If you’re keeping an eye on your log home walls for signs of wood damage, great! But there are a few other sneaky spots susceptible to wood rot as well – outlookers and corners. Outlookers (sometimes called outriggers) are those triangular-shaped extensions of rafter beams that extend beyond the wall line. While functional, they also add decorative charm to your home’s exterior. Corners are… well, the corners, that place where logs intersect. Both, unfortunately, are able to hide signs of wood rot easier than the main logs of a wall, letting damage get out of hand before it’s spotted.
Regular inspection of your log home for wood damage or rot is essential. The next time you take a walk around the exterior of your home, be sure to take a close look at any outlookers and all the corners as a part of your inspection. When looking at the wood, check for signs of mildew, white powder, or soft wood, all signs of moisture damage. Check for soft wood by tapping on the logs with the handle of a screwdriver. If it sounds hollow, like a ripe watermelon, be sure to note the spot and have a professional log home contractor take a closer look.
Corners have the disadvantage of being the spot where the log ends and the grain is exposed. This portion of the log is particularly vulnerable, with the exposed grain acting like tiny straws, drawing excessive moisture into the wood. This creates a natural place for moisture buildup that causes damage and wood rot and practically invites insects to come in and make themselves at home. Some signs that insects such as carpenter ants, termites or beetles have moved in include burrowing holes, small piles of sawdust and seeing the actual insects themselves.
To prevent woot rot and damage at the corners, be sure they are protected from excessive moisture as much as possible. Fix leaky gutters or install new ones if you don’t have any. Cut back trees or bushes that are too close to the corners and rub against the logs. Never place woodpiles directly against walls or corners, either, allow a few inches of space for air flow.
Outlookers and corners also can be damaged over time from exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Without proper protection, the logs become brittle, begin to breakdown or rot, and will need staining, sealing or repairs much more often. Sun damage can be prevented with the use of stains and sealants specifically formulated for log homes.
If damage to outlookers or log corners is minimal and caught early, you can repair them yourself by sanding down the area, then reapplying log stain and clear sealant. This provides a durable water and sun protectant against the elements.
If damage seems more pervasive, it’s best to consult with a log home restoration specialist. Rot, moisture damage, insect infestations, cracking and other problems that can plague outlookers and log corners must be dealt with right away. For rot, damage needs to be cut away and the logs repaired. Log sections that match need to be used, and the resulting repair work done carefully so that everything matches. New log sections must then be coasted with special finishes that resist insects, mold, and mildew, but also allow the log to “breathe” — allowing water that gets inside the log to evaporate and escape, while at the same time repelling more moisture from getting in.
If you have any questions about outlookers, log corners, or log ends on your log home, please call or email us here at Prolog Restorations. Our log home log repair and replacement specialists will help you decide if you need immediate repairs or just need to keep an eye on things for future maintenance. If you need repairs, we can remove damaged areas or entire logs and replace them with new material that matches the original structure for type of wood, stain, sealers and other finishes to seamlessly blend with the rest of your home. We’re here to help, just call 877-477-6564 or email email@example.com.