Log cabins have been the fabric of our landscape dating back to the colonial times. We can all picture the rustic log homes that the pioneers built and lived in as they were settling across America. Today, log cabins still remain a favorite home to many. If you are lucky enough to live in a log home, you understand the special appeal they have.
Just as in any other home, log cabins require care to maintain their exteriors. Periodically, homeowners need to check the log cabin’s exterior for any signs of damage or decay. As with any wood product, being sure that the wood is protected from excess water or moisture is key to guaranteeing the longevity of your home. With that thought in mind, following these guidelines will help maintain your log home.
Leave some “breathing room” around your house. To keep the rain from splashing back onto your logs, you need to be sure that the earth is not touching the bottom log of your home. Leave at least six inches between the ground and the bottom log of your home. As with any home, be sure that the ground slopes away from the house and not toward the house. It is important that any water be able to drain away. If you are just looking into log home construction, carefully consider the layout of your land when choosing the spot to build your home upon.
You also need to remember the “breathing room” rule when planting and landscaping around your home. You will want to allow a few feet of distance between your home and any trees or shrubs on your property. When planting trees or shrubs, keep in mind their size at maturity and plan accordingly. You may need to trim or relocate plants if they get too close to your house. This will help prevent excess rain from running onto your home, and it also allows air circulation and sunshine to do its drying work.
To find out if the logs on your home are adequately repelling moisture, observe the logs in a rainstorm or spray them with the hose to see what happens. If the water rolls right off, the logs are in good shape. But, if the water is absorbed into the logs, then it is probably time for a new coat of stain. If in doubt, have one of the local log home builders in your area inspect your home.
Ultimately, careful planning and moisture control will help ensure that your log home stays around for the next generation to enjoy.