Find out how to protect the surface of a log home. Learn how applying stain or boiled linseed oil can help protect the surface of a log home from the elements.
LESLIE: Bruce in South Carolina is living in a log cabin  and you’ve got a question about that house. What can we do for you?
BRUCE: Well, I’ve got a question to find out what to put on the log to protect it from the sun and the rain; what would be the best products.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Mm-hmm. Well, is this a house that you’ve already built, Bruce?
BRUCE: Yes, it is.
TOM: OK, how old is it?
BRUCE: Well, it’s only about three years old.
TOM: Has it had any finish on it at all?
BRUCE: I have put some – one product on there but it’s not holding up to the elements.
TOM: Mm-hmm. OK. Well, I mean, essentially, the way you would treat a log home is the same way you would treat any wood siding product. So the first question is do you want to stain  it and if you want to stain it you’re going to have to choose whether you want to use a semi-transparent or a solid color stain; and that, in and of itself, gives it plenty of protection. The difference between solid color and semi-transparent is that solid color still shows the grain but it has more pigment in it, so it tends to last longer; although some people don’t like the solid color. They want to see more differentiations in color and, hence, like the semi-transparent.
After that, you’re going to put a clear finish over that which, by the way, is not always required, depending on the stain that you use. Now some of those stains can actually be the last coat, the top coat.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, some offer UV protection and some don’t.
TOM: Exactly. Now, on my home – I had a wood-sided home and you know what I put on it? It was cedar-sided – and so a lot of logs are made out of the same material; I used boiled linseed oil and, believe it or not, it lasted like 20 years before I had to finish that.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Now, Tom, I know there’s a difference. There’s boiled linseed and then there’s regular linseed oil. How do you know which is the proper one to use on your home?
TOM: You’ll know if you put the wrong one on because it doesn’t dry. Only the boiled linseed oil actually dries; the other stays very tacky.
BRUCE: OK, boiled linseed oil, then.
TOM: Yep. Well, that’s what I used and it worked great. But you know, there’s a lot of advances in these materials and I think your first question is do you want to stain it; and if you are, you may want to choose …
BRUCE: No, we – yeah, we want a regular log look.
TOM: Well, you can get the regular log look and still stain it, but that could be the protection right there.
TOM: You know, if you use a semi-transparent cedar-color stain, for example, that might be all the protection that you need; and use one that has good UV resistance.
BRUCE: OK. Well, that helps a lot then.
TOM: Alright, Bruce. Well, good luck with the project. Sounds like a beautiful home. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.