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I just bought a log home in Northren Utah. It has been neglected and I need to refinish the exterior before winter. I could use help understanding what is best stain to use in a dry climate. I have heard such conflicting ideas to which is best. I have heard the "oil is good for cars, but not for logs". Is this true? I have also heard that "Oil is not good for dry climates".


I would like Messmers TimberFlex, but I dont want to make the wrong choice after I have spent so much money getting the logs blasted.


Any Help would be appreciated.





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Hi Kyle,

Most of the high end log home finishes these days are water based. That's not by accident, it's also where most of the technological advances in log home finishes have been made in the last ten years.


If you would like me to send you a document that explains this in further detail just email me at and I will be happy to send it.


Good luck with your project!


-Kevin, PCS Redmond

I have owned a log home since 1989.  All I have ever used is permachink products.  Waterbased stain, goes on easy, easy clean up.  I also use a clear coat, so we won't have to do our home again, for at least 7 years.  Now for my decks, porch floor, and wooden walkways, and porch railings, I used oil based weatherall stain.  I use a paint roller, and roll it on.  Two coats, and I won't have to do those areas again for at least 5 years.  My deck area, and walkway get a lot of weather.  I generally, powerwash the house, then clorox it down, 1/2 clorox and 1/2 water (using a garden sprayer), powerwash again, then apply stain, then clear coat. I always check for any cracks on top of the logs that may need to be filled in with caulk.  I just did my home this summer, and it is really pretty.  I sand my windows, and frames, used a darker stain (miniwax), then I polyurathane over that, and they look good!  So I hope this helps.  I am not a sales person of any kind, just letting you know how I do my log home.  Best of luck!

Please send me your e-mail address and I can send you lots that will help.

Send me your e-mail address and I can e-mail you some info that will help greatly.

Most log home owners that use oil based stains prefer it because of it's durability. It lasts longer than water based stains and has better penetration in the wood. It would also take a while before you can live in your log home if you choose this stain as the odor can be very smelly to one's nose. Water based stain on the other hand, has better color retention, less odor and quick to dry. It's your best choice if you want to move to your log home right away. - L.R.

Almost all stains out there do a good job.  Your deciding factor on quality will be the amount of prep work you are willing to put into this.

You need Colorado Log Home Finishing LLC:

Thomas Elliott

719 331 4047

~Your Colorado log home maintenance EXPERT!

Lots of log home stains out there, hmmm water based or oil based, both have track records it just seems we do a lot of blasting on log homes that have used water based acrylic and clear coat systems.  Hard to discourage that when it comprises over 70% of our restoration business and creates bitter customers for these companies that sell them....blasting is very hard on the logs, not to mention the siding, trim and other areas of the home. 

It is always less stress on the logs to use twin chemical power washing methods, although there is no perfect solution, wet or dry, the wet method causes less damage in our opinion, and we've been doing this for 16 years and have restored over 1000 log homes doing both methods..... to see our work....

Timberflex is a film forming coating, I believe, and will have to be blasted off when the life span of the finish is complete.  You may want to look into Lovitt's stain at

Lovitt's Emerald Gold-Honey tint-Penetrating finish that is maintainable, and doesn't look like a glazed donut!  Chinking smooth and professionally installed by MM Craftsmen!

Sashco Transformation 'Log and Timber' - Gold Tone Medium with Log Jam Buff.  See how we walnut shell blasted this log home sanded and buffed, and then finished with Sashco Product. for the full gallery

Below is my standard response to these questions. Both have pros & cons. There are brands inside both that perform well. Choose one made specifically for logs, and choose based on your circumstances and the final look you want and you'll do well.

First, let’s clear up one misconception: there are actually 3 different types of stains, not just oil- and water-based. Below is a brief overview of the types and their pros and cons. Sashco always recommends using a stain with some sort of film-forming property to it, as the film is where the majority of the UV protection is derived (kind of like wearing long sleeves in the sun). And, as is usually the case, the higher-quality the raw materials, the greater the longevity and better long-term appearance of the product.

SURFACE STAINS: all are water-based. They penetrate only into the first layer of wood cells. (Sashco’s Capture / Cascade system is a surface stain, as are Permachink's stains, most of your solid stains, etc.)

Pros: Environmentally friendly; low odor; water clean-up; good water-repellancy; compatible with caulk and chinking; dry fast, excellent UV protection and longevity out of better brands

Cons: Film forming, and some brands dry hard and rigid, leading to flaking or peeling; back brushing required; weather conditions must be warm for proper drying and film formation; lower-quality resins fall apart quickly with UV exposure

SHALLOW PENETRATING STAINS: oil-based, water-oil emulsions, alkyd dispersions. They penetrate 1-4 cell layers deep. (All of Sashco’s Transformation stains are shallow penetrating stains, as are most "Hybrid" labeled stains)

Pros: Good water-repellancy; can be environmentally friendly; excellent water-repellancy; excellent UV protection and longevity out of better brands; most brands compatible with caulks and chinking; more “forgiving” when applied in less-than-ideal weather

Cons: sometimes slower dry time; film-forming, which can lead to peeling or flaking when proper prep is not done; some are solvent clean-up; resins used can dry hard and rigid, leading to peeling or flaking

DEEP PENETRATING STAINS: all oil-based. They penetrate at least 3-4 cells deep, often as much as ½” deep. (These are your Thompsons, WoodGuard, etc.)

Pros: Good initial water-repellancy; little to no flaking or peeling since no film is left on the surface; easily re-coated; some are good for decks and shingles

Cons: Not compatible with most all caulk and chinking; minimal UV protection; leaves oily residue on surface; picks up dirt easily; slippery long after application; solvent clean-up; does not last long (especially on log homes); darken significantly over time
I hope that helps some. At least you have some VERY basic knowledge of the types out there.
-- Charis w/ Sashco - -

In my opinion proper application of a water based stain is the best, they hold up better, they’re easier to clean up and there aren’t any odors to deal with.   Additionally acrylic chinking and caulking used on most log homes today have much better adhesion to the logs than to logs stained with oil based stains.  If you need information on quality water based stains, please see the following link.

Also if you have any questions on log home maintenance or stain application feel free to send me an email and I would be happy to answer any questions you have.

Scott M.

800 490-3595

“The Leading Distributor of Log Home Products”


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