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We bought a log cabin that we think was built in the 60's.   The logs are round, interior and exterior (no chinking).   The inside of the cabin is very dark.  I just think over the years the logs have naturally gotten darker and dirty.   We are not sure if there is a stain on the interior or varnish or what.  I wish to clean these logs but not sure what to use or how to clean the interior.   Any suggestions.   Can I just wash these interior log walls with some solution and let them dry or what.  I am at a loss.  Everything I am reading has to do with exterior log upkeep but nothing about the interior.


This is a small cabin (think 600 sf with a loft above).  Think square box in which the bedroom was cornered off buy building an interior wall of pine paneling.   The paneling too has been there a long time.  The doorway going into the bedroom and bathroom never had frame molding around the opening.  We are going to add the molding but we will now have raw wood molding up against this pine paneling.  We are thinking of painting (maybe tan/light tan)the paneled wall, the doors to the bedroom and bathroom (which are unfinished but darkened over time) and the moldings in order to 1)try to lighten up the interior of the cabin, 2) bring together these unfinished/dark dirty section of wood.  


Does anyone have suggestions on whether we should even attempt to do this, what color to use, brand name of paint (i.e. Benjamin Moore), type of paint, Aura, Regal, etc.; latex or oil, type of finish (flat, matte, satin, semi gloss, etc?  


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Hi Marlene. You might post a couple of photos to give us an idea of what your interior logs look like to see if its possible to tell what is on them. I would also contact some of the log home stain companies (Sashco, Perma-chink, Sansin etc) to ask for samples of their log cleaning products. They all make good ones. Directions would come with the sample. The primary thing is to ensure that you are rinsing well after washing. It can get a little messy. You could even use the log cleaner on the paneling, if you want to stain the paneling rather than paint it.

I'd also recommend calling Schroeder Log Home Supplies and asking for their free catalog. It lists prices and info about a variety of products. In addition to that, it is a good resource with articles for restoring and maintaining your log home. 1-800-359-614.

Lastly, your question about paint at the end of your post....was the paint for the paneling or were you considering it for the logs? Painting paneling would be fine. Painting logs wouldn't.

Thanks much for the advice.  I might get some sample log cleaning products as you suggested.   The painting was for the paneling, some of the interior doors, and the trim around the doors and windows.   The cabin is very dark inside (need to keep the lights on in the daytime!) primarily I think because the logs and everything wood has just discolored and gotten dark over time.    Painting the paneling is basically one interior wall, half the length of the cabin, that separates the bedroom from the living area.   Except for the bathroom everythign else is log (round, not flat on the interior walls).   The painting is an attempt to lighten things up a bit. Thanks.
Ok. So  here are a few photos.  (Sorry for the people in them!).   Just to give you an idea.  It is daylight outside and we have all the lights on.   I don't even think the interior walls (logs) have ever been cleaned, dusted, washed, etc.  So help.  Do I call in a professional to get some opinions on what to do with this cabin.  We are thinking of painted some of the interior wood such as the paneling on on interior wall (see the woodstove pic) and perhaps the moldings around the interior doorways and the windows.  Though folks say we are crazy to do that. Short of stripping all the wood we dont know what really to do.  Maybe we should be emptying out the furniture and hire a company to come and sand blast the entire place.  This place is in southern Vermont (think Okemo area).  Any companies out there in the business of doing this kind of thing that I can call for an opinion.  We would rather DIY but open to lots of opinions.  Help.  


It looks to me as if their has been a finish previously applied, as well as some graying from the sun.  To better determine if this is true, might I recommend hand sanding in an inconspicuous area in better expose the natural wood tone?


It does however appear that you have plenty of windows in your home which can let in the sunlight, and if your interior logs are not properly protected from the UV rays, this can cause some "darkening."  High quality finishes like ours, contain components knows as UV inhibitors that chemically protect the underlying wood from the effects of sun exposure. Something with a gloss finish to it would also help reflect some of the harmful UV rays as well.


Your possibilities also vary depending on how you would like to approach the whole situation.  Do you want to completely strip those walls or just clean them with a cleaning solution made to remove the grayed wood fibers?


Another thing to consider, if you do plan on staining the interior of your home, I would strongly suggest using a water based product.  Most interior oil based finishes can put off some harmful vapors, and in turn, take days even weeks to evaporate.  Water based has minimal health effects.


I hope this information was helpful and not overwhelming...should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.


~Cathy Mortensen

Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.

Sales/Customer Service, Colorado Branch

(800) 433-8781

Would there be a consultant available in my area who could actually come to the cabin and take a look and make a recommendation?   Even normal walls get dirty.   If I want to just clean the walls inside can you recommend a product(s) I can use to clean the walls short of emptying the entire contents of the house and bringing in the hose?  Like maybe a bucket of something and a rag or scrub brush.   What do folks use to clean the inside walls of cabins just to get them clean.  (if it was painted wallboard I'd use water an ammonnia or spic and span!) 

I'm sure we could give out some referrals.  Go ahead and give us a call or you can contact me directly via email:  We can also provide you with samples of cleaning products, free of charge.  Either way we would be glad to help.


I have attached some of our Cleaning Guidelines and some tech tips for interior care for informative reasons.  Keep in mind that no matter which product you decide to use, it is extremely important to rinse the solution off completely. And yes, this can be achieved without the use of a pressure washer.  When you clean your dishes do you double check and make sure you have any left over residue from your dish soap?  Otherwise it would leave a film on your glasses or a foul taste in your mouth correct?  The same rules apply in cleaning your log home as well (not the taste in your mouth however).






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