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Before you apply any stain or finish to your logs, check all wood surfaces for deterioration, decay, dirt, mold and mildew. You can usually distinguish mold and mildew from dirt spots by touching the suspect spot with a cotton swab soaked with chlorine bleach. If the bleach clears the spot, then it is mold rather than dirt.

Repair decayed wood using appropriate restoration techniques. If you detect signs of excessive moisture (darkened wood, excessive mold and mildew) remove moisture sources and treat the wood with borates to prevent wood rot.

Remember that consistent preparation is important because your finishes highlight wood grain and texture, and seal in any blemishes left during the preparation process.

Mill Glaze

On new wood, remove mill glaze by allowing wood to weather for 90 days, by sanding, by power washing or by using commonly available mill glaze treatments from your local paint supply store.

Old Finishes

If you are going to recoat over existing finishes, evaluate the adhesion of the existing finish by applying and peeling masking tape from the surface in a few representative areas. If very little finish is removed with the tape, then the adhesion should be adequate to provide a base for your new stain. If significant amounts of stain remain on peeled tape, then remove the old finish before application of new.

If you are going to completely remove your old finishes, you have a few options. If the old finish is seriously degraded, strong cleaners may completely remove it. However, in protected areas, removal is usually difficult with this method.

We suggest that for a complete finish removal you use a chemical finish remover along with a pressure washer.

Just be sure to thoroughly clean all chemical residues from the wood surfaces to avoid any interaction they may have with your newly applied finishes. Additionally, carefully follow the manufacturers use and safety instructions.

Clear Finishes

Always avoid clear finishes which don't block the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Even clear finishes that advertise UV blockage will not perform as well as pigmented finishes. UV light breaks down the lignin, a complex chemical that makes up about 25 percent of a log's substance and acts as the "glue" that holds wood fiber together.

If you like the gray look of weathered wood, you can approximate it without sacrificing your logs by using finishes that contain gray pigments. You can use clear finishes on the interior logs.

Remember, exterior walls weather unevenly, depending on exposure to sunlight and water. All things being equal, the North and East sides of the house require the least maintenance. Regularly inspect exposed log ends.

Regular inspection of your exterior finishes will help ensure the beauty and protection of your precious logs. In addition, regular maintenance results in the lowest cost of maintaining your finish because it delays the requirement to completely remove old deteriorated finishes.

Periodic cleaning of your exterior walls is important to appearance and to help prevent growth of mold and algae on the walls. When you clean your exterior walls, always be careful to do it in ways that cause the least harm to your finishes.

  • Always use mild solution of cleaners on the wall.
  • Strong cleaners may damage your finish! If in doubt, try your solution in an inconspicuous area before proceeding.
  • Always use a mist setting on water nozzles, not a forceful jet.
  • Always use soft bristled brushes or non-abrasive pads for cleaning.

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Home Restoration Wood Preservatives Wood ProtectionLinks