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My wife and I are about to totally redo the outside of our log home that we purchased last November. I've been researching for several weeks and I think I have a decent game plan together, however, before I start spending money and breaking a sweat I'd like to run my plan by some more experienced folk to make sure I'm not way off base. It's a little long so feel free to skim, I appreciate any guidance or comments.

House construction & condition:

Home is a butt & pass style log home with 6x8 milled D shape red cedar logs. The first floor is all solid cedar logs, the seconds floor is 2x4 walls with cedar log siding. The house was improperly stripped and stained about 2 years ago by previous owners. There are lots of spots where stain was applied over felted wood that was not sanded after pressure washing and there are locations where it appears that the wood had not fully dried before it was stained. As a result, the color is very uneven and faded with some spots being very dark and others looking nearly free of stain. The previous owners also did not stain the ends of the logs leaving the wood open to soak up lots of moisture which has resulted in mold growth at the corners of the house. A few pictures of the home are attached.

House Exterior Restoration Plan:

  1. Remove existing failed stain & mold/mildew.
    1. Remove stain with angle grinder with a backer plate & sanding discs starting with 36 or 40 grit to remove existing stain, then using a 4” osborn brush to finish. We can’t afford to use a media blaster to remove existing stain and would like to avoid using a pressure washer (last owners used pressure washer and left a lot of water spots on the interior of the logs as a result).
    2. After we get it down to bare logs we were planning on washing the logs down with a little bleach to remove dust and ensure that all mold is gone.
  2. New stain
    1. We plan to apply the new stain with brushes so that we get maximum penetration into the wood. We haven’t chosen the new stain yet, but are leaning towards Sashco Capture or Transformation. We’ve ordered some samples and plan on doing a trial run on the interior side of a log since we’ll be covering that up soon on a seperate project.
    2. After we apply two good coats of stain we’d like to put on a good clear topcoat to help protect the stain, make it last longer, and add a little shine. We were thinking about using Cascade from Sashco for this purpose.
  3. Chinking
    1. The home currently is not chinked, however, we like the look of chinking and some of the logs have settled in such a way that I don’t believe they are insect & air tight. So we plan on applying a good chinking between all logs including the log siding for a consistent look and extra weatherproofing.
  4. Questions
    1. We’ve had issues with with insects since we’ve been here and bore bees seem to love our log home so we’d like to add some insecticide to our stain if possible. I’ve seen a few insecticide additives available from different manufacturers but I haven’t seen any that say they can be combined with water based stain. Is there anything available like this? Also, how long do insecticides last? Will they eventually stop working?
    2. Should the top coat be applied before or after chinking? I know that it’s best to stain before chinking to avoid discoloration & drips, however, I was thinking that a top coat over the chinking may help it last longer. Has anyone else done this?
    3. We currently are without most of the tools necessary for this job, if anyone has a recommendation on where we can pick up sanding pads, backer rods, and other such things in bulk then I’d certainly appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction.

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The plan of action you have in place is a good one. I would agree that sanding down will probably be your best bet. Glad to hear you got stain samples. That's always wise to try first. I'm biased on the brands, so I'll let others comment on that. :-)

A couple thoughts for you:

1) A wash down with a diluted bleach solution afterwards will work, but you'll want to be sure you thoroughly rinse that bleach off. Residual bleach will degrade and weaken the wood fibers and can cause premature stain failure. (Really, it's not the stain that will be failing, but the wood fibers themselves.)

2) If applying the stain by brush, make sure you don't skimp. You want to be sure that the recommended coverage rates are still followed. So, for example, if coverage rates say you should be using at least 15 gallons of stain and you have 5 left over when you're done, you probably need to apply another coat. :-) The coverage rates are a good guideline to follow to ensure you have enough pigment on the surface to protect the home.

Now to answer your questions:

1) Bug Juice is a great insect additive for water-based stains. Do NOT use NBS 30 in water-based stains. The citronella oil in it can severely slow down (and sometimes completely inhibit) the dry time on water-based stains. In general, any insect additive that can be added to latex paint can be used in a latex stain, as well.

2) For the first go around, apply the clear coat before any chinking or caulking. It will make cleaning up any drips or runs from tooling the chinking/caulking much, much easier. Of course, future maintenance will require that you clear coat over the chinking/caulking, which is fine. The clear coat won't do anything to extend the already long life of chinking. :-) Most folks will not have to replace the chinking during the life of the home.

3) If you purchase your products from a specialty log home products supplier, they're going to have all of those tools for you - in bulk, in stock, ready to go. :-) Feel free to contact us for names of the retailers closest to you.

Hope that helps! We'll be excited to watch your progress. Be sure to post pictures so we can see how it goes. Let us know how else we can be of assistance.

Have a great weekend!

--- Charis w/ Sashco - -


Thanks for the advice!

Can the bug juice additive you mentioned be mixed with an oil based stain like Sascho's Transformation?

Yes, Bug Juice works in both types of stain, so it's a good choice no matter which direction you go. It's not our product, but the one we found works the best with Sashco stains. Most of the retailers who sell Sashco products also carry the Bug Juice.

Hey! I would suggest Bug Juice! I've used it before and it is great at removing stains. 


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