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We have a 50 year old cabin that has been chinked with cement and it looks like a layer of stucco has been put over this at a later date. We received a quote to remove all the old cement and stucco and then have new chinking put in. It is extremely expensive so we will have to do this ourselves. Do we really need to remove the old cement and stucco or can we chink over them. I have also read that waterproof masking tape works. Is it advisable to use waterproof masking tape under the new chinking? We were also told to insulate the cabin with backer board and insulation between the logs. Is this done on the inside of the cabin or the outside? Is it really necessary? Removing all the old cement is such a huge job! We don't want to do it if we don't have to. Please advise.

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If the old mortar is in good shape (not crumbling and/or falling out), leave it in there and tape over top w/ clear packing tape. You'll need to make sure the new chinking has a good 1/8" sticking to clean wood. If it's crumbling, take it out, insert backer rod, then chink over top.

Insulation will help, but just getting all of those openings chinked will do the biggest part to insulate against cold air in winter/warm air in summer. We'd recommend doing inside and out, but outside is the biggest part.

No matter what, make sure that the wood where the new chinking will be sticking is free of any waxes or silicone (both found in many different stains and "sealers".) Both will interfere with adhesion of the chinking. Post here or email me directly and we can discuss this part further. It's just as important as using the clear packing tape over the existing mortar.

Hope that helps for now, and makes you happy!

--- Charis w/ Sashco - -


Thank you for your answer. It is very helpful. We have already used a grinder to sand the old finishes off the logs so they are down to bare wood again. We have applied new stain appropriate for log homes but not the sealer yet. So I will try putting new chinking over the old and see how it goes. Thanks so much.

A few factors to consider:

- How large are the old mortar chink lines?  Over 2" is difficult to add a new layer of modern chink

- Have you had the old chink tested for asbestos?  You may have an abatement project on your hands.

- What holds the old chinking in place?  Fiberglass insulation, nails, staples, etc.. are all really tuff and time consuming to remove.

- What is the condition of the current stain?

- Have you had the current stain tested for lead?

- Are you planning on doing interior / exterior?

- Have you had thermal imaging done to determine the condition of the current chinking?

Removing the old chinking, disposing of it, and re-chinking is minimal $5 / linear foot restoration work.

Thomas Elliott

Log Home Finishing

Wow! Never thought to have the old chinking and stain tested. That is a good idea. Could be dangerous. I don't see that there is anything holding the chinking in place and in many spots it is cracked and coming away from the logs. The interior chinking looks really good still so I am not going to redo it at this time. The chinking on the outside is very wide about 4-6 inches. We were quoted $21000.00 to redo all the chinking.Too expensive for us. I might add this is a cottage and not our main residence. We do not use it in the winter. Thank you for your answer. You've definitely given us something to think about.

I would go with a more lime based historic daubing / chinking recipe if they are wide like that. 

If there was no reinforcement behind the chinking, this is probably why you are losing sections of material.

Most of the traditional style daubers use metal lath and cover this with a lime based mortar.

Clean out the old crumbling daubing and see what is behind (could be wood splits, stone moss etc). 

You can spray foam the gaps, (can also use foam board, noodles, plumbing pipe snakes etc. if gaps are real big and spray foam seams).

I made my own material from dolomite sand and elastomeric.  So far it is holding very well.

I taped off the logs real good and used a grout bag (like a cake decorating bag) for tighter spots.  My wife would than go back and smooth my joints with a wet paint  brush.

Extremely time consuming and patience is required.  But it can be a very relaxing and rewarding experience of accomplishment.

Some articles;

Interesting restoration article;


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