Log Home Upkeep

by Jane VanOsdol on July 27, 2011

Log home living can’t help but draw you closer to nature.  The colors and textures of the natural materials make it feel as is you’ve been plopped into the middle of a woodland wonderland. As you’re enjoying the serene beauty of your home, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Log homes require vigilance on your part as to the maintenance and upkeep of the home.

The reason you need to remain on guard is that logs which are machine milled, hand hewn, flat faced or beams all share a common characteristic; whether they have been air dried or dried in a kiln, they will all expand and contract along with changes in the temperature and humidity. This expanding and contracting can cause the logs to warp and twist, which can in turn cause some maintenance issues.

  • Joints can pull apart
  • Sealants can fail
  • Caulking can come loose

Like the domino effect, these conditions can leave your log home at risk for developing further problems, as detailed below, if they are not found and fixed.


The above conditions can leave your home vulnerable to insects, with termites being the most serious concern. Termites bore tunnels into the logs of your home, and if you don’t realize they’re present, their tunneling can eventually cause major structural damage. Other types of insects, such as ants, beetles and bees, will also bore into the wood, but they don’t cause as much damage as termites can.

Air Infiltration

Another problem that can occur is that air now has a means of entrance into your home through these defects. This will of course reduce your energy efficiency, and eventually you may notice that the home feels cooler in the winter and hotter in the summer. You may also notice a difference in your utility bills.

Water Infiltration

A third problem that can occur from the joint, sealant and caulking issues is that water has a pathway into the logs and/or your home. This can lead to mold and mildew problems, staining of the logs, and worst of all, wood rot.

One way you can avoid all these problems is to be sure you are carefully maintaining your home. Naturally, summer is the perfect time to perform a few inspections to make sure that all is well with your home and will be for the fall and winter seasons.

Walk around your home, inspecting it for any problems or potential problems. Be sure you check the roof and gutters for any signs of curled or missing shingles. Check to see that the gutters are not blocked. This can cause water to rot your fascia boards

Examine the logs carefully for mildew. Mildew means a moisture problem. You may simply need to trim back any vegetation that is too close to the house, or you may have a more extensive problem. Call in a log home restoration company if you need help determining the cause of the moisture.

Look on the logs, siding and ground for evidence of sawdust or insect holes. If insect activity is obvious, you need to act quickly to minimize the damage. You’ll want to treat the holes with an insecticide and then caulk or plug them. Consult with a log home maintenance professional if you feel it’s a serious infestation.

Check trim, corners, log seams, vents and butt joints to be sure caulking is in good shape.

Test the log finish by spraying water on the logs. The water should run off, not absorb into the logs.

By performing these maintenance checks twice a year, you should be able to catch any small issues before they become serious problems—leaving you free to enjoy the natural beauty of log home living.

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