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The Difference Between Logs and 2x4s

Three of the (very technical) reasons why logs are special.

Sponsored by Sashco Sealants
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Beside their shape, how are logs different than a normal 2x4 (and why should I care)?

You didn't choose a home make with 2x4's for a reason: any old wood just wouldn't do. Each and every log has its own unique grain pattern, knots, and history, just as your home has its own unique design and memories connected to it.

Here are just three of the (very technical) reasons why logs are special.

1.) Logs get really hot

From winter to summer and everywhere in between, the upper curvature of a round log is hit by the full force of the sun at a 90 angle through much of the day. In the summer months when ambient temperatures are in the low 90's, the upper curvature can exceed 170F!

Conventional lumber, on the other hand, is usually hit by the sun at a lesser angle that allows much of the sun's energy to be reflected away. That surface on the same summer day might only reach 110 -- much cooler than logs.

2.) Logs move . . . a lot

Wood of any kind undergoes significant movement in response to both moisture and temperature changes. In dimensional lumber like 2x4, this results in twisting, cupping, warping, and occasionally cracking and splitting. Logs endure these same forces, but because they're bigger, the effects are bigger, too. Logs aren't quite strong enough to undure these forces without breaking (something's gotta give, right?), so splits and checks develop to relieve the stress. The bigger the log, the bigger the internal stresses, which means more movement and larger check and cracks. And speak of . . .

Logs crack and check

The moisture that soaks in through cracks and checks usually finds its way underneath whatever stain or paint is on the logs. Much of this moisture exits back out of the wood through the cracks and checks. However, a good amount also exits (attempts to exit) through the stain or paint. Thing is, stains and paints are stubborn. They don't like the moisture trying t come. Pressure builds up under the pain or stain and, over time, this can lead to flaking and peeling.

So what?

Whew! That's a lot of technical stuff to simply say that it'ss important to use products formulated specifically for logs, able to handle the unique stresses and look great doing it. Fact is, your log home is the colmination of years of dreaming and planning, back by a bit (or maybe a lot!) of sweat equity. Don't try to protect your dream home with products from a company who doesn't know logs from a 2x4.

Published on: March 12th, 2018

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