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I'm working with a log home company to restain our home, which was built in 2002. The original finish was a sashco cascade and did marginaly ok for durability. I contracted with the same log home company to re-stain it this year and use sascho transformation. They power washed it and then applied multiple coats of transformation... long story short it made it look lousy. Sashco recommends corn cobing the old stuff off before apply transformation, cuz the old stuff will bleed through.

The company came back and agreed to blast the house. The areas that were not coated with transformation were coming off very well, but the coated areas they had to really work it hard and the logs look very weathered now. The other areas with just cascade look great.

Are there other options to remove the newly stained areas without cratering the logs so much? My wife and I are concerned that this process is tearing off multiple years of wear-n-tear!!

Tags: blassting, cob, corn

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Eek! I'm Charis with Sashco. I'm sorry to hear you're having such issues with removing our stain. Long story short: corn cob blasting and power washing won't do a whole lot to remove fresh stain, and unless done carefully, power washing will just gum everything up. The one thing that will do a pretty good job of removing fresh stain and/or power washing damage is blasting with crushed glass or chemical stripping. Blasting with crushed glass is much like cutting with surgical knives. The sharp, cutting edges of the glass are very precise and cut off the fresh stain, leaving the underlying wood in very good shape - no "cratering" that can occur with other types of blasting. Chemical stripping can be done but is much more labor intensive and environmentally unfriendly.

Give me a call at 1-800-767-5656 ext 164. We obviously want to help you get this done right.

-- Charis
Charis,

Thanks for your reply. The freshly stained areas are all gummy and fortunately, the companies abrasive blaster equipment broke down. They aren't due to come back until Monday but had planned on blasting with Corn. I've provided them with your feedback and both of us will reach out to you to discuss. THANKS again.
-- Doug
Doug - FYI - I will be out of the office tomorrow. If you call the 800 # first thing in the morning, I'll have them connect you to my cell phone so we can discuss. Otherwise, you can reach me on Monday.

Thanks again! -- Charis
Apply a chemical stripper (maybe multiple times) to those area's and allow to work. remove it and have it blasted. Using finer cob material takes longer but looks better All the areas that are really pitted need to be sanded to knock the hard grains down and smooth out and harden the soft grain pitted areas. I have a few pics of some blasting pics take a look if you'd like. Hope this helps and there are plenty of enviromentally friendly strippers out there that do work.
Doug,

Unfortunately most contractors and companies recommend media-blasting as the best way to remove old finishes. The truth is it is a terrible way to remove finish as you have witnessed. My company has been restoring log homes for over 20 years and the only way that we remove years of built up finish are by hand-sanding the building. This produces the best results and is less dusty and dirty than media-blasting and is environmentally friendly as opposed to chemical strippers. Please visit our website for some information on my company and the procedures we use to restore log homes. If you have any questions feel free to email me at ldenman3785@gmail.com or call me at (906)202-0595.

Lee Denman
Intensified Wood Restoration
http://www.logcabinrestorationservices.com
Hi Doug, Sorry to hear of your problems. Fresh stain is hard to get off and in our way of thinking
any one who knows anything about it would never had tried to power wash or cornblast first.
We do a process where we use soygel We put it on any type of fresh stains or any type of
oil base stains and it is not a stripper but a dissolver and it pulls the stain out of the wood grains
and then we let it set for overnite and the next day we cornblast it off. It takes no life out of
your logs and looks great for you to borate and stain again. If you would like a information on
it just gives us a call at 866-906-2955. Yes cobblasting is dusty but done the right way is very effective and will not pit or harm the logs. Trouble is there are many out there that don't know what they are doing. Please visit our site at essentialloghomes.com for more info.Good luck, Dolly
I agree I have not witnessed one log home whose logs aren't torn up from corn cob blasting even if you know what you're doing.
I've been to plenty of jobsites and witnessed contractors that were successful at corn cob, walnut, or glass blasting without damaging logs. I've seen many other methods work just as well.

While media blasting should be a last resort for homeowners and people who are not confident or haven't had success with the equipment, there are plenty of contractors that can media blast, do a light buffing where needed and leave your logs looking great.

The trick is to do your homework when hiring a contractor. Make sure that they have media blasted more than twice. Make sure they are insured, licensed and bonded. Check references and make sure they have a portfolio and are willing to give you the phone numbers of some of their past customers.

I guess my point is that yes you will be able to come up with pictures of blasted logs that look terrible. You will also be able to come up with pictures of the opposite if you are willing to research the subject further.

Media blasting is a tool, and in the right hands it can be an effective one. Good luck with your projects.

- Kevin (Perma-Chink Systems)
We have been blasting new softwood timber to make it look old (we call it WeatherAged) for years. It is much easier to control the depth and quality of the finish on a flat timber surface on the ground before installation. Not so much on a round log surface 12 feet high in the air. I imagine the applicators inconsistency and inexperience is adding to the woes expressed here. The spray angle (perpendicular to surface) and distance away from surface (6" or so) makes a big difference.

