Spring Maintenance Tips for Minnesota Log Homes
Minnesota nice does not pertain to our winters.
In the spring look for winter damage and ready the home for hot summer temperatures and UV exposure.
Check your log home from the chimney to the foundation for issues and landscaping for proper drainage
Loose, shifting or cracked shingles, shakes or tiles, loose or warped flashing between chimney and roof.
Cracked mortar or cracks between chimney and the roof.
Timeline For Finishes
How often will you need to reapply stains or finishes. Depending upon the stain - Semitransparent stains can protect logs for three to five years, shorter if the site receives a lot of sun, longer if it is shaded. If you chosen a clear finish to showcase the natural look of the logs, the finish will need to be reapplied every year because it offers little protection from ultraviolet rays.
Remove build-up of dust, pollen, and grime that can set into your log finish and actually develop damaging mildew. Annually wash your log home with an ecologically-sound cleaning solution and mild scrubbing tools. If you pressurize wash, make the wash light enough to not remove or weaken any of the finish. Apply Log Wash from the bottom of the wall going up. Rinse using your garden hose from the top of the wall down.
Watch for up-facing checks, new &widening cracks in logs/wood: 1/8" wide or more needs caulk, less than 1/8" needs stain. Check chinking joints between logs, around windows and doors for areas that may have torn loose or stretched during the winter months. Check exterior finish for water resistance; spray logs using a spray bottle. If the water doesn?t bead up, you may have lost some protection in these spots. If the water beads up and runs off the logs then it's working. If it merely makes the logs slick with moisture, then the home needs another application as soon as temperatures warm.
Check for stain adhesion by applying 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. Look for any area where moisture might be trapped. Pay particular attention to the logs near the foundation, where decks and porches attach, and at gables and dormers. Look for darker areas on your logs. If you see places where the logs are absorbing moisture, apply log sealant to these areas. Remember that the most exposed areas of your log home will probably need to be resealed more often than other, less exposed areas.
Caulk & Chink
Log home sealant (also called caulk - use only caulk made specifically for log homes) Seal horizontal and corner joints every year so minor problems don't become major catastrophes. Also, carefully seal any upward facing checks (cracks in the logs) that appear as they can trap and hold water. If chinking has been employed on the home, it too may need reapplication over time. Like caulk, it must be compatible with the other finishing products you are using. If bubbles appear in the chinking during application (usually the result of being applied in direct sun), simply puncture them with a pin and reapply.
Corner sections should be closely inspected since weather tightness is the key concern. Some corners and other wall areas can "open up" slightly after the logs settle and reach their equilibrium, allowing air or water infiltration. Again, the solution is to caulk or reseal both inside and out.
These elements realize an increased exposure and require special attention. Consider applying additional protective covering to alleviate any long-term effects
Porch Railing Systems & Posts
Watch for up-facing checks and have them sealed to prevent water intrusion. Caulk and seal all horizontally-cut tops of rail posts have If it appears that the weather is winning out over your posts consider installing protective, malleable sheet metal caps to seal off any water penetration before it can cause further damage. Also check the base of porch posts they often see greater weather exposure than other elements of the home. Posts are regularly mounted directly to a hard surface such as deck or patio material and its the resulting water splash that, over time, can create a potentially troubling situation. Be sure to inspect these areas carefully for possible development of rot and create a more aggressive plan for maintaining the protective finish.
Remove all wood piles and debris from touching the exterior your log home.
Trees, bushes and vegetation should be kept at least 3-5 feet from the log walls to allow for air flow and moisture evaporation.
Take a look at trees near your house. Remove any overhanging limbs that might come in contact with the roof.
Check your foundation to see if any cracks have formed during the winter. Make sure the surrounding ground fill is still supporting the foundation properly.
Proper grading should be employed to help shed water from your log home. Use only rock or other inorganic materials as ground cover within 12" to 24" of the foundation - Never use wood mulch, pine or straw because those materials will encourage insects.
Clean clogged gutters and downspouts. Downspouts must extend far enough for proper drainage.
Decks, sidewalks and driveways can cause backsplash onto logs walls when they are hit with rain or water from a sprinkler system. Monitor these areas to prevent mold, mildew or decay from penetrating those first few courses of logs. Clean gutters and downspouts to direct runoff well away from the home.
Windows & Doors
Check the weather stripping around all your doors and windows and replace any that is missing or damaged. Check flashing around windows to ensure that all water is being channeled out and down the exterior walls.
Inspect Your HVAC
Hire a professional to determine if the units coolant charge is correct. Change filters and shift registers from their heating to cooling settings. Many systems include duct dampers that have winter and summer positions.