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Go Back   BHM Forum > Self-Reliance & Preparedness > Hands-on > Building/Tools


Building/Tools Anything to do with construction, remodeling, etc.

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Old 04-16-2010, 10:19 AM
Dobelo17 Dobelo17 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 155
Smile Whats the best sealant for a log cabin

Good Morning everyone,

I know a lot of you have built log cabins. What is the best treatment for the
logs? I have been looking a lots of stains and sealants but they all claim to be the best.
What works for you guys. The logs are pine. I need to get to this project asap so the
logs stay nice and no rot sets in. Thanks for your help.

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Old 04-16-2010, 10:53 AM
NCLee NCLee is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 5,174

Becky, is this a homebuilt or one from a company that produces log homes. If the latter you may want to check with them as to what they recommend (if anything) and apply when they recommend doing so.

You may not want a sealer, at least for a while. A sealer can trap moisture in the logs, which can cause more rot than what you'd get from unsealed logs. Not only from moisture that still may remain in the logs, but also from water produced by living activities inside the home.

A well constructed log home is designed to shed water from the log notches. They can last a 100 years without anything applied to the exterior. The logs just weather naturally.

My neighbor built a log home 25-30 years ago. As far as I know, the logs weren't sealed with anything. Other than some problems with powder post beatles, his home is still doing fine.

Just my 2-cents, till, someone else can offer better advice based on direct experience.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
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Old 04-17-2010, 07:21 PM
Dobelo17 Dobelo17 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 155

Hi NClee,

Thanks for the reply. The cabin was built by an amish gentleman. I thought I should stain
it to keep out mositure and pests. Maybe I should let it dry for awhile and then stain it.

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Old 05-10-2010, 06:23 AM
keydl keydl is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 451

One of the things not normally considered is sodium silicate ( waterglass ) if it is chinked.

Location makes a big difference, in cold country it needs a vapor barrier on the inside to keep the logs dry and not frozen wet from water vapor goinng through the logs and chinking.

If the logs are milled with caulk - same way.

If the logs are set on fiberglass - it needs caulked.

If the heat and cool balance seal the side that is to the wet.

If you are cooling more than 250 days a year, seal the outside.

On the outside make SURE that the material is UV protected.

In the Co/ WY Rockies it was common to use limewash or whitewash - turned them white, then they were covered with clabord and limewashed when money for improvements came along. Some were plastered on the logs and some were lathed first on the inside. One was stuccoed and rotted about 3 feet up. I took several apart when the Air Academy was assembled near Colo. Springs.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:33 PM
Dobelo17 Dobelo17 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 155
Smile what sealant is best


Thanks for the answers. I have decided to seal the outside of the cabin with an oil based
deck stain and sealant. I will leave the inside alone for the next year so it can cure some
more. Then I will put on a clear coat inside next summer. I live in Northern WI. So the outside needs to be done much worse then the inside. We put in steps and have decided
to rock around the outside then put down some mulch. As soon as it rains everything gets
really muddy and wet.

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Old 06-20-2010, 07:03 PM
keydl keydl is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 451

No termites - just fungus, antifreeze will kill fungus behind the rocks.

Before heating season caulk the inside unless it is chinked, clear siliconized acrylic or color to match.

Finish the inside at the end of summer for lower moisture content of the logs.
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:21 PM
DM DM is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,236

This company has very good products...

Limit all politicians to two terms: One in office, one in prison. Illinois already does this!

Illegal immigration is ruining America, look what it has done to the White House.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:35 PM
LogSmithy Male LogSmithy is offline
New Member
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2
Default "Sealing" a log building ..........

Hi Becky!

Solid log walls must be allowed to breath. Humidity changes throughout the year cause wood to expand and contract. The ambient moisture level in your location is constantly trying to equalize. "Breathable" log finishes designed for log walls is needed. Joints can be sealed with caulk but applying a deck finsh is akin to putting the bark back on those logs. "Breathable" stains allow water to eveporate or be taken in in a gaseous state and repell water in a liquid form. Tyvek works similarly in that it allows the building to breath but repells water in a liquid form.

Hope this helps and makes sense to you. NEVER EVER PAINT A LOG WALL no matter how old the wood walls are! Rot will begin inside and under the coating and progress long before you detect it.

Bill Lasko

Last edited by Anon001; 07-14-2010 at 11:42 PM. Reason: NO personal active links allowed
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:04 PM
LogSmithy Male LogSmithy is offline
New Member
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2
Default Kelly ....... about log wall finishes .........

HI Kelley!!

Boiled Linseed Oil is used as a base for a lot of oil-based paints and stains. My understanding is it can actually be food for mildew and rot on logs. The destinction
being logs in verticle walls and not horizontal flat surfaces. "Sealer" is a mis-used word. In regards to wood, "sealing" means locking out water and this is fine on
lumber and decks. Solid log walls, however, maintain sort of an atmosphere all of thier own - what I mean is, their mass will always being trying to equalize their
moisture content with your current relative humidity, changing seasonally. Applying a true "sealer" traps that water in the log and it can't "breath". An impermeable
coating will hide this for a while but you will soon learn that water will migrate to the surface beneath this coating and condensate in ever so minute amounts - but
enough to feed mildew and rot. Boiled Lin-seed Oil is not a true "sealer" and will allow the logs to breath. I prefer the use of water-based breathable log stains but
you have to choose one or the other as they can't be applied (normally) over each other. The point is this, the breathable finishes allow water to pass as the log naturally
wants to equalize to the air around it. They stop or repell water in a liquid state but not in a gasesous state. Boiled Lin-seed Oil has no pigment in it so it isn't doing your
house a lot of good. The sun is able to burn through it easily and that is the blackening you described. It must be cleaned to clean wood, treated with a good preservative and the stained with a good breathable finish.

The sun is your logs worst enemy. The ultraviolet rays of the sun break down the pigment base in your finishes. The more pigment the darker the colors and better job done
protecting from the sun's rays. The more pigment, usually the higher cost of the stain too. If the sun has broken down the pigments you can check by simply spritzing some
water on the walls and if it beads up and drips - it is ok but if it just dampens the surface - the stain is no longer performing and this part of your annual care and maintenance
chores in owning a log home. The side of the house getting the most stain will need your attention the most. You'll want to restain after cleaning the log surfaces free of pollen and other "dirt" on these surfaces. Want less maintenance? Consider a porch on the side of the house the most sun gets to. Want little or no maintenance - build a porch all the way around it and your finishes can last 30 years and longer!

I hope this has been helpful for you. If you need further assistance - just ask!

Bill Lasko

Last edited by Anon001; 07-14-2010 at 11:44 PM. Reason: NO personal active links allowed.
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:45 PM
MooseToo MooseToo is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: south central ky
Posts: 5,931

Originally Posted by LogSmithy View Post

Want less maintenance? Consider a porch on the side of the house the most sun gets to. Want little or no maintenance - build a porch all the way around it and your finishes can last 30 years and longer!
and if you want even less maintenance than that you can always cover the whole shebang with sheet metal - fastened to lath, of course, to fascilitate air movement -
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