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How to Prevent Cracks From Growing

4 key things to do to slow down the rate of evaporation and rate of cracking.

Sponsored by Sashco Sealants
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HELP! My new log home is getting large checks and crack all over the interior and it was just built a few months ago. What's going on? What can I do to prevent the cracks from growing?

 

 
As your new logs are acclimating to their new environment, they’re going to give up any excess moisture, causing them to shrink and move beyond what they can handle. All of that pressure has to give somewhere, and it usually means checks and cracks form. You’ll probably notice more of it happening as you turn on the heat. All of that warm air speeds up the rate of evaporation. The wood is forced to move more quickly than normal. The pressures keep coming! 
 
The good news: you can slow down the rate of evaporation and, therefore, the rate of cracking (and often the size of the cracks) by doing a few things:
 
1.) Seal up those logs
Apply a quality clear coat that will allow the logs to let off moisture at a more steady rate. (Bonus: a clear coat is more friendly when it comes time to clean dust off.)
2.) Invest in a whole-home humidifier
Especially if you’re in a really dry climate, using a whole-home humidifier will ensure that the rate of evaporation is controlled and, thus, the movement happens at a more reasonable rate. Run the humidifier for the first couple of winters, until your home has done the majority of its shrinking and is at home in its new environment.
3.) Turn up the heat slowly
Don’t go from 60 during the week while you’re not at the cabin and then immediately crank it up to 72 when you arrive for your weekend. Use a programmable thermostat to slowly turn up the heat over 3-4 days before you arrive.
4.) Remember: Cracks & Checks Build Character
Or, rather, they ARE character and make your home unique. Some checks and cracks are normal and are part of the charm of living in a log home. On the interior, feel free to leave them open if you like the character. (We’d always recommend sealing them on the exterior to prevent rot and insect infestations.)
 
Published on: December 6th, 2017

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