The Log Home Neighborhood

An online log home community for log home enthusiasts.

Hi everyone,

I just bought a log home built in 1989. Haven't even moved in yet but I've discovered Perma-Chink's Web site. Seems I'll be in touch with them soon. I'd like to start out on the right foot. I don't know when the exterior of the house was last cleaned or treated so I'd like to do it ASAP. Is it a good or bad idea to pressure wash before using Log Wash or other such product and before treating with stain and topcoat?

Thank you!


Views: 11314

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Alex,

I'm faced with the same issue. My research says to not exceed 500 PSI if you do pressure wash. I experimented and found higher pressure will distroy the wood. 500 PSI may not get the job done, so it may be necessary to blast with corn cob media. I'm hoping to get started this summer. If I get to it before you, I'll let you know what I learn.

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the reply. I would like to find out the outcome, so keep me posted. I am guessing that if you have a pressure washer that goes up to, for example, 2600 PSI, you can adjust the setting so that it's 500 or less? I haven't bought one yet.

Thanks again!


You can get a pressure washer around 1500 PSI for about $100. You adjust the pressure by adjusting the nozzle, and the distance from the end of the nozzle to the surface. In other words, you will adjust the nozzle to make a fan-type spray, and move away from the surface if you want to reduce the pressure. Unless you have another application for the pressure washer, you don't need an expensive high pressure washer.

Hi, Alex. I was in the same boat as you a few months ago and the folks at Permachink will steer you in the right direction.

I've read both "log home maintenance" books available (is there more than 2?) and anything else I could get my hands on.

One of the first things you need to do is TRY to determine what the logs have been stained/treated with? Oil based or water based? Try to talk with the previous home owners to see if they know. The reason you need to know this is a compatibility issue.

If you strike out there, try talking with the closest log home maintenance supply dealers and log home maintenance contractors and see if they have records for the home (either by address or previous owner). If you're lucky, one of them will have records and they can tell you what has been used.

I'm not aware if there is a 'sure-fire' way to tell if you have oil based or water based by doing anything like spitting on it - anyone?

I was lucky and the local Permachink dealer had records of my home, as well as one of the local log home maintenance-folks, so I knew it was all Permachink products.

Permachink first advised to wash with their Log Wash, not to pressure wash, and see how the finish looks. If it looks OK, then lay down the top coats. If not, then stripping with various products was in order.

I had to strip my south facing wall because it was neglected by the previous owner. There really wasn't much stain left on it, so I simply used a Sodium Percarbonate with a pressure washer set low (less than 1000 PSI) and a wide fan tip. It cleaned the remaining stain and the UV damaged wood off, however, it did leave a little fuzziness that was resolved with an Osborn Brush.

If you do have to resort to a pressure washer, you have to be extremely careful, otherwise you can do more harm than good. It's not ONLY the pressure you're concerned with, but the GPM too! I've read nothing less than 3 GPM. With that said, expect to spend no less than $400 on one. The cheapie-type of pressure washers don't have the high GPM you really need for efficient use.

Some resources say "never use a pressure washer", and some say "only experienced professionals", but I think if you've got a little common sense and pay close attention to what you're doing, you'll do fine.

If you're planning to do most of the maintenance, it would be in your best interest to invest in some books - "Log Home Care & Maintenance" by Jim Davis & "The Log Home Maintenance Guide" by Gary Schroeder.

Have fun!
Hi Jay,

Thank you very much for your lengthy and educational reply! I haven't yet bought the two books you recommended, but they have been sitting in my cart at for a couple of weeks. They're the only two books I found on log home maintenance. I'm glad you recommended them. I wasn't sure which one to get, but I figured the more information, the better.

The previous owner of my cabin is in Michigan now and I've never had contact with her. The home was a short sale and she was relocated months ago. I will have to look into log home maintenace contractors and supply dealers in the area. When I've done searches online, I came up with nothing. I can't believe there's nothing out there in my general vicinity (Tampa Bay, Florida).

Thank you for the information about pressure washers and pressure washing. I'm still not sure what I will do, but I read in a Perma-Chink document about using the masking tape test...stick a piece of masking tape on part of a log and see how much of the stain is removed:

Old Finishes – For finishes that are very old, your
first step is to perform an adhesion evaluation in areas
that are of most concern. Using some masking tape,
apply a couple of inches of tape to the old stain surface.
Peel the tape off the wall and look at the adhesive side. If
very little of the old finish is adhered to the tape, then the
adhesion is probably adequate to use the old finish as a
base for the new coat of Lifeline. If a significant amount
of the old finish comes off onto the tape, then it is best to
remove the old finish before application of the new

As far as whether it's oil based or water based, I haven't a clue. It would be nice if there were a test for that.

Thanks again for your reply! I sure am learning a lot.


Alexis, You might want to contact one of the builders at GLLCA for some advice.....Great Lakes Log Crafters Association. Good luck!!!!!!
Thanks Tim! I will do that.
OK, folks. Here are a couple of "crude" ways of determining whether you have an oil- or water-based stain on your home:

- Apply a 4% sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide solution to the sample to see if yellowing occurs. If it does, then it is an alkyd or oil-based system. If not, it is most likely an acrylic latex.

- Soak a sample of the product in pure ethanol (or Jim Beam, if that’s what you have) for 4-5 minutes. If the sample is noticeably softer or it curls, it is an acrylic latex. If it remains hard and stiff, it is an alkyd or oil-based system.

Who knew the things you could do with Jim Bean? :-)

Alexis - I'd wait to do anything until you have warm weather (meaning temps that will stay above 40 degrees, including overnite). Most products work best and cure properly in warmer temps. Power washing or blasting or whatever more than a couple weeks before you're ready to stain may mean having to do it over again (and who wants to do that???).

Hope that helps. Have fun researching all the products available out there. It's always good to get many opinions and sample many products to ensure you're getting both the look and longevity you want for your log home.

Thanks and let me know if you have any other questions -

Charis w/ Sashco
I would save the Jim Beam and use Old Crow bourbon.......Shouldn't waste good alcohol!!!!
I guess everything is subjective, eh? :-)
"Who knew the things you could do with Jim Bean? :-)"

Most people don't remember what they did with Jim Beam.....
That's awesome advice, but isn't that alcohol abuse?

Believe me, I'm going to wait til the weather gets warmer. In fact, I haven't even moved in yet so I'll want to settle in first. Moving date is officially the 14th. YAY!

Thanks again, I'll try your suggestions.



© 2018   Created by Neighborhood Host.   Powered by

Guide to Log Homes | Advertise | Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service