Why is it important to use products specifically for log homes?
Put simply: Put simply: logs move – a lot. Wood of any kind undergoes significant percentages of movement in response to moisture and temperature changes. In dimensional lumber like a 2x4, the result is twisting, cupping, and warping. (We’ve all walked on that really bad deck.) Logs endure these same forces, but due to their much larger mass, it’s much greater and the effects much more prominent, like those 1” wide checks. Eek!
All of this movement puts a lot of stress on the surface of the logs, which means the products applied to them are stressed more, too. Most products made for conventional dimensional lumber don’t need to endure this movement, so the manufacturers don’t formulate much flexibility and elasticity into them. Unfortunately, this prevents them from performing well when applied to logs because they can’t move with the logs when they move. The most common failure is cracking or peeling.
Most log home products are formulated with some degree of added elasticity to them. In particular, the sealants (caulking and chinking) used must include good degrees of elasticity to them in order to perform on a log home. Some stains will be more elastic than others, as well. Most makers of log home finishing products understand the special dynamics of logs and formulate to those needs.
There’s so much more we could discuss here, but the upshot is this: when choosing which products to use for finishing and maintenance, start with specialty log home products. Skip the hardware or big box store products. They just can’t handle logs.
Published on: December 12th, 2018
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