When log cabin owners talk about maintenance, they are referring to the upkeep needed for the log shell of the building to make sure that it is protected from any damaging UV rays which it might be subjected over the years, water damage, air leaks, insect infestation and rodent intrusion. Another factor to log home restoration is keeping it looking the way it did when it was first built.
The most basic maintenance – something which helps to extend the life of any stains and sealants used in the construction of your log cabin – is a yearly wash with soap and water. A wash will remove anything which is covering the surface of the cabin, such as dust, dirt, pollen, bird faeces and any kind of insect remains which could damage the woodwork. Washing will also expose any areas of the woodwork which need attention, such as areas of damaged caulking or chinking, and allow you to make a better assessment of the work which needs to be done to restore your log cabin to its original state (or as close as possible).
Planning ahead while actually building your log cabin can also help to save you work later. Incorporating large overhangs; porches; tall, solid foundations and some well-designed landscaping into your building when it is first being constructed can prevent some of the more common maintenance nightmares. Remember that a log cabin is not like a conventional home – maintenance is not the same as for conventional homes. As long as you keep this in mind, you can plan for it.
There are two main types of log cabin stain which you can use to finish your home, and the best time to assess its condition is to wash it and wait until it has dried. If you have used an oil-based stain on your cabin, check the knots and checks on the walls – if the finish is wearing off, these areas will begin to turn blonde. If this is happening, you should apply one or two coats of stain as part of your maintenance. Some manufacturers of oil based stain are now producing a clear maintenance coat – you can use this instead of the original stain, but it is best to use it if the area has not been worn down to the bare wood. If you have used a water-based stain on your cabin, pay attention to how glossy the finish over the entire shell of the building. If the finish in some areas has grown dull, you should apply a maintenance coat of clear stain to them.
The restoration of your log home can be accomplished through various products and procedures. If applications of stain are needed, you will normally only need to wash the area beforehand (which will already have been accomplished if you started the entire process by washing your log cabin), or sand it down smoothly by hand.
If the logs of the cabin shell need more attention than this, a stripping agent, wood brightener or some form of blasting media might be required. While these procedures are more in-depth, they can be done by someone working by himself, though care should be taken that you don’t inadvertently create more problems for yourself down the line.