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What is best stain for exterior of log home?

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Sikkens or LifeLine Ultra 2 by Perma-Chink would possibly be your two top contenders there, but in order to keep the 5 year warranty with the Ultra 2 you still need to apply the maintenance coat within 2 to 3 years to keep the warranty. I don't know the design of the home and how many porches you have, but either stain you use it is best to apply the second coat within the 3 year span and it will extend the life of your stain even more. With the Sikkens, and I would only use the Cetol 1 and Cetol 23....(do not use the new and improved Next Wave Log and Siding) if you allow the top coat to deteriorate, it is allot harder to get off than the Perma-Chink.
Dan is right,but if you want to on the ultra 2 you can apply 2 coats of ultra 2 and 2
coats of advance satin or gloss you will get the 5 year warranty.,but if you choose to
do 2 coats ultra 2 and 1 coat advance top coat you only get a 3 year warranty,so people go ahead apply a 2nd coat of advance and get a 5 year warranty.if you choose
the 2 coats with 1 coat advance topcoat,then within the 3 years you will need to apply
the 2nd advance topcoat to extend your warranty another 2 years.Just to let you know.
I do not understand why several continue to promote these 'top coats' with log stains as the choice of preference. The top coats need to be re-applied every two to three years and will likely work to trap mositure ! I see where 'Dan the Log man' states he used TWP and says it lasted about 2 years. I am wondering if he applied this with a garden sprayer, back brushed the stain into the logs then 20 to 30 minutes later applied more stain ( always bottom up ) back brushing again to apply the TWP stain. I am going on 4 years with TWP Cedartone 101 and my logs in Northern Wisconsin on all sides with seasons of pleanty of rain, snow and sub zero temps look like the day they were first stained. ( If you are building a log home be sure your overhang is 24 to 30 inches or more on all sides. Keep the logs dry, by proper sized overhangs, even in driving rains and blizzard snows !) We have 30 inches on the sides and 7 feet overhangs front and rear ( Meadow Valley Log Home design). After severe storms the logs are still dry.
Also, your bottom log should first start at 18 to 24 inches above ground or grade level. Design your log home so the first bottom log never gets covered with snow, splattered with mud from rain, or pounded with water every time it rains or snows. You are not building a boat, you are building a log home. Keep the logs dry by design. Keep them off the ground by several inches and protected with adequate overhangs. Also, use alge resistant shingles. )
Sikkens will inform you their stain is a coating product, NOT a penetrating stain. U.S. Forest products Lab recommends as a first choice semi transparent penetrating oil based stains. Often, with the water based stains, The second seal coat is a clear top coat and can build up over time. Ask the Mfg., if in time, the seal coat will trap moisture. If it does you perhaps have made a bad choice.
The only potential issue with TWP ( a Gemini Coatings product ) and/or other effective Oil based semi transparent penetrating stains is that you will need to use oil based caulk, like Titebond, when caulking/chinking. The stain will repel water based caulks.
Everyone of the stain manufacturers will give you samples. Ask for some and apply to cut off pieces of your logs so you can see the color and consistancy of the stain on your actual logs. Some of the water borne stains may be blotchy and you may not be satified with the look. Do your homework. Contact U.S. Forest Products Lab and research studies like done at Texas A&M on exterior stains so you are well informed. When you build right, stain right and make the right product choices,I do not believe you should be thinking, with fear, that you will need to be staining every two or three years. Too many prospective log home shoppers have been scared off in building a log home thinking they will be having to stain every two to three years. If this is what the stain mfg. or contractor is telling you then go back to your research for the better products out there. If they are staining logs every two or three years they are not prepping the logs properly, building the log home without adequate overhangs and logs beginning at the proper distance off the ground and using the wrong stains !
Terry, you have some very good points on the construction of the home. I was not promoting any of the stains. Northern Wisconsin is totally different than Pa. and both totally different than Texas. Texas is brutal on all the stains. Here the oils will burn off (evaporate almost). I would not recommend anyone to push the waterborne stains past 3 years here unless they are protected by porches. If you do you will be stripping the stain off which is not fun and very costly. Here I recommend you recoat every 3 years no matter the stain. PA has quite a bit more humidity than both of us. The one thing I do like about the oil stains is they are a penetrating stain where the waterborne stains lay on top, this include Sikkens also. Sikkens holds up well in most climates, but if you allow it to deteriorate, it is the hardest of all to strip off.
Terry, I have never used a garden sprayer or airless on the exterior of a home as of yet. I hand brush all my homes. I never apply 2 coats with the oil stains. I put on one heavy penetrating coat. On an oil stain the second coat does not penetrate, but lays on the top like a waterborne. Waterbornes are totally different. Although they are mostly designed for a airless application, I use far less stain because of the brushing application and do not waist the stain to the atmosphere. You have to remember, this is Texas and the wind is usually 15-25 mph her. I got into this business more to replace and strip down the logs and allow the stainer to do their thing, but most stainers wanted to get in and get out as fast as they can and always used airless applications and always use twice the stain needed. Brush only staining to my experience has lasted longer than any airless application and I have always got more stain on the home and used less stain overall. Where the airless guys would be in and out in a day or two, I would be there a week plus for close to the same amount of money. I give it my best to do it the right way first time, or at least to the best of my knowledge. It isn't always about the money. I could choose the airless route and make a better profit, but I still believe in the old way of application.
As I said above, "I still believe oil is the best for a base and then a latex similar to the same thinking of painting, but if you do not take care of the clear coat, again, you will be stripping it off."
I appreciate your counsel about what stains to be using in what locations. My only experience is in Wisconsin and I will try and remember when discusing my experience that I need to qualify it by explaining its limited to one geographic region and climate area.
Regarding my staining with TWP, I used a 2 gallon garden sprayer and started on the bottom and sprayed stain on the logs over an area of no more the 10 to 12 square feet at a time. Directly to my left my daughter-in-law used a 6 inch wide 'Beest' bristle brush to brush the stain into the logs. Then, while the stain is still wet and penetrating ( within 10 to 12 minutes maximum ) I hit the same logs again with a bit more stain and she again back brushed the wet stain into the logs. I too am only applying one heaver coat of stain on the logs, I'm just doing it in a 10 minute span of time instead of risking the stain running if I put too much on at once. The garden sprayer alone would never result in a uniform application of stain. I have observed others spray Sikkens and other stains on logs w/o back brushing upon application and I thought the job did not look uniform at all. (Also, with some of the stains out there that are loaded with high levels of bug killers etc I would not want to be the one breathing that stuff into my lungs and body !) I agree with you that once the oil based stain begins drying trying to do a second coat will NOT work AND it will lay on top of the wood and look terrible. I stained the entire outside of the log home from top to bottom on all 4 sides with the help of my daughter-in-law in about 12 hours. It went rather fast with a brush. The sprayer was used ONLY to apply some stain to the log, not as a finish application. The 'Beest' Brush does an excellent job in moving the stain along the logs without dripping or running. Thanks again for sharing your experience in using stains in a variety of geographic areas. It serves as another important reminder to anyone reseaching what stains to use, that they really need to do their homework AND focus on where the stains being discussed are being used in terms of geography.
I put together a sheet outlining the steps/products I used to stain full logs ( in Wisconsin ! ) that I would be happy to share with you so you have a better idea of what I did that seemed to work for me. Send me your e-mail address and I will e-mail you my sheet.
Well put.
Only thing I want to add, it that should be several feet off the ground for the logs, not inches. Your splash zone is a few feet. You will also always see degradation right off of a deck, for the first few feet up where the deck joins the house for the same reason. Water splashes off the floor, and up onto the logs. It's the first area to mildew, fade and fail.

