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So we are buying a log house and I'd like to have some input on what to do with it. This forum seems to have a great deal of collective wisdom, so please don't hesitate to add your two cents.  A complete album of pictures can be viewed here:  Photobucket Album

The History: The house was built in the 1970s and is located in western New York State. In the last 15 years it has gone through several owners before being foreclosed. It hasn't seen a lot of care in the last 5-10 years. A neighbor told me that he did the staining a while back with some “really expensive stuff” the homeowner provided.

Here is the general progression I was thinking to follow for the exterior:

Step 1) Replace the rotten logs with either the same species or larch. Behind that OSB are a few rotten logs. I think one on the side of the house is rotten the whole way through. The one under the front window will need a partial replacement. Some of the corner stacks have some rot that can be trimmed off.

Step 2) Install sofit and facia to close up all of those openings under the rafters, and possibly extend the roof on the front of the house to provide more protection. I'm leaning towards using rough cut pine for the sofit and facia.  Add a roof vent.

Step 3) Pressure wash the logs.

Step 4) Clean the logs with a sodium percarbonate product. Anyone have a favorite?

Step 5) Clean the the logs with a borate preservative such as “Armor-Guard”

Step 6) Stain the logs. I'd like the Q8 Log oil in a darker color, but I'm open to suggestions.

Step 7) Remove the exterior concrete chinking (or should we do this prior to staining?).

Step 8) Install backer rod and chinking (I think chinking must be 90 days after stain). What chinking have people used with Q8?

Some other questions I had:

-Has anyone ever used Q8 in a situation where there was a small amount of stain already on the logs?

-Does chinking accept stain? If I spray on another coat in several years, will it stain the chinking?

South Side

West Side

North End

East Side

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Looks like a fun project!

My two cents: 

- I know some have had good success with it, but we've seen Q8 cause major adhesion problems with our Log Jam chinking, both when applied before and after the Q8. Even some who've waited 90 days have had some problems. For that reason, we can't guarantee Sashco's chinking product with Q8. Something to consider as you move forward. The products you use should be guaranteed to be 100% compatible with each other. 

- Those areas where you replace the wood will require some special blending of the stain in order to match the rest of the building. Keep that in mind. It may require different colors mixed together.

- Yes, it's a great idea to extend the roof line. Installing gutters and downspouts is a good idea, too.

- If you powerwash, make sure you give plenty of time to dry. Every log home owner should have a moisture meter in his toolbox to ensure moisture levels are reasonable - below 19%, and possibly lower, depending on where the logs are to begin with - before staining.

- If you have the time, money and inclination, come join us at our Zero Failures log home finishing seminar. It's 2 days that go in-depth on the science of log and wood finishing, including plenty of hands-on time with the principles you learn. (No, it's not a commercial for our products.) More info here, including a short video that shows you what it's like.

- Read through our Keeping the Dream Alive booklet. It gives you a condensed Cliff's Notes version of what is taught in class, to give you some general knowledge. (Again, not a commercial for our products.)

- Stain will generally stick to chinking, but doesn't soak into it like it does on wood. So yes, down the road, staining over it will discolor it. That said, it isn't always an unacceptable color.  Only way to tell is to test it and see.

- Finally, I'd add to your list to remove vegetation from around the foundation of the home. Bugs and moisture like to congregate there and make their way up to the logs. You'll hear different standards, but we generally think a 3-5' barrier is good. Stay away from natural materials like mulch to replace it. Rock/stone or recycled tires are better.

That's more like 5 cents. :-) Enjoy your week!

-- Charis w/ Sashco - -


A question about vegetation: how far away should it be?  I love growing things and planting things and it is a bit of a loss for me to not be able to have plantings right against the house.  Is the idea to promote air flow and prevent splash back?

Very Nice! I just did a job very similar to this for my families business. The chinking, color and log stack all about the same. Ill post some pictures on my page, if you have any questions feel free to ask.

My two cents-

 After you trim those log ends, stain them and use an end grain sealer. Any area you remove log rot from make sure to treat with a borate product before you replace with half logs.

Any specific reason why your going with sodium percarbonate? I have been using Smart Strip, and it removes most stains i deal with (7/10). Ive found its best to strip all the way to bare wood, so you can find all the rotted areas.

 My mom and grandfather had Q8 on the office, i was not overly impressed with it. Im a big fan of a few different products... sansin, perma-chink and sachco are all awesome and i try to use those companies for the most part. I would assume 90 days is so the stain can cure? Each stain is different, i would check on that. Remember, you can apply a water based stain over oil easier than you can apply oil over a water based stain. With an oil penetrating deeper into the wood and leaving less protection on the surface, this allows for the waterborne stains to attach to the fibers of the wood and create a film forming finish. On the other hand, applying oil over a film forming acrylic finish, the oils won’t penetrate in order to get to the wood; it will just lie on top. (what was the expensive stuff used)

Yes Remove the chinking first, then stain. Since your going with a dark colored stain, you can go with a light colored chink and just use a clear coat on top. When it starts to fade just give it a good power wash and add another coat of clear as needed.



I really love the light dark contrast of the cabin you did, nice work!

My intentions with the sodium percarbonate was to clean more than strip.  I really want to avoid stripping or blasting if I can.  If I used a stripper, will the coverage be greater if there is less finish in some areas?  The pictures make the logs look a lot darker than they are.  When you get up close, there isn't much stain in some areas.

