Log homes today provide their owners with both comfort and modernity neatly wrapped in a rustic design.
Certain steps must be taken however to ensure that your log home is always protected and looking its best, which is why picking the correct stain for your log home is critical.
Whether the goal is to update its look or simply find the best possible protection for your wood, below are the guidelines every log home owner should follow when choosing stain.
Attributes Of A High Quality Log Home Stain
Various different aspects must be taken into consideration when choosing log home stains. This includes knowing which stain will perform the best based on the surrounding environment and knowing what causes a stain to either hold up well or fail under certain conditions. While there is no specific best stain, there are many that can be considered the best for your unique situation provided that they adhere to the following:
Breathability – Choosing a log home stain that is breathable is perhaps the most important attribute of the stain. A breathable stain does not lock in moisture which in turn prevents mold from forming and the wood from rotting. In addition, being breathable decreases the chances that the stain will peel or crack – a direct result of too much moisture building up under the stain. By choosing a high-quality, breathable log home stain, you also ultimately save in the long run because it will reduce the need for having to re-stain your home.
Flexibility – The flexibility of the stain is almost as important as its breathability. A flexible stain will better cover any cracks or gaps in the wood providing improved overall coverage. Not only that, but because wood is prone to expansion and shrinkage depending on the weather or season, a flexible stain will move with the wood. This decreases the probability that water will permeate the finish effectively extending the life of the stain.
High UV Protection – Using a stain with a high UV protection rating is equally vital when considering how best to preserve the wood in your log home. Direct sunlight over time can begin to break down the wood fibers causing weakness and rot. This decay is not only visually unattractive but can compromise the strength of the home. Moreover, the UV protection stain will slow the rate at which the color of the stain will fade, keeping your log home always looking new and well-kept.
Several other key components to look for are whether or not the stain is considered to be low maintenance, easy to clean up, and environmentally friendly. Many companies will advertise their products as such but be certain that you’re not compromising the quality of the stain for ease. It would be preferable to find a log home stain that encompasses all of the listed attributes, but the strength of the stain and the protection it provides is paramount to the ease with which it might be applied or cleaned.
The warranty that comes with a log home stain is the last crucial aspect that a log home owner should be cognizant of. A high quality stain will come with an all-inclusive warranty that alleviates the burden of potential mishap for the home-owner.
Once a high quality log home stain is chosen that meets all the preferred requirements, the homeowner can begin to select the color of the stain based on the wood color and composition, and also keeping in mind whether or not the stain will be applied to raw wood or over older layers of stain. When dealing with raw wood, the natural color will largely influence the outcome of the stain, as will its composition. Lighter woods are more accepting of color and will require less coats to reach a desired shade. As expected, darker woods will require additional coats before the color is fully absorbed. Lighter shades of stain are recommended for homeowners looking to showcase the natural tone of the wood while still providing protection. It also bears mentioning that the more porous the wood, the more the wood’s grain and texture will be visible.
Coloring older wood that’s already had stain applied can present several challenges of its own. The primary issue that log home owners should be aware of is that due to varying environmental factors, previous layers of stain will not fade evenly. Some spots that receive less direct sunlight may remain darker while other areas will be much lighter. Unfortunately this means that new stain cannot be applied evenly or the difference in shades will show through the newest application. Lighter sections will require additional layers of stain to ensure uniformity with the rest of the home. Other issues include remembering that each new layer of stain will cause the wood to lose definition as more gaps are filled in. Furthermore, it is impossible to lighten the shade of stain by applying more stain. Each subsequent layer will darken what was there previously. This being said, don’t immediately jump to a dark stain or the color may turn out much darker than what was intended. Homeowners looking to lighten the wood of their home might want to consider stripping the old stain and starting from the beginning.
Oil and Latex-Based Stains
Homeowners should also be aware that both oil and latex-based stains exist. Latex stains exhibit more desirable qualities than their less expensive, oil-based counterparts. Oil-based stains have a higher probability of cracking and peeling and can cause a sticky residue to build up on the exterior of the home, attracting unwanted debris that is difficult to clean and may damage the stain.
Some final tips to keep in mind include remembering that the color swatches of a particular stain are only rough approximations. Colors are also altered depending on whether the stain is wet or dry. Therefore it’s recommended that homeowners apply a sample coat and wait until it’s fully dried before determining how the color will look on the wood, especially because stain can often appear darker if applied over large areas, causing small swatches to be misleading. Additionally, store-mixed stains can differ slightly from manufacturer-mixed stains. Only actual application of a stain will give the homeowner an accurate portrayal of how the stain will look after completion.
By reading this article, it’s our hope that log home owners are now more educated in how to choose the correct stain for their log home. If any questions or concerns arise during the process, our company will be happy to assist in any manner possible.