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What’s Best For Log Home Stains: Oil Base or Water Base?

When it comes to stains for log homes, people love to debate about the pros and cons of oil-based stains versus water-based latex stains. Thanks to environmental awareness and EPA standards, both types of stains have reduced their VOC content and become comparable in many ways. When it comes down to it, making the right choice depends on what’s best for each home’s unique characteristics such as the type, age, and condition of the logs and geographical location.

Choosing stain over paint is one of the best things you can do for your log home. Remember that log homes need to breathe. If a house painter suggests using paint or a budget brand of generic stain for your log home, stop and consult with a professional log home expert before making a decision. When traditional house paints are applied to log homes, they can damage the logs. Not only does it look unattractive as the paint peels, flakes and cracks, but it requires costly and time-consuming blasting to remove before you can properly stain the logs. 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.

You should always use stains that are intended for log homes. The right stain applied to a log home makes your logs look good and allows them to breathe while still offering protection against the elements.

Before you decide what type of stain to use, don’t forget that no matter which type you choose, if you don’t prepare the surface of the logs properly, you’re wasting your money. Nothing is more important than proper surface preparation of the logs before applying stain. If the surface of the logs have not been prepped correctly the stains won’t perform as they are supposed to. This is why it is important to invest in the services of a professional log home expert for projects like these. They have the knowledge and expertise to prep, choose the right stain, and make sure your home is both beautiful and protected well into the future.

Log home staining practices have changed over the years because of the changes in the products themselves. We are frequently asked about the advantages of oil based vs. latex based stains on log homes. 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.

Regarding the differences, there are many. 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. Really, we don’t choose one over the other in all cases, instead we consult with each client and look at the home’s location, building materials and environment to recommend which stain we feel would perform exceptionally well, protect the home, and last longer.

And bottom line – whether you choose an oil-base or water-base stain, it really comes down to the quality of the product. Highly advertised budget stains can often be low performers. While good stains may require a larger investment, in the long run your wallet wins with longer-lasting, high quality stain that protects and beatifies for much longer than lower-quality ones.

If you are considering staining for your log home or cabin, please take a few moments to 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 you make sure your home stays healthy and looks great!


JonWhat’s Best For Log Home Stains: Oil Base or Water Base?

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