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Refinishing Outside Logs and Suggestions for Landscaping

Our log home is located in Western NC at 2300 Feet elevation about 16 miles North of the South Carolina border.  Generally, our winters are not sever.  Summer days seldom exceed the mid-80's.


I am a new log home owner and new to this forum.  Our home was finished June 2010.  The contractor used 2 coats of Sikkens #996 clear sealer on 6" X 8" D type red airmatic cedar Kil'n dried tongue and grove, with butyl tape bolted every 30" logs.  I have noticed that some of the logs have faded to a whitish color.  I appreciate suggestions to correct the problem. 


Also, I have landscaped most of the property which is bordered by three stone retaining walls.  Forward of the front retaining wall is not landscaped and very steep.  I intend to remove the growth at this location consisting of various prickly bushes and young trees.  My problem is deciding on replacement plantings.  I would like to use something reasonable in costs and maintenance.  The area is too steep to plant grass. Again, suggestions are appreciated.

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Comment by James W. Harbin on March 3, 2012 at 12:51pm

Hello Jack, Cedar is a low moisture wood to begin with. Once it is installed in the environment it absorbs very little moisture because of it's own oils and resins. You used a good product and it was applied too thickly or in cool temperatures. Cedar does not absorb oils readily so, I would suggest that you leave it alone for a while rather than adding additional material. Cedar will take care of itself for a while until you can refinish it again with a slight tint. Have fun with it.  Jim and Pam Katahdin Cedar Log Homes




Comment by CharisB on January 24, 2012 at 1:57pm

Jack - 

You'll want to get yourself a moisture meter to check moisture content.  It won't matter what they were after kiln drying, as the time on site has probably changed that.  You can get inexpensive moisture meters online for around $50, or you can buy really expensive ones for around $400.  In my not-so-humble opinion, the cheap ones work, so why spend the extra $$? Can you post pics of the white you mention?  You said it's turning white.  Is it just the wood getting lighter, or does it look like white staining of some kind?  That may determine whether or not you should apply another coat of stain right now.  Sikkens is breathable, but if it was applied too heavily or too many coats were applied, that certainly slows the moisture evaporation rate.  So post some pics, if you can.

Hope that helps some. You can always email me directly, if / when you want to.  Otherwise, I keep my eye on the forum here.

Thanks!  -- Charis w/ Sashco - -

Comment by Jack Caldwell on January 23, 2012 at 8:22pm

Ray, I have since discovered that the Sikkens 996 is a natural light stain.  So it is tinted.  The subcontractor that did the painting had previously told me that the product was clear.   After checking with the manufacturer the extent of the UV protection the light stain has, I will probablyo go over the 996 with the same product.  I have also learned that the logs were stained after they were put up.  The red cedar logs were purchased from a dealer in AR.  As you suggested, I am trying to find out the identity of the company so I can determine the percentage of moisture left in the logs after being kiln dried.  Thanks again for your assistance. 

Comment by Raymond Wengerd on January 23, 2012 at 6:38pm

I was suggesting going over top of the clear with tinted, I would assume up to three times in those 15 yers, I am hearing you get 5 to 8 years out of sikkens. We restore and maintain lots of log homes, but I am not too familiar with acrylics or waterbased stains. I would recommend contacting the manufacturer and finding out excactly what (if any) UV protection your clear coat has. The tint won't take like it would on bare wood, but it will still give some UV protection.

Also it could be possible that the spots you see are a result of moisture trying to escape from within the log, if they were sealed with a non breathable sealant on both sides, you will see excessive checking and or discoloring in certain areas as the logs finish dryig out........again I don't know if sikkens claims to offer a breathable moisture barrier. Also if the wood was under 15% moisture, this shouldn't be a problem.

Comment by Jack Caldwell on January 23, 2012 at 4:32pm

Ray,  Thanks for your suggestions.  Questions:  Are you saying that if I remove the Sikkens 996 currently in place and replace it with 2 coats of tinted sikkens, it would not have to be done again for 10 or 15 years?   If I use the tinted sikkens to go over the sikkens 996, do you know how long that will last?

Comment by Raymond Wengerd on January 23, 2012 at 4:08pm

On your stain I would check the pigment content if it was a true clear coat, your logs are blanching from UV rays. Color pigments provide UV protection, and though its nice to keep a natural look on your logs, only a few brands allow you that natural look while giving you the proper UV protection. We use Lovitts. In your case I would get a tinted sikkens to go over top of your sikkens. Long term you may want to remove the existing sealers, but this could buy 10 to 15 years. After about 2 coats of tinted, you can switch back to a clear.

In front of the retaining wall, you could consider a mix of hostas and ground cover like ivy for a low maintenance, low to the ground, shade to mixed exposure area. To add body, holly, rhodedenron, azelia, vibernum and dogwoods would thrive there.

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