One of the reasons I was favoring Q8 was that it wasn't film forming.  It seems like every time I read about film forming stains it is followed by a conversation about blasting.  While I realize this isn't always the case, it does scare me a bit.  I also like the simplicity of Q8's application.  That said, I don't want to talk myself into a bad choice.  I would like to hear what you didn't like about it. 

Are there any compatibility issues with log sealers if I stay within one companies products?

Any time you wash with sodium percarbonate you will also want to do a second wash using oxalic acid to neutralize your reaction.  This is organic chemistry 101 and is called an acid / base wash.  Sodium percarbonate is your base and oxalic acid the acid.  If you just wash with one and not the other, you will leave the wood at an improper Ph and the stain will fail before its expected life time.  We purchase sodium percarbonate and oxalic acid dry in bulk by the 100 pound bag from our local pressure washing supply shop in Denver.

Generally, if you stay with products from the same company, you avoid compatibility problems. After all, it  doesn't make much sense for them to make products that won't work together. :-) 

Film formers don't always have to be blasted off, and oil-bases sometime do have to be blasted off. (OK - misnomer: oil-bases don't protect the surface, which damages the wood fibers, which then have to be blasted off in order to provide a good surface for the next stain you put on.) In fact, when film formers are applied to properly prepared surfaces and maintained regularly, they will perform better than most deep-penetrating oil-based products that leave no film on the surface. Think of the film as the "long sleeves" of your UV protection. Logs get more UV damage than normal T-111 siding or the like, so require good UV protection. You can get that for a few months out of a deep penetrating oil-base, but it won't last long.

As to vegetation: bugs love plants, and many of those same bugs love wood. Too close together and you're inviting problems. And indeed, splash back and/or snow that sits between shrubs and walls that doesn't melt can create moisture infiltration that can lead to rot.  In general, a 3' buffer is safest.

-- Charis

Hi Zachary - you're spot on with film forming products.  I personally had two other products on my log home that were both film forming and had problems all along.  I finally had them blasted off and went with Q8 Log Oil.  An easy, one application product and I've never been happier.  Just sad that I had to go through about 12 years of being unhappy with the way my log home looked with film forming products on it before discovering Q8 Log Oil.  Top coats, multiple applications, etc. all add to the overall cost of the application of film forming products.  Don't forget that Q8 also is a preservative, something that other products don't have and require yet ANOTHER application.  Be careful with the rot you've discovered in your logs.  Typically if you've found rot in one log, the logs on top of, below or beside the rotton log is probably well on it's way to being rotten as well.  Fortunately, with our borate pressure treated log home building products, we don't have clients with this type of rot/decay or wood digesting insect problems with their log homes.  Beautiful cabin you have - enjoy it!

Q8 faded color wise more than i would have liked. The color selection is very limited compared with some of the other brands. 

The reason i suggested to strip is because they looked so dark in the pictures.

If you stay within one companies product you should be fine, i have used different stain and chink companies but only when requested from the home owner. That's a good way to void the material warranties.  

A good log home maintenance project begins with inspection.  Since this home was built before 1979 there is a chance that the original stain has lead and the old concrete chinking may contain asbestos.  An environmental testing company can test for lead and asbestos.  The Federal Lead Abatement acts of 1979 and 2012 make it a law that any time you remove old finish including chinking that it must be tested for hazardous material if built before 1979.  

Log Home Finishing uses thermal imaging to test for leaks and water damage before starting any restoration project.  Thermal imaging can help you pinpoint which logs need to be repaired and thermal imaging of your log home may help you save money if the images show that some of that chinking is still in good shape and can be maintained rather than replaced.

Pictured here is an 8 year old log home.  The owner wanted to replace all chinking.  Log Home Finishing proved that the chinking was overall in great shape and needed just some basic patch work.  We saved this owner a lot of money thanks to a quality inspection of the log home and thermal imaging analysis.

Thomas Elliott

Log Home Finishing LLC

Your home reminds me almost exactly of one that we did a full log restoration on this past summer 2013 in Teller County, Colorado.  The process was:


2)walnut shell blasting (ultra fine grade)

3)remove old chinking, nails, mesh, insulation from log joints

4)apply 3" grip strip backer

5)Stain with Sashco Transformation 'Log and Timber' Gold Tone Dark (50 gallons over 5 coats)

5)chinking with Sashco Log Jam Buff and Caulking with Sashco Conceal griz brown

6)rot repairs with Abatron wood epox

The entire gallery from start to finish can be viewed at



Thomas Elliott

Log Home Finishing

We have also been thinking about the Saschco Log and Timber stain.  The folks at Schroder's recommended it.  It says that it is compatible over a variety of other stains, what are your thoughts on it's compatibility? 

An additional 2 cents. Keep in mind, that your wood preservatives will not do much good in places where there are old finishes, not removed. The carrier agents will not carry it to the inside of the surface because of the existing finish barriers. It will not hurt anything, other than maybe slight discoloration, but just remember that you will need to do it again, when you remove your finishes later, and as your existing finishes continue to fail.

I would do the chinking before you start the wash, to keep moisture out, and sometimes you unveil issues, you will want to deal with before you start finishing.

Charis makes a good point about special mixtures for your replaced logs. Colorado finishing makes a good point in doing a second wash to neutralize your cleaners, and pH levels.

Also, you need to add a support column by the railing at the front door steps, see how bad it sagged there? I would do a thermal test before you add soffits and fascia. Those openings tend to attract all kinds of critters, that love to go in there and root around and ruin insulation. In your case, some good sized critters. With the soffit removed you might be able to get in and spray foam with out having to remove roof panels. 



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