A well-designed log home has a good foundation with no less than 12” clearance between the logs and the ground. The roof overhang should be at least 3′ at the eaves and 4′ on the gable end walls. With higher walls, or in exposed locations, wider overhangs are required to protect these walls. Eaves trough and downspouts will carry the water away from the building. This is especially important in areas subject to high winds and horizontal rains. Any log posts should have a moisture barrier between the wood and concrete support. The trick is to keep water moving away from the building from the time it lands on the roof until it drains from the site. This includes proper flashing at chimneys, windows, doors, gable end framing and between the sill logs and the foundation. The logs themselves should not have any flat areas where water can lay or flow into the building.

Another source of moisture is the warm, moist air inside the home. Without a vapour barrier on the inside of most log home walls, the logs themselves absorb this moisture and it is important that the exterior finish allow this water to escape. A high quality, “breathable” finish will accomplish this. If the exterior logs are sealed with paint, varnish or other “non-breathing” finish, this moisture will be trapped within the log and this can cause rot.

The log walls should be periodically cleaned with a mild cleaner. This can help the finish to last longer. Pressure washing can easily damage a log wall.

Walls need to be properly prepared for refinishing to kill mildew, brighten the wood and preserve it, following correct procedures to prevent damage to your house, foliage and yourselves.

A good finish for your log home will shed water while still allowing moisture to escape from the wood — sort of like Gortex fabric does. It should look good, block ultraviolet rays, last for a reasonable amount of time and be easily reapplied as necessary.

Surface preparation is very important with all wood finishes.

The life expectancy of log buildings is determined by many factors. These include site exposure, building design, log species, chosen preservatives and the effectiveness of their application. Most log homes will need more maintenance on the sides of the house that are most exposed to rainstorms and hot sun.