end of the day, what should drive your decision is the look you want to get and the amount of maintenance you're able/willing to do. Semi-transparent stains look beautiful and won't hide developing problems, but they'll require more maintenance. Solid stains or paint hide developing problems, but require less maintenance.
Hope that helps a bit. Let me know if you have more questions. Happy to be a resource as you go through this process.
Have a great weekend!
--- Charis w/ Sashco - www.sashco.com/log-home - firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi CharisB! Thank you so much for your reply. That was extremely helpful and has definitely answered my questions. Appreciate you taking the time to respond. Regards Vicki