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How to Refinish Log Siding

Marlene Affeld

Log siding is an exterior covering that looks like log home construction. However, the home is not built entirely from logs; often "D" logs, or half-round logs, are applied in place of more traditional siding. Wood boards or planks are also cut from logs and applied to the exterior of conventional construction as an attractive, energy-efficient, protective siding. But log siding is a natural material, subject to the ravages of wind and weather. By following a few simple steps, you can easily restore your log siding to its original beauty.

  1. Inspect the home. Look for damaged siding, insect infestation, fungi or mold. Treat and repair as required. Replace any rotten or broken siding.

  2. Clean the siding. Sweep from eves to foundation with a stiff broom to remove pollen, cobwebs and dust. Use a pressure nozzle on a garden hose or a commercial pressure washer at a low setting to wash from the top of the walls to the foundation. Allow to air-dry.

  3. Prepare a mixture of one part household bleach, one part biodegradable degreaser such as Simple Green, and 12 parts water. Scrub the log siding, starting at the bottom of the foundation and working upward to the top. Rinse from the top down. Allow to air-dry for several days before proceeding. (This step is only necessary if the logs evidence mold, mildew or staining discoloration.) For excessive staining and mold, use a commercial oxalic acid concentrate, available from home and building supply centers.

  4. Chink as required. Some chinking can crack and fall apart over time. Replace with a flexible commercial chinking compound. Chinking can be applied with a caulking gun or with a putty knife. Seek the advice of a log home restoration contractor to choose the correct type to use for your application. Read and follow package label directions.

  5. Do not sand log siding without a consultation from a professional log home restoration contractor. Many homes have been seriously damaged by aggressive sanding. If extensive surface cleaning is required, the contractor may suggest blasting with crushed glass, walnut hulls or corn cobs.

  6. Seal with an penetrating oil-based sealer. Stain can be added to change the color or intensity of the tone of the logs. Stain and sealers protect the logs from UV rays and coat the wood fibers to repel mold and fungi. Stain may be applied with an airless spray or brushed on by hand. Give an extra coat to walls that have constant sun or wind exposure.