The Best Finish for Log Homes

This is a response by Charis from Sashco Customer Service to a question by a log home owner about the best stain for log homes and specifically the use of log home stains on horizonal surfaces. And how to achieve the best service from your log home stain. We believe that Charis hit the nail on the head here;

Hi My Name is Charis,

I’m with Sashco, a manufacturer of log home products, and appreciate the opportunity to address your log home maintenance questions – anytime!

Here in customer service, we field hundreds of calls about these very issues. I would agree with the assessment you were given – unless completely protected from the elements there is probably not a product out there that will hold up on your horizontal surfaces much past 2 years.
Reasons why:
1) horizontal surfaces take on the full force of ALL elements – rain, snow, hail, sun, etc. Unless they are under a covered porch, they are going to sustain the maximum damage.
2) One generally doesn’t walk on vertical surfaces (a funny way of saying it, but it’s true). Take something that is already suffering the full force of the elements and add foot traffic and/or handling (in the case of hand rails) to it and you increase the rate of wear.

Below are some tips I can offer that may help add some longevity to whatever stain is used on those surfaces. It is highly doubtful that you will get five years out of whatever stain is used.
1) On all wood, the longevity of the finish is directly related to the type and thoroughness of prep done. Simply staining over a surface that appears to be clean is rarely good enough. According to the US Forest Service, loose, sunburned wood fibers can build on the surface of logs in as little as 2 weeks. Most homes sit for much longer than that between the mill and shipment to the home site. As such, most log homes are delivered with a significant amount of unsound wood already present. Add to that the months under construction and the starting point is a surface that is already compromised. It will take a vigorous blasting of some kind to get one back to bare, sound, “original” wood. Sashco recommends dry blasting of some kind, be it corn cob, walnut shell or glass. Power washing is also an acceptable method if proper care is taken to ensure the home is dry prior to staining. This requires a moisture meter.
2) On railings, drilling weep holes in both the top and bottom railings at the low point of cracks allows for water to escape, helping avoid pooling that can lead to premature failure of the stain.
3) Filling in cracks that are ¼” wide or larger with a high-quality elastomeric caulk (like our Conceal or Log Builder) will keep moisture out of the wood, again increasing the life of the stain.
4) Mid- or dark-tone stains tend to have longer life due to the additional pigments it takes to get them darker. Lighter colors are going to sunburn more quickly.
5) We believe that, when it comes to log home stains, price does matter. In general, the higher the price, the higher quality the raw materials going into the product. Higher quality raw materials translates into higher performance and greater longevity. Note, however, that this should also translate into lower costs in the long run.Sashco has performed its own comparative test between our Transformation oil-based stain and several other stains. To download the report from our website, visit It very clearly shows how Transformation out-performed most all other stains on the market.

We love to hear from people living their dream of log home ownership. We strive to help educate log home owners about finishing and maintaining their homes while providing the highest quality products for them to use in preserving that dream the right way from the start. As such, we stand ready and willing to answer any specific questions a homeowner might have about their home and situation, whether our products were used or not. We want to help instill the confidence you need to preserve that dream home for years to come.

Charis for Sashco Customer Service

Posted Feburary 12, 2009- This article was written and provided by; Sashco Sealants

If you have questions for Charis or any of our contributors contact us at Ask the Experts and we will attempt to answer them.