See Dirt Run! Inc.
Contact Gemini Coatings and consider their TWp line of Stains. They are semi transparent oil based and get lighter in time NOT darker. I used TWP Cedartone 101 going on 4 years and it repels water like day one and still looks like the day it was applied. If you are being told to restain every 2 to 3 years, someone is recommending the worng product and/or you have not designed your home to keep the logs dry ( proper overhangs and up off the ground with the first row of logs.)
Mike, what is the design of your home. Do you have porches all around, front/back, etc. Single or two story. Do you have allot of trees, no trees. Where are the porches as opposed to the sun (e, w, n, s)
Mike, your 2/22 e-mail states you are 'building this spring'. Critical to your design, perhaps to some extent, even more important then stains, you must design adequite overhangs on your roof line. At least 24 to 32 inch on the sides and even more front and rear. Also, pour your basement walls or footings so when the final grade is done your first log, the lowest, is at least 18 to 24 inches off the ground. KEEP THE LOGS DRY ! I have 30 inch overhangs on the side and 7 feet on front and back. ( Meadow Valley Log Homes has our log home as one of the homes that appears on their web site front page. Its the one tucked into the woods at the end of a gravel road. You may need to open their web page more then once as they rotate 3 or 4 homes on the front page. ) or
In driving rains and blizzard snow the logs stay dry. This is so important in your design. If you are shingling use algie resistant shingles. When you build in the woods if you do not use algie resistant you will get algie and mold on the shingles that appear as dark or blackish stripes.
It all starts with a proper design. Steel facia looks better then aluminum with fewer wrinkles. Aluminum soffets work fine. I have a work sheet I put together for staining interior and exterior with methods, equipment, products, prices, locations available, etc. If you want to obtain a copy please provide me with your e-mail address.
We are building log home in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. We are trying to decide on stain. One of the guys that has given us a bid to stain our home recommends Australian Timber Oil. He says he has been very impressed with it. Dan, you mention it, have you heard any more about it or has anyone else?
Don't go anywhere NEAR Australian Timber Oil!! I have seen failure after failure of it since they changed the formula to reduce VOC's. You'll regret it. Don't do it. We were once fans, but no more.

Our neighbor uses Super Deck Log Home Oil Finish on his log home and loves it. Have you had any experience with this product?


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