Do you hear Yellowstone theme music as you dream of building a log cabin? Or your own “log mansion”? Perhaps you already built the log home of your dreams and wonder how to maintain it for future generations.
When John Dutton’s “log mansion” isn’t the set for Beth’s dinner table rants or his reflective moments on the porch, it is part of the Chief Joseph Ranch. The house was built as a vacation home between 1914 and 1917 by William S. Ford (1866–1935) and Howard Clark Hollister (1856–1919).
The house is clad with vertical and horizontal logs and elegantly set off by arches, gables, and dormers. Not every log home includes a combination of fancy architectural elements, but even the simplest log home exterior should be cared for seasonally to last for generations.
The Importance of Seasonal Maintenance
Your home’s exterior logs must be ready for nature’s challenges from rain, sleet, and snow to pollen, insects, and the woodpeckers that follow. To protect the logs from damage, start by properly sealing them with exterior stain. Using the right chinking based on the log home’s design is equally important to protect your dream home.
With the right exterior protection in place, prepare to inspect your log home every spring and fall.
When the snow melts and the robins appear, it’s time to look for damage from winter weather.
Start at the top – on the roof – looking for damaged or missing shingles and loose flashing. Before making your way down, check for clogged gutters and clean out any debris. Next, inspect exposed rafters for damage. Tongue and groove porch ceilings need to be checked for water staining. Finally, look closely at logs for cracks, worn stain, mold, mildew, algae growth, and water staining.
Make repairs or call a professional like Frontier Log Homes, to prevent further damage.
Summer sun and pollen are tough on a log home’s exterior. To prepare your home for winter fall maintenance is as important as spring maintenance.
First, clean summer’s dust and pollen off with a log cleaner. Then check the stain. If water isn’t beading up on the surface of the logs, it’s time to re-stain those areas. Look for new or widening cracks and check the condition of the chinking. Also, watch for white, powdery stains which could signal a moisture problem, as well as holes and little piles of sawdust insects may have left behind.
If you find any issues with the logs, be sure to address them before winter sets.
Mark your Calendar
Keeping a seasonal maintenance schedule will preserve your log home, so it can be enjoyed for many years to come. Hopefully, your life is more peaceful than Dutton’s – regardless of the drama life throws your way putting in the work every spring and fall ensures more time for a relaxing cup of tea or cold beer on the porch.