We've blasted hewn and planed surfaces with sand, walnuts, corn, baking soda (fire repair), glass, etc. At one time corn was a favorite when cheap. Walnut is too big. Sand has to be sized just right (like the three little bears). If you blast inside a home, it is a mess and using a reversed blower door works best.

Strippers are no fun with hewn surfaces. Too many nooks and crannies to reach. The best solution is to do it right the first time and spend the money on surface prep. Go to this picasa site to see some nice finished photography and try to find the stuff we've WeatherAged.

http://picasaweb.google.com/hearthstoneloghomes

Chris
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Chris,
The website you posted is great - great pictures. It seems everytime I advocate on this forum for corn blasting, I get "blasted." I have been doing similar work for years - interior and exterior logs, doors, beams, etc. I really like the term "weatheraged." Is this a product or a term you have coined. Is it open for others (like myself) to use?

I have been trying to educate others that it is not the blasting, rather it is the blaster who determines the finished product. One thing I have not seen mentioned is the use of a fan nozzle when blasting. They certainly are not a cheap accessory to the corn blaster, but worth every dollar.

It appears you have been doing this for a long time, so I have a professional question:
I have been blasting log homes since 1982. I have used sand, corn, walnut and glass. 20/40 corn is my personal choice. There have been only two times that I found a finish I could not remove with corn. The most recent time, we tried soy-based and citrus-based strippers as well as corn and glass blasting and finally had to resort to sanders and mini grinders to remove the finish. The common factor in both these homes was that someone had previously sand blasted the logs (5 to 10 years before). The finish was a simple oil-based meseners UV plus - a product I have never had any trouble removing before. I did notice as we were sanding/grinding, there were fine particles of sand embedded in the logs.

So, do you think the sand blasting could have changed the composition of the finish of the wood that would make in near to impossible to remove the finish?

I am always interested in increasing my knowledge base and expanding the services I can offer my customers.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to give me your input.
-Michael
Hey Michael,

Yeah, the term "WeatherAged" is trademarked.

There is no doubt that blasting opens the pores and creates more surface area for the stain to penetrate (oil base) or stick to (water base). With blasted surfaces, we all have to be careful on applying stain that it doesn't get too dark with two coats. Some colors need cut with a clear, or even use just one coat (although the stain guys would rather see two lighter coats than one darker for durability).

Not all sand is created equal. I couldn't tell you the courseness, but it isn't too fine (Gulf Shores), nor too course (Bay of Fundy), but somewhere in between (French Broad River). This medium size is sharp enough to cut without bouncing off. It wears down the summer growth rings and maintains the winter grain (I think I have this right). With sand or corn, compressed air or power washing is needed to "blow off" residuals left behind on the surface before staining.

One challenge we constantly face is how quick a WeatherAged surface turns with UV. This can be a problem with starting and stopping a job, or replacing timbers. Thankfully most WeatherAged stain colors are Stone Gray or Walnut colored and are forgiving. We did Clear on some (not recommended on exterior) and had some inconsistency. I think the "Log Wash" will help bring it all back to a consistent base before stain, but haven't tried it on a WeatherAged surface yet.

I personally haven't had to strip down a blasted finish and start over. We've pressure washed it down to a clean surface and re-applied the same color stain without issue. The whole notion of taking it down to the bare wood just seems so wasteful unless a color change is warranted. But I am not an applicator and I understand the need to cover one's backside.

We have also used water to get the same WeatherAged look. But the volume required isn't practical and I wouldn't attempt on an existing home with the potential for leaks.

One thing I haven't tried and wondered if it would work to remove the stain is steam. Any comments?

Chris
Kevin,

I see you have read through my companies website. Now I will agree with you that you have seen cabins that looked good from media blasting but you state one reason why they look good and that is because the logs must be sanded afterwards. Now it seems to me that it is a waste of time and money for a homeowner to have their cabin blasted and then sanded when it could have been sanded right away and produce much better results. This is why we hand sand our buildings using an ozzy. Hand sanding takes less time then media blasting (since you need to go over the blasted surface with a sander), its less dusty and dirty, and produces much better results. Also with most modern stains it is unnecessary to use blasting as a means of finish removal since they are easily ozzied off. Now there is a time and place for media blasting and that is when there is a presence of lead based paints or a very thick coat build up of previous stains. Our main concern as log home restoration specialists should be the consumer and we should offer them the best services at the best price without destroying their log home and wasting their time. Also please read some more of your fellow associates blog and forum responses as they all advocate media blasting and chemical stripping and do not mention sanding a building at all. Remember you are a sales associate for Perma Chink Systems and not a log home restoration specialist.


Lee Denman
Intensified Wood Restoration
http://www.logcabinrestorationservices.com
ldenman3785@gmail.com

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