Maintenance Checklist for Your Log Cabin or Home
- Check that the landscaping around your home isn’t too close, and trim back bushes, shrubs and trees that are within 3 feet of the walls.
- Check the roof for any green or growing material (moss, lichens, pollen, etc.) and remove with a pressure wash.
- Check for darkening logs, which can indicate that the logs are holding moisture or have started to decay.
- Check for settling. Windows & door trim are good areas to check, as they can show how much the home has settled or compressed. Other obvious signs are windows & doors that don’t open well, and caulking/chinking that is squished or stretched.
- Check for failed caulking/chinking around the home every spring. These areas will include corners, doors, windows, checks in logs, and lateral chink/caulk lines. Mark these spots and remove the bad areas of caulking or chinking with a razor or knife. This allows the area behind the caulk to properly dry out (moisture is the most likely culprit for the caulking not adhering to the logs). Once fully dry, apply caulk or chink to the area, making sure to match the existing caulking or chinking line. Do this before you apply a maintenance coat of stain (unless you have white chinking).
- During heavy rain, check for water leaks in the interior of the home and mark for repair (pictures are a good way to document).
- Check for flaking or peeling stain, or areas that have worn down to bare wood. Also note if the finish is nice & shiny or starting to look dull, as a dull finish is a good indicator that you’ll need to perform maintenance of some type soon. A good time to do this is after the home has had a chance to dry from a power wash. Knowing the type of finish you have is important, too – oil-based finishes will turn blond in areas where the finish is wearing off (check knots & walls), while waterborne latex will lose its glossy finish and turn dull when it is needs a maintenance coat.
- Check for ice build-up & ice dams during the winter and document for repairs
- Check that the placement of sprinklers & sprinkler systems do not allow water to contact the home
- Clean gutters of leaves and debris, and check that they are still in good condition and working correctly.
- Go around the base of the home, and clean any debris like pine needles, leaves, etc. off the logs.
- Cut back any logs that extend past the roofline of the home, as this can lead to log decay.
- If you found flaking/peeling stain, you’ll need to sand, clean, and recoat the areas, or get a quote from a log home maintenance professional.
- Power wash regularly – a yearly wash of your log home is a great way to remove buildup of dust, pollen, bird and insect droppings, which can be abrasive, and helps to extend the life of the logs in your home. At minimum, wash your home at least once every two years.
- Don’t stack firewood next to your home, as this can encourage moisture & pests.
- Little holes can become big problems. Small holes, tears, and cracks in the caulking/chinking are an entry point for moisture to find its way beneath the finish of the logs, which can lead to mildew/mold and log decay.
- Regular maintenance is important! If you let issues get past a certain point, you’ll no longer be able to maintain the finish, and will need to have the wall or even the whole home restored by a professional, which is much more costly.
Many log home companies offer regular maintenance programs, which can save both money and time over the years, and ensures that log home professionals are taking a good look at your home on a regular basis.