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We're getting ready to pressure wash, caulk, and re-treat/stain our log house for the first time. (The first time since we moved into it, anyway -- we moved in last fall, and the house is now a little less than three years old.) There has been some pretty severe checking that we'll need to fill in. A couple of questions about caulking these checks:

1. Since we need to pressure wash the house, should we caulk before pressure washing, to ensure that water doesn't get inside the checks? If not, then how do we keep the water out?

2. Because there seems to be a lot of checking, we're going to have a lot of visible caulk, and I'm concerned about blending the color with the stain on the logs. Should I get a clear or white caulk that will absorb the color of the log oil, or should I get a caulk that will be close to the color of the post-stained logs? (And if I do that, then do I have to worry about it getting even darker when I spray the logs?) Specific product recommendations welcome.

Thanks!

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Oh, I should have said: We're using Outlast Q8 Log Oil Color (01) Natural Base. Thanks!
I'm with Sashco, so know that my recommendations will obviously be biased. I would be more than happy to send you some info via email on our products. Shoot me an email at cbabcock@sashco.com and I'll get some info going your way.

There is no "magic" way to deal with the existing checks. You could caulk them all before the pressure wash, but you'd need to make sure the caulk is completely cured before you do that. Otherwise, the pressure wash could cause it to wash out. However, if you're going to get the best performance out of the caulk, those checks need to be very clean - free of dirt, pollen, loose wood fibers, etc. and the only ways to do that are to either sand them all down or pressure wash as planned. What we hear from contractors in the field is for homeowner to, on the inside of the wall they're pressure washing, put towels down to soak up any water that makes its way to the interior, and also have a person on the inside of the home drying up any water that runs down the walls. (Obviously take the other necessary precautions of removing pictures and other fixtures, as well as covering outlets and whatnot, and make sure no furniture is sitting against the walls, especially if it's a major concern.) Then, after pressure washing is finished, use either towels to soak up the water that's sitting in those checks OR used compressed air to blow it out of there. Yes, it is very laborious but will protect a lot more. Honestly, if you're looking for less labor and chance of water damage, it'd be better to do dry blasting of some kind. Yes, there will be dust created, but it's easier to dust than to try and fix water marks.

As for caulking, Sashco recommend with our products that you stain first, then caulk. As that's the case, you would choose the color caulk that matches most closely to your stain color. No matter whose products you go with, it is usually best to use a system of products together (meaning all made by the same manufacturer). Doing this gives you the assurance that what you're using together are 100% compatible with each other and, should you have issues, you are dealing with one company who knows their products inside and out and will know exactly how to go about fixing whatever is going on quickly. Of course, it is also generally true that using a system of products means fewer chances of any issues cropping up in the first place.

As an aside - caulks do not techically "absorb" stain. The caulk will accept the stain, meaning the stain will sit on the surface, much like a paint would. But caulks are not porous so will therefore not absorb the stain like wood will. Maybe I'm playing semantics here, but I want you to be clear on that. We have had homeowners ask us that question specifically so I figured I'd give you the info up front.

Shoot me an email and I'll get you some info on Sashco products.

Thanks! - - Charis
there is a product called checkmate that is much stronger then caulking and aheres much
better and is design to fill checks in the logs and it comes in different colors to match stain,and
will take a stain.Like Charis said stain first then checkmate.

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