17 Nov New Solutions for Old Log Home Maintenance Issues
There is nothing like living in a log home but sometimes the fear of maintenance issues keeps people from pursuing their dream of log home ownership. As products and processes improve, maintenance issues become easier to deal with and we want to make you aware of a few recent developments.
Thermal Image Testing
The average log home contains miles of wood-to-wood joints, and over time these joints can open to allow for air, moisture and bug infiltration. Until recently our only solution to this problem was to chink (or caulk) every joint… a process that is time consuming and can be expensive.
A more progressive approach involves a computerized blower door which depressurizes your home to create the effect of a 20mph wind blowing on all sides simultaneously. This test also tells you (measured in square inches) how much cumulative space is open to the outside.
Specialized thermal imaging equipment is then used to photograph leaks from the inside of the home and a printed report (with color photos) can be generated showing precisely where your home is leaking. This allows the homeowner (or contractor) to apply specialized sealant or other energy savings products specifically to the required areas instead of spending resources resealing areas that don’t need additional work at this time. This targeted approach assures maximum results by focusing on the actual leaks at their source rather than sealing everything with the hope that you got the important areas.
Even the most sophisticated log home finish needs occasional cleaning and upkeep.
Film forming finishes (like Sikkens) can fail if micro-fissures allow water to penetrate behind the finish. Oil finishes require a reapplication of oil on a 3-5 year cycle to maintain effectiveness and even the modern acrylic log home finishes benefit from annual cleaning and inspection.
One major key to avoiding expensive future repairs is to catch problems as they occur and an annual inspection is the ideal time to get reacquainted with your log home’s finish.
Depending on which type of finish is presently on your home, there are specific maintenance products and care processes engineered to keep your finish looking (and performing) as it should for an extended period of time.
Carpenter Bee Traps
Spring is the season to again see carpenter bees returning to previous nesting sites. These annoying insects look like large yellow jackets and the male of the species most often likes to hover near the homeowner’s face to protect the nesting site. Good news: the male does not sting. The female will sting if provoked but is seldom seen near the homeowner.
Addressing carpenter bee activity is critical because, left unchecked, woodpeckers will excavate the nesting sites in search of larva (a tasty treat) and in short order it can look like someone has attacked your log home with a router!
There is no known way to eliminate all carpenter bee threats to your log home. A healthy finish deters their activity (especially the newer acrylic finishes). Treating (and sealing) any existing holes will reduce their ability to reuse existing nesting sites. And finish additives can reduce (but may not eliminate) their desire to drill into your home. The single best method to reduce problems with carpenter bees may prove to be to make your home less desirable than your neighbor’s.
by Wayne Bell