I'm new to this group and this is my first post. I have a 22 year old log home. It was a New England Log Home kit. Unfortunately, when it was built, we neglected to clean the interior walls and beams. And we've never sealed or stained the interior. So, now I finally have the time and money to work on it. There are many stains: water marks, dirt from the logs laying out on the property in the middle of a muddy winter, stains from the protective preservative that New England Log Homes originally dipped them in, etc. Please see attached pix. I've tried all kinds of ideas using different cleaning solutions wiht the scotch abrasive pads, but nothing seems to work as well as plain old sanding. I purchased a Rigid random orbital sander and I use the roughest grit paper, 40 grit. It still takes a lot of sweat and muscle power. (Btw, if you want to hear your shoulders scream at you, try holding a sander over your head for a few minutes of sanding!) But, it does get the job done to a reasonable degree. Not perfect, but I can live with it (not surprising since I've lived with dirty logs for 22 years). So, now I have cleaner logs, but blotchy logs. Here are my questions: is there a better approach? Has anyone tried the Permachink sanding system? If blotchy is the best I'm going to get, what combination of sealer and stains will minimize the blotchyness? Will a stain with a pigment even things out or make the inconsistencies more apparent? Thanks for any insights/experience and for taking the time to read and respond.
The failed wood finishes that the manufacturer dipped your beams in look like a nightmare, I pity you. Sanding or stripping with a chemical stripper are probably your best options there. I personally don't have very good results with strippers, but you may want to try it. If we sand, we usually use a 4" grinder with layered sander pads available at most hardwares, and then go over that with a wood buffer or a finer sanding method like an orbital.
If it were just the dirt and water marks, you could probably do pretty good with a hand held shark steamer, a cost of only $100. Unless you remove all the existing stains and finishes before applying new, there is no pigment shy of non transparency, that will completly hide the blotchiness. So removing all blemishes is the key.
The warping beams at the butts are something you may want to address as well. You can drill 2 1" holes through the center of the splice and insert 2 dowels, to keep it from getting worse. For asthetics, I would do it from the top. Somebody might offer a simpler fix for that, but that is all that comes to mind for me at the moment. Best Regards
Thanks for the reply. Just to clarify, the finish on the logs did not fail. No finish has ever been applied. The gunk on the logs is from the preservative that the logs were originally dipped in for protection against wood boring bugs.
Thanks for your ideas and the thoughts regarding the twisting beams. Good idea.
We are in the learning process as well in our 16 year old log home and we have found that an Osborn Brush works pretty well for cleaning up the logs and doesn't ''work you too hard''.
A new way to clean up logs is using DRY ICE BLASTING. you should look into it. It's works very well and leaves a minimal of cleanup. You should check it out on Google or You Tube.
Well that's certainly a very promising idea. Looks like it can do a good job. Does anyone here know anyone who has tried this? Is there any reason to think it's not safe for the wood?
In the next year or two, i need to do the outside of my house (it was cobbed about 8 years ago) and I'd love to not have to do that again.
Greg, I'm curious...you say you'd love to not have to cob blast again. Why is that? You don't want to have to spend the money, or did cob blasting cause some sort of problem? Our company does a good deal of cob blasting, and most people are thrilled with the process. Even on the inside cob blasting would work, but obviously it would create a lot of dust inside the home which would be rather inconvenient. The dry ice blasting mentioned would certainly create much less dust, however it will still generate a certain amount of dust from what is being removed.
The problem for us with cob blasting is the leftover cob that gets lodged deep between logs and the rafters and ends up coming into the house whenever there are strong winds. Even now, 8 years later, we still get small sprinklings of cob on windy days. We did everything we could to get all of the cob cleaned up. We put up plastic everywhere, we vacuumed assiduously. But, you can't get it all. It's the nature of the cob media. If we can get the same results using dry ice, it would make more sense to do so.
As you are living in the home, your choices to get things cleaned up are limited. I think that your best option is Murphy's Oil Soap applied with a nylon scrub brush and then rinsed thoroughly. It will take a lot of elbow grease to get the job done but you can do it. Are there any leaks in the log walls where dirt and water is tracking in? If there is, you need to do some caulking with Energy Seal to stop the flow. Once you have everything cleaned up you need to apply a water based finish such as Lifeline Interior or Woodguard ITF. These products have virtually no odor and will allow any moisture still in the logs to pass out through the finish. For areas with lots of water around such as bathrooms, spa rooms, kithcens and etc. please be sure to topcoat with Acrylic Satin or Gloss. To prevent darkening of the wood it is a good idea to add UV Boost to the first coat of the sealer you are applying.
Murphy's Oil Soap is available in any grocery store. Lifeline Interior, Woodguard ITF, UV Boost and Acrylic Satin and Gloss are available at LogFinish.com
I don't think that your wood looks all that bad. Nothing some cleaning and/or light sanding/buffing won't take care of. I think you should try Log Wash first.
Log Wash is a general purpose low pH cleaner concentrate for removing dirt, grime, pollen and surface mold and mildew from bare wood surfaces and existing finishes. Log Wash will also remove some types of brown stains and lighten the color of bare wood. Log Wash can also remove some light surface stains and water stains that are not too deep.
Log Wash is not effective for removing grayed, oxidized wood fibers. Washing with Log Wash may take care of everything for you as well as open up the pores of the wood to help a stain or finish adhere to it better. If you do need to sand after cleaning I would pick a sanding paper between 60 and 80 grit, anything smoother than that and you will have a tough time getting anything to adhere to the wood. Log Wash is available from Perma-Chink Systems.
Good luck with the project!
-Kevin, PCS Redmond
Greg, on your question for dry ice blast media,
We do quite a bit of blasting, and in the last few years a surge of alternative blast media is being introduced to the log home industry to replace the cob media. The latest are soda, glass and dry ice, and like stain brands, people will have heated opinions on which is the better method. The fact is, all blasting media will remove stains, when removing multiple layers of paint use a more abrasive media while staying with a finer grit. The selling point for dry ice is less clean up. The selling point for glass is that the media that gets stuck between the logs will not collect moisture and grow mildew. But common sense would tell me if you have water or moisture generated between logs you will have issues whether there is glass or cob media present......or no media. The selling point for dry ice is clean up.
If you have blasted your home and never want to do it again, use an exterior stain that will not cause build-up, and is incapable of peeling. I can recommend a few brands, and I don't sell any.
Thanks for all the replies. I will be working on my bathroom next and it has a couple really dirty beams. I'll use them as a test to try the different methods suggested here. So, I'll be back with pix of the results.