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Hi all:

I am new to this forum and new to log home ownership.  My wife and I purchased a log home earlier this year in upstate New York and we have been impressed with the advice and professionalism found on this forum.  We also have a number of different things we are working through on the home, but one of the most pressing is what to do with the exterior of the home.  I was hoping a few of you on this forum could offer suggestions/advice.

The home was built in 1985 and was done through Amerlink is my understanding.  The logs are frostline double round red cedar.  I really don't know what the maintenance of the outside of the house has been since 1985 but the current finish is in different states depending on the exposure (East and South being in worse shape than the West and North sides of the home - with the front of the home having a southwest expsoure).

What my wife and I are trying to determine is what our approach needs to be for refinishing the outside of the home.  The East and South sides of the home have peeled or peeling finish and some full exposure of the wood whereas the West and North still seem to have a good amount of the finish intact.  We would like to optimally just add another coat of finish to the home (perhaps after power washing the exterior) but have had it suggested to me that the whole home needs to be corn-cob blasted and re-finished which obviously is very expensive (I had 18 to 20K quoted to me).  Ultimately we will do what is needed, but would love to be able to save on having to do anything majorly expensive for the next several years if possible.

I have included some photos here with what are the best and worst of the states of the finish (as well as the home) and would really appreciate any advice or suggestions based on the images and any additional information that might be helpful to us (e.g. what type of finish to use and method of application etc).

Thanks very much,

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Hi, Jem. Congrats o your purchase!

Lots of advice is already shared in this forum, so continue culling for the good info.

Just some quick points for you:

1) Peeling is exclusive to film-forming stains. What this means is that the stain on there now is most likely not a deep-penetrating oil-based finish that would limit your future stain choices to another oil-based finish. It means that, with proper prep, you can choose either an oil-based or water-based stain without compatibility and adhesion issues. 

As for refinishing the whole home vs. just the walls in bad shape: Some have done just certain walls with good success, others not so much. The peeling will have to be completely removed and re-stained. Whether or not you can get a good match to the walls still in good shape is the risk you have to weigh. Proper sampling of stains will help with that decision. I will say that, in general, it is probably more aesthetically-pleasing to just refinish the whole darn house at the same time; however, that is also more expensive and time consuming. So - pros and cons to weigh as you make that decision.

2) As to brands of stains...well, I'm biased. You can read others' reviews & comments on Sashco stains on this forum and elsewhere on the great wide web. :-) 

3) Read through our booklet called "Keeping the Dream Alive" to get some basic education on the log home finishing process in general. Also take a gander at our log home videos (scroll to the bottom to see all of the videos about log home finishing). Both will help you know what work to do and how to go about it.

4) As an would do yourself some favors to move the stacked wood in the last picture away from the home. That wood attracts bugs that may find the wood of your home more yummy. In addition, splash back off the tarp can put extra stress on the stain and lead to premature failure, not to mention rot if the moisture gets out of control. :-)

Of course, feel free to email me directly with any questions, but I'm always happy to respond here, too. Oh - and if you're the type who likes to do the old-fashioned thing and talk on the phone, my direct line is below.

Good luck with your project!

--- Charis w/ Sashco - - - 720-322-8224 Direct

Hello Jem,


The home appears to have not had any exterior maintenance in at least 10 years.  Adding more oil now is an ok idea and nothing wrong with it, but on a 1 - 10 scale that would take your home from the 2 that it is now to a 4 for appearances.  The work would be a waste because eventually you will have to do the REAL JOB, which is already many years past due.  If you want your home to be a 8 - 9 out of 10 you will have to do prep work.  Your home appears to have never been chinked so I personally wouldn't add water to the equation for risk of severe damage to the wood and water getting inside if you were to pressure wash.  Even with hot water and the correct chemistry this would be a real tuff pressure wash job, it looks like multiple coats of incompatible stain and varying damage to be removed.  Corn cob, walnut shell, or crushed glass media blasting would be the best initial prep followed by sanding / buffing / grinding as a secondary prep.  Then you could start finishing the home and strive for that 10 / 10 look like we at Log Home Finishing encourage our log homeowners to save for.  So the order would be....

1.  Media blasting

2.  Secondary Prep (sanding, buffing, grinding)

3.  Stain with 3 - 4 coats or Sashco Transformation 'Log and Timber' oil finish and expect to use at least 8 x 5 gallon buckets

4.  Backer & Chink / Caulk all log joints on the exterior with Conceal Textured Caulk (this will insure stain longevity and seal the home properly for the next 30 years!)

Cost = $28,500.00 at 2014 Colorado pricing

Here's an example of a home that we did, similar to yours according to the procedure that I outlined:

Thomas Elliott

Log Home Finishing

(970) 368 2308

Thomas Elliott


Would just like to clear up some confusion, Eco Wood Treatment and lifetime wood treatment made by Valhalla wood preservatives are NOT the same company.


A short answer to your question. Yes you can clean it with a good cleaner and neutralizer wash, and recoat to buy several years. It is a short term solution, until you can properly remove them and start over on a blank page of logs.

Ray Wengerd


I'm in a very similar situation as you.  We bought a log home built in '96 a year and a half ago, and it's in bad need of re-staining.  After some investigation, it was last stained in 2005.  I want to do it the right way but don't have the money now, as we need to pave our driveway (it's inaccessible in the winter) and have a baby on the way.

With a lot of input from everyone one here, we'll be chemically stripping/cleaning it and staining it ourselves (I'll be renting a lift for the high parts as we have high/steep roofs with large overhangs and a lot of glass) as a short term fix.  Once we can afford it we'll bring a professional in (maybe Ray from above!) to cob blast it down to bare wood and do it the right way.

Pittsburgh Architect,

I do recall your project and the photos.  When you say chemical stripping, do you mean stripping down to bare wood, or just wash off the dirt?  I think pressure washing is probably the most misunderstood tool in wood restoration and the capability of the tool and end result of the tool's process are the most unpredictable.  What do you plan on using as your water source?  How do you plan on getting the chemical on the wall?  I think in your situation cob blasting would be cheaper than chemical stripping, you have a really tuff pressure wash job, 10 / 10 on difficulty level to get down to clean bare wood in your situation.

I meant a good quality cleaner to get it down to a clean substrate - not removing the old oil stain finish.  I just want to get any loose dirt, mildew, debris, and loose stain off of the wood before I put a fresh coat on it.  I should have been clearer and not used the word stripping - but I wanted to be sure it wasn't misconstrued as washing it with soap.  I'm planning on doing a lot of scrubbing with brushes and rinsing thoroughly with a garden hose - I'm very hesitant to power wash for the reasons I'm sure you're about to mention.


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