Washing windows, spreading mulch and raking the lawn—all regular parts of your spring-cleaning routine. When you start your spring projects, don’t forget the exterior of your cedar log home. Here are some simple tips and products that can help to brighten the finish on your home as well as some general steps that you should do annually to keep your log home in tip-top shape.

There are many quality products available for cleaning, staining and finishing your log home. We’ve made the maintenance of your new log home easier than ever with our Dedicated Customer Care Program, custom designed by Perma-Chink Systems for Katahdin Cedar Log Homes.

At Katahdin, we’ve had good success with Perma-Chink products for a number of reasons. Perma-Chink works particularly well with the Northern White Cedar logs that Katahdin uses. Perma-Chink’s water-soluble products meet our own green requirements as well as all federal VOC standards. For more information about Katahdin’s Dedicated Customer Care Program, contact us.

If you have questions about other products, we will be happy to review other stain manufacturers’ recommendations. Please email the product information to staininfo@katahdincedarloghomes.com.

Tour the outside perimeter
Take a notepad with a rough sketch of your home’s footprint so that you can keep notes on areas where you need to do some work. If you have a pair of binoculars, bring them along to get a close up view of out-of-reach areas. First take an overall review, looking from where the foundation meets the ground to the roofline. Here are some things to note:

  • Check your landscaping. Trees, bushes and vegetation should be kept at least 3-5 feet from the log walls to allow for airflow and moisture evaporation. Trim vegetation back and consider relocating plants that are growing too large.
  • Firewood.  Any remaining firewood from the winter heating season should be moved away from walls and porches.
  • Gutters and drain spouts. Make sure all the gutters and drain spouts are cleaned out and that water drains away from the foundation. If you notice a change in the drainage, there could have been some foundation settling, which would require a bit of re-grading.
  • Foundation. Check your foundation to see if any cracks have formed during the changes in temperature over the winter. If your area has experienced excessive rain or drought conditions in the past year, check to make sure the surrounding ground fill is still supporting the foundation properly.
  • Trees. Take a look at trees near your house. Was there damage during the winter? Make sure that you trim away any overhanging limbs that might come in contact with the roof. Large, older trees may become a hazard in a windstorm and might need to be removed to protect your home from damage.
  •  Firebreak. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, clear brush and undergrowth for a minimum 100-foot setback between your house and the forest edge.

A closer look at the exterior finish
This part of your inspection covers the exterior surface of the log walls. You may want to use a ladder to get a closer look.

  • Fading. Look for flaws or fading on the finish on the logs. Take careful note especially on southern and western walls that get more exposure to the elements.
  • Water resistance. Using a water-filled spray bottle, test to see if areas have lost their water resistance. If the water doesn’t bead up, you may have lost some protection in these spots.
  • Cleaning. Chances are that if you notice some fading or lost water resistance on a finish that is only a few years old, the surface just needs a good cleaning. Perma-Chink’s Log Wash is an easy solution to this maintenance step. Apply Log Wash, according to manufacturer’s label directions, from the bottom of the wall going up. Rinse using your garden hose from the top of the wall down. If you’re in a heavily wooded area where pollen is conspicuous you may want to delay cleaning until the air clears.
  • Stain adhesion. This test is especially important on south and west walls as they have the most exposure to sunlight, but it pays to do a spot check in other areas. Apply a strip of masking tape firmly to the finish, and then pull off. Check the tape to see if there is any finish stuck to the tape. If not, the finish is intact.
  • Brighten finish. After a few years, your finish may need to be improved with some Advance Top Coat, which is available in a satin or gloss finish. Make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned the surface before applying Advance Top Coat, a maximum of 4-5 days after cleaning with Log Wash.
  • Time Saver Hint: Split your home into smaller sections. Wash and topcoat one or two walls at a time.
  • A little washing and touch up goes a long way to keeping your log home looking great and protecting your investment makes a great deal of sense.