How Often Do You Have to Seal Log Homes?
Log homes have a beautiful, sturdy look that many people enjoy. Such homes need maintenance just as other types of homes do, but a log home is also no more difficult to maintain than other types of homes. The frequency at which you need to reseal a log home depends on how well the construction of the joints between logs holds up. You should inspect your log walls every ten years, and any time air seems to be leaking between logs. You need to reseal only when the previous sealant is compromised.
With all of the seams between logs, it shouldn’t be surprising that log homes develop air leaks. This is because the logs, which contain water when your log home is constructed, dry out over time. When this happens, the logs shrink, creating gaps. These drafts can suck the warmth out of your home and increase your energy bill. Most builders try to dry out the logs they use, to avoid this problem, but it can still occur. Builders will also construct log homes using methods designed to minimize drafts between logs. These may include using double tongue-and-groove notching in the logs and using rubber gaskets between the logs, both of which help keep the house sealed.
Sealing your log home does more than just stop drafts. It protects the logs themselves from damage. This is particularly important with logs that are close to the ground. If left unsealed, the constant exposure to the elements can lead to logs that are stained or decaying in spots. It is more expensive to replace or repair a damaged log than to simply maintain the log home with a sealant.
Despite these measures, problems will occur over time unless you seal your log home. You won’t have to seal your log home often. How often depends on the weather conditions where the log home is located and how well the sealant was applied. If properly applied, a sealant could last the life of your home. Don't assume this to be the case, though. Inspect your walls every ten years to be sure no problems are developing. If you find sealant problems, you may be able to just do a spot sealing rather than resealing an entire wall. However, if you feel a draft before your inspection time or notice discoloration on a log, check it out and take action to fix the problem before it becomes larger and more costly and difficult to repair.
Look at the chinked joints in your exterior walls. In particular, check areas that are exposed to a lot of water and snow. These are areas that are typically close to the ground. Look for damaged sealant. Many times, it can actually be pulled off of a log.
If the sealant remains largely intact, you may be able to just do a touch up. Otherwise, you will have to pull all the sealant off and replace it. Don’t apply new sealant over old sealant, according to OhioLogHomeRestoration.com. The new sealant will wind up bonding to only the old sealant, which will still leave the gap that air can flow through.