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I'm refinishing a log home and every vendor is telling me something different about the best way to remove the stain from my house. I'm probably not inclined to go the pressure washing route even though it would be cheapest, but really at a loss as to the respective benefits of cob blasting vs. hand sanding (versus perhaps also blasting using some other media). Any input you have would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi Dave, We own a restoration company and there is serveral ways to do your removal. I will only tell

you of our method and I don't critize others ways. If you go with pressure washing some of the problems

are if you should have any openings, draft holes or any thing else like that the water can go into the house

and cause water stains. Water stains are some times difficult to get out and then when you sand them it changes the appearance of your logs inside. It can also leave your house very furry which would then have to be sanded.  Costly!

We use cob blasting and yes it is dusty but we ususally ask people first if they have any openings. The corn will go in but it is dry and can be cleaned up without harming the logs. You have to be careful of the guy doing the blasting that he knows how or he can hurt your log home look. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us and we can perhaps give you homes to look at in your area. Not sure where you live but we work all over and maybe we have one in your area. Hope this answers any of your concerns. Dolly


This subject has come up several times in the past on this blog. Check the following for a lot of detail.



Thanks Joe. I will look there.
I think I sent this to you already. Check out for additional options.


I am a professional cob blaster, so I'm a bit biased, but I certainly recommend staying away from water.  Pressure washing does tend to be the cheapest, but it brings with it many concerns such as water/chemicals getting inside, running down the interior walls or onto your hardwood floors, etc.  Hand sanding works, but is incredibly labor intensive.  I would highly recommend finding a blaster to remove the stain.  Besides cob, the only other blast media that is appropriate for log homes is very fine crushed glass, but then you have to be extremely diligent in making sure to cover all windows, doors, etc.  Cob on the other hand cannot etch glass as it is too soft.  

Here is a video of the results you can expect from cob blasting




I feel someone who lacks the experience may run with the idea that they cannot damage their windows if they corn blast them. Any windows that are tinted will be damaged.



I would like to think that both methods, media blasting vs. chemical stripping both have their advantages and dis-advantages, but also I would take into consideration skill leval vs. the time you want to spend removing the finish on your home, and not just cost.


Media blasting does an excellent job of removing even the most stubborn finishes out there on the market, and is fairly quick and cost effective.  We here at Perma-Chink Systems prefer recycled crush glass because it is relatively inexpensive and does not impregnante the wood with organic material that can mold later on down the road. Nor would it contaminate any wells surrounding your home.  But, media blasting is very, very agressive, and can damage the surface of your home significantly if left in the hands of the inexperienced...which is not the first method recommended for the "do-it-yourselfers."  It may be worth your while to contact someone with some experience and get a bid before considering media blasting your home.


Keep in mind as well that if you do decide to go the blasting route, the logs on your home will become even more pourous than before, and a primer is highly recommended before you decide to stain your logs. This will keep the pigment in your stain to be a uniform consistency, as well as increase coverage rates.


As for chemical stripping, it is very user friendly, and no heavy duty commercial equipment is required.  All you need is a general purpose pressure washer, which is available at most hardware/retail outlets. Chemical strippers only soften the finish, and the power washer, if used properly at the correct angle, is what actually removes the finish. Some surface damage can occure, but a light sanding will do to correct the feathering of the wood caused by agressive power washing.


As for the dis-advantages, yes, water will get into your home.  But unless the water gets ends up sitting on a horizontal surface, I would not be concerned with water stains. Rinsing is very need to make sure that you remove ALL of the chemicals applied to your home. Any remaining residue can result in disrupting the PH in your logs, as well as future stain adhesion problems.


Whew! Hope I didn't over-load you with information, but at the same time I hope it helps. 


I agree with Cathy. Done correctly, either method can be very effective. It has been our experience that most professionals will lean one way or the other. We look at each home on a case by case basis to determine what is best for that home.


Regarding cob blasting, I will say that we prefer crushed glass. It is a smoother blast, it pits the wood less, (NO it does not leave the home glittery) and since it does not rot, absorb water, or attract flies most owners prefer it. Cob also changes the pH of the soil around plants during decomposition if left around the house. Some plants do not like this. If cob gets into the checks and cracks in the logs and gets wet, you have something more that can contribute to mold, milder, fungus or rot growth. Glass does NOT absorb water. It does not rot, it doesn't change the pH of the soil. It does NOT contain any free silica, It add to the soil around the home for better drainage. It looks like fine powdery beach sand. Having used both, we have seen that the glass is a cleaner blast.


Anyone who does not know how to deal with water on the interior of a home, should NOT wash. You need a person inside with towels. There are also methods that can be used to keep run marks from forming, and a good professional knows what they are, and uses them when washing.  In our opinion, buffing (sanding) should be done after both blasting or washing. Wood prep is critical to the proper adhesion and life of the finish you apply. No exceptions.


For more information please feel free to contact me. We have been restoring wood since 1999.



See Dirt Run Inc. Log Home Maintenance & Restoration

As the owner of Log Home Finishing LLC in the mountains of Colorado, in my experience most restoration takes a variety of tools.  Pressure washing, media blasting, sanding / buffing are used in combination on most projects.  We own all of our own blasting and pressure washing equipment, and just bring it all to most jobs to get the job done.


The best way of removing stain in a log home for me is cob blasting. It is the method that's non-toxic and safe for the log. Pressure washing involves the use of water which may cause damage to the interiors of your log home. Pressure Sanding and cob blasting are almost similar with the process but the later is less abrasive and cannot cause that much damage to the logs. A cob corn can clean your log with the least damage, and great result. :) L.R.

I would recommend sanding. It does take longer but the result is the best. Cob blasting is an organic material it gets into the logs and rots and moulds not good for the logs and also attracts rodents. I find the end result leaves a raised grain as well. Pressure washing can leak water into your home and leave water stains also not good for the logs. Sanding just simply takes away what you don't want and your not bringing in any other problems.
Best of luck.
Vancouver BC
and area.

A solution to the problems you mentioned with cob blasting would be to use crushed recycled glass as it is non organic, cheaper, and does a more efficient job.  We mostly use walnut shell as a happy medium and have found walnut shell followed by sanding to be most cost effective with satisfactory results.

Thomas Elliott

Log Home Finishing


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