Log Homes

Wood Maintenance Services

Thermal Imaging

Recommended Procedures for
Cleaning, Preparation and Application

Log Home Tips

Frequently Asked Questions

Wood Maintenance Services

Positive Log Home and Wood Maintenance is a division of our company that specializes in the upkeep of your exterior wood surfaces. We can locate and repair finish issues before they become major problems and freshen up the exterior of your home. Maintenance services include: thermal imaging, caulking, chinking, sealing, staining, cleaning and more

Thermal Imaging

Positive Log Home Maintenance can survey your home and determine if you face some of the more common heat-loss issues, such as:

  • Moisture infiltration issues
  • Air infiltration through cracks or holes.
  • Insulation deficiencies & heat loss
  • Roof Leaks
  • Insect Infestation concerns

Not only will we survey the home but provide an easy to understand report along with a suggested course of action to help mediate the repair process if necessary. Survey costs start at $150.00.

Recommended Procedures for Cleaning, Preparation and Application

  1. All wood to be coated should have a moisture content of 19% or less.
  2. After power washing, 3 good dry days is recommended before coating.
  3. ALL new smooth wood should be washed with a solution of 4oz TSP, 1 quart bleach and 3 quarts water. Apply solution to wood keeping it wet with solution for 15 -20 minutes. This will allow the TSP to clean the wood AND remove Mill Glaze. Completely remove the solution using a power washer at 500-1000 psi, as not to damage the wood. Mill Glaze is present on ALL new smooth woods and will prevent penetration and absorption of any paint or stain causing pre-mature failure, peeling in large areas. The bleach will kill mildew which can be present even if it is not visible. If you apply a coating over existing mildew, it will continue to grow underneath the coating causing unsightly black stains and coatings failure. At this point, the only way to kill the mildew and remove the stains it produces is to completely remove all of the coatings and wash with bleach. A lot of time, trouble and money can be saved by always cleaning and preparing properly before the stain or paint is applied!
  4. Mechanical sanding is recommended on smooth woods after power washing to ensure the grain is opened to accept the coating and to remove any damage to the wood.
  5. Whenever possible, back-priming the wood is always recommended to encapsulate the board so that no moisture is able to penetrate it, thus keeping the wood more stable, which will allow longer life to the wood and give better performance to the coating. (Back-priming is when you coat all 6 sides of the board prior to installation).
  6. When using the 2 coat Cetol Log & Siding product, the first coat should be applied with a brush to ensure proper film build and to better work the coating into the woods fibers. Apply a liberal coat, following the manufacturers recommendation for spread rates.
  7. After the first coat has been allowed to cure a minimum of 24 hours, caulking should be done as needed, using a polyurethane or high quality acrylic latex caulk. Allow the caulk to cure per its manufacturers recommendations.
  8. When applying the second coat of Cetol Log & Siding, brushing or spraying and back-brushing is recommended. Again, apply a liberal coat to assure proper film-build. This film-build will give you the best protection and the beautiful satin finish Sikkens look.
  9. Home owners need to be advised that Sikkens recommends a light power washing, again using the cleaning solution, and applying a maintenance coat every 2-3 years on the South and West sides and 3-4 years on the North and East exposures. This will assure the proper film build and UV protection needed to maintain the Sikkens system.
  10. Please refer to the proper Sikkens brochure for additional information.

Log Home Tips:


  1. Remove mill glaze, road grime and job-site dirt from the logs by preparing the surface for sealing. Use sanding, power-washing, corn-blasting or soda-blasting inside and out.
  2. After waiting for the logs to dry a week or more, apply preservatives; then apply stain and clear finish.
  3. Regardless of the log profile or construction style, all log homes will need some caulking in between log courses, at corners and around windows and doors. (Note: Make sure the caulk or chinking you use is a perfect match with stain, preservative or other product you apply to your home. Not sure? Call the manufacturer.)


  1. If you haven’t built your log home, you can alleviate maintenance issues with smart design. Start by raising the homes foundation at least 6 inches above grade. (Some experts reccoment as much as 24 inches in insect-prone areas).
  2. Use generous roof overhangs (also known as eaves) in your design to protect log walls and roof timbers against Mother Nature.
  3. Move water runoff away from your home by getting builder reccomendations on the best gutters and downspouts.
  4. To resist water and insect damage, don’t let log floors or wall materials be exposed to the ground. Use inorganic materials, such as rock, within 12 to 24 inches of the first course of logs.
  5. Never use wood mulch, pine straw or other ground covers within 12 to 24 inches of your logs. They will encourage termites and other insects.
  6. Keep a Maintenance diary to track any problems and how you solved them.


  1. To stop water runoff, make sure the grading around your foundation slopes away from the home.
  2. Even if your builder sloped the soil during construction, this grading can settle and become flat or even slope toward your home. Don’t use topsoil to increase the slope of the grade, which will only act as a sponge. Use rock or gravel instead, which will shed water.
  3. Make sure your downspouts or splash blocks divert rainwater at least 6 to 9 feet away from the home.
  4. Install a foundation drainage system to keep water hazards away from your home. These flexible pipes draw in moisture from the surrounding soil and channel it away.


  1. If you see evedince of termites, call a pro. Telltale signs include frass (a sawdust-like substance) and tunnels in the wood.
  2. If carpenter ants have set up shop in your home, locate and destroy their nest with an insecticide and fill holes with caulk.


  1. Clear all stumps and fallen trees within 50 feet of your home, since these can harbor wood-boring insects and a variety of pests.
  2. Watch for tree branches that can be a bridge to your home for nesting insects.
  3. Keep shrubbery a minimum of 3 to 5 feet from the walls of your home. The goal is to enable air to circulate freely around the home to help dry the logs.

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I clean the Exterior of my log home?

Lightly cob blast, sandblast, sand, or pressure wash (the most popular method) new logs. When power washing, we suggest you use a cleaning agent.

How Do I clean the Interior of my log home?

If the house is already furnished, cleaning the interior may be more messy than the exterior. A general dusting may work, but to actually clean the logs, a sponge saturated with a bleach and water combination may be used. The logs will need to be rinsed, hence the messiness. A trough could be built to catch any of the dripping water when rinsing, or use another sponge with plain water. Otherwise, just a light sanding is necessary.


Do I need backer rod?

Yes, if chink joints are greater than 1/4″.

What does the temperature need to be in order to apply caulk or chinking?

The surface tempurature of the logs should be between 40 and 90 degrees Farenheit.


How often do I need to refinish?

As a general rule of thumb, if the stain is applied correctly, and according to manufacturer’s recommendations, semi-transparent stains can last 3-5 years. This can be less if the house is subjected to major sun exposure or longer if the house has large overhangs and is shaded.

Can I just use a clear finish?

Clear finishes are not recommended for the exterior of the house because there is no pigment or sunscreen to protect the logs from damaging UV rays. Pigmented stains hold longer and will not flake off in a short period of time. Using a “clear” finish means reapplying more often (may only last 6 months to a year under full sunlight). A light pigmented stain is an alternative to clear.

Can I mix stains?

Stains can be mixed if they are the same product. However, mixing is not recommended because of the difficulty of duplicating the same mixture for re-coating at a later date. Mixing oil and water based stains in not advised.

Will Bug Juice change the color of my stain?


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