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I am sure this has been talked to death but i am spending my 1st year in an 80 yr old log house that sadly has been neglected for the last 25.  I am looking for recommendations on rotted wood stabilizers and log repair that is reasonable cost and works.  The log home companies all have materials that are prohiibably expensive for the amount of repair I am looking at.

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Try some googling about other people who have done the same thing.

You could look at, some interesting info.

There are some books out there as well (Charles Mcraven etc.)

Also...if your cabin is a "chinker" there are some good recipes out there for traditional chinking (if you opt for that instead of synthetic).

Limeworks has some good info on lime based chinking and oldtime caulks (plasters too);

Hopefully I will be chinking mine this fall.....but the synthetic stuff is very I will be attempting my own synthetic out of elastomeric (I had several pails I bought at huge reduced price at a clearance sale) and some ground limestone filler.

Also there are many log home restoration people out there....I follow one on facebook;  "Ramsey Restoration".  They are always repairing or rebuilding old log and timber structures in VA.  Maybe Luke could give you a few tips?

Thanks....all advice is welcome.  I would like to find something like "Durhams" water putty to rebuild the logs.  I talked to the Durham factory and it is not recommended for exterior use but it sure is reasonably priced.

There are epoxies out there specifically made for rotted wood....many of them are used in wooden boat repair and construction.  I believe some can be injected by syringe.

There are also wood hardeners (not real epoxies) that deeply penetrate (Minwax makes one).  I have used some of the older wood hardeners years ago (Touraines) and they were very good product.

If it is real bad, you might have to remove a portion of the log, treat the area with a borate or other wood preservative than scab on a new section or face portion of log.

This is one of the ones I was thinking about;

Other members and professionals on this site might have some better info.

Also.....I might want to check your local dollar store too...I have seen 2 part epoxy wood type putty in there for a buck before (if you don't have a lot / large area of repair, it might be worth looking into).

Charles you might also check for local log home restoration companies near you. There have been times recently when we have looked at log homes that needs repair and the owner cannot afford our cost. (insurances, taxes and the like drive up prices way more than they should) The owner was capable of doing the work himself, just didn't really know where to start. He came out to another job we were doing and observed as a learning process. We stopped by his house later when we were back in his area to make sure everything worked out for him. 

Also, as far as finding materials that are cheaper....yes, they are available. But in the long run, you won't save anything if/when you have to go back in and re-do the work. On my log home, I have used a backer rod type product that isn't sold by a log home product company, I researched to ensure that it would do the trick and it does. You really have to know "what" you're researching "for". I wouldn't take a chance on using anything that is exposed to the elements to protect my investment though. I'd venture to say that 85% of the repairs I do are re-do's of someone trying to save a buck.

Good luck to you! Jackie

Yeah...a lot of those "noodles" are closed cell well as pipe wrap foam.

Sometimes all that a person can afford is "cheap" until a time when they can do something different.

Remember the log home market got itself into a high end market.

Sometimes the mark up is very high on some of these products, not necessarily the quality....its sort of like "big Pharma" charging a lot of money under guise of recoup research and development when they sell the same product much cheaper to other people.

Any specific recommendations on a backer product and where it can be found? If I am filling out say 3", how much backer and how thick should the final filling material be?  This would be for log splits not chinking.

So  are thinking about using wood splits or saplings or wood lathes as a chink or instead of cement or synthetic type chink?

Thats another old traditional technique.

I have seen some of those, and if it is done right it looks very nice (really time consuming).

They used oakum hammered tight into the chink space with a boat caulking chisel.

The two I have personally seen, used sawn lathes and saplings.  Both were flush with the log surface. 

Both structures had good overhangs or porches so water getting behind the saplings etc. was not an issue.

I have smaller chink gaps.

The restoration people (those that do it for a living) that I have spoken to who do traditional lime type mortar chinking usually recess the chink on the  underside of the log at least 1" then slope it down to the log below (like a roof) to shed the water.

If the chink is flush with the upper log, and a crack opens up then rain can funnel off the log face and get behind the chinking and cause problems.

As backer....some use foam board. or wood as a base, and then nail stucco lathe to this.  Some just use packed fiberglass.

I have used both wood cedar splits for filler, and polyethelene closed cell pipe insulation because it was cheap.  I spray foamed on the inside, to get me through the winter.

I have yet to chink mine on the outside, and am looking at my options.

For large gaps, I have seen those foam noodles (kids use them in pools etc.) at the dollar store?????

Looks like it might be good stuffing for larger gaps....they can be carved easily, and compressed somewhat to fit into the space.

When  you don't have a lot of money you can be pretty creative.

Of course synthetic chinking is a different animal altogether. 

Hi Shanny,

I would be careful with colorful foam like what is used in those floating childrens toys. We have tested many different types of foams and the brightly colored stuff seems to out-gas more sometimes creating some bubbles in synthetic chinking. Pink and blue EPS foam especially does that. We haven't tested floaty toys. It could work or it could be a hassle. If it does work can you let us all know?

Kevin, PCS Redmond

Thanks for that information.

Maybe best to do a test sample if a person was going to use synthetic chinking.

I have seen some restoration people use the blue foam with synthetic chinking before? 

I remember Tim Bullock mentioning that a few years ago.

I did not use that material...I used pipe insulation and spray foam to get me through the winter.  

I am only chinking the outside and  I might go traditional lime type chinking anyway or make my own synthetic...I have not decided yet.



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