Log homes have a unique beauty all their own, and the right kind of stain protects that beauty, allowing it to shine through while adding a touch of color and personality. When it comes to wood stains for log homes, though, the choices can get overwhelming. A handful of years ago you only had a handful of choices, but today the sky’s the limit, making it hard to know if you’re choosing the right product to get the job done.
We’ve specialized in log home staining, repairs and restoration for over 20 years helping log home owners throughout California and Idaho. With so many choices available, choosing the right stain might seem like an intimidating task, so we put together this list of common questions and answers to help.
Q: What’s the difference between oil and latex stains
A: Not many years ago oil-based stains were the majority of what was used on log homes. In today’s market, however, water-based latex stains have improved dramatically and are often used as well. Some of the differences are that water-based stains are easy to clean up with soap and water, while oils require a solvent based cleaner. Water-based stains dry faster than oil-based ones. Oil-based stains can result in much richer colors than water-based.
Q: Should I use oil or latex stain on my log home?
A: Choosing the right stain for your home depends on factors such as type, age, condition of the logs and geographical location. For each home, the answer can be different, so it’s best to consult with a professional log home maintenance contractor. They will look at factors including the home’s location, building materials and environment to recommend which stain would perform well, protect the home, and last longer.
Q: Are conventional wood stains ok for a log home?
A: All stains are not made alike. While it may seem easier and cheaper to buy a wood stain at your local home improvement store, choosing one that’s been specifically formulated for log homes will save you money in the long run, and keep your home looking its best.
Be sure that the stain provides UV protection for your logs. The surface of logs needs to be protected from the damaging rays of the sun, similar to applying sunscreen. Avoid using clear finishes alone because they provide less UV protection from the sun. While good stains may be a bit more of an investment, in the long run your budget will thank you as a longer-lasting, high-quality product will protect and beautify for much longer than lower-quality ones.
Q: If I live in a dry climate, do I need to stain or seal my logs?
A: One common myth is that if you live in a dry area, you don’t need to stain or seal. Not true. A stain’s main function is to both repel moisture AND protect the logs from damaging UV rays. Dry areas with lots of sun, like California, still need stain’s protection in order to keep the logs in prime condition.
Q: Can I paint my log home?
A: Paint is not a good choice for log homes. If a house painter or contractor suggests using paint or a budget brand of stain for your log home, stop and consult with a professional log home expert before making a decision. Traditional house paints or stains can actually damage logs by sealing in moisture and accelerating moisture damage and rot. Paint also will quickly peel, flake and crack and will require blasting to remove. Repainting isn’t a good option either, as paint layers that build up over the years will seal in moisture and cause the logs to rot.
Q: What should I do to prep logs before applying stain?
A: Taking the time to prep your logs before applying stain will help it last even longer. Read the instructions thoroughly and reach out to a log cabin restoration professional if you have any questions before starting. Be sure to clean your logs properly, then thoroughly dry them before applying stain. Follow with a clear coat to add an extra layer of longevity, durability and protection against the elements.
Q: What color stain should I choose?
A: When thinking about the colors you want for your log home or getaway cabin, consider your personal preferences, homes you admire, and the ambiance or curb appeal you’d like to create. In general, lighter stains are used to create a bright and open feel. For the interior of the home, lighter colors can make rooms seem larger and more open. Dark colors, on the other hand, can be used to create a more intimate, subtle curb appeal outside, while creating a cozy and warm feeling inside.
If you can’t decide, you can always take a mix-and-match approach. A two-tone look is becoming very popular with log homes and creates a unique, stylish, and memorable look for your home. Try a darker color for the logs and a lighter one for windows and roofline. Or the other way around. The best look is the one you like best, so don’t worry about the rules.
If you are considering stain for your log home or cabin and would like some advice, give us a call at 877-477-6564 for a free consultation about what the best move is for the health, beauty and longevity of your home. We’ve specialized in log home staining, repairs and restoration for over 20 years and have the knowledge, equipment and experience to help your home stay healthy and look great!