Log Cabin Living: Restoration Part 1

Updated: Apr 2

When we moved to our ranch just over a year ago, we inherited a beautiful log home. It is our paradise, and we feel blessed to live within it's cozy walls every day.



Log homes are unique, as they require specific care that other homeowners may not ever consider.


I know oftentimes I have received the reaction from others that "you really want to do all that"? Our life has a lot of extra steps. Between animals, kids, and maintenance on various things, it's a significant amount of labor. In my eyes, however, caring for these things that bring us joy, is a labor of love. I don't mind it (I do get impatient about getting it all done, but I don't mind actually doing it). Working on these things brings a sense of pride and I can't say enough good things about sweat equity.



This past year, we didn't spend much time reviewing the maintenance needs of our home, as we were so busy getting situated with the barn build. Now that it is up and running, we are turning our focus on some maintenance items for this year.... I say this year, but I mostly mean "during the warm months in Maine" because it's difficult to accomplish most of these projects the rest of the year. In a way, it feels to me, like our year is just starting now that all the ice and snow has melted away.


Luckily, the previous owners made our life nice and easy, updating the interior before we moved in. We swear they are the grown up versions of ourselves because our taste is so similar. They did a beautiful job so, we had very little inside to work on!!




The exterior of the home, did need some care however. While we have always found the home beautiful the way we first saw it, if log homes don't receive maintenance every few years, they won't last. The cabin needed a deep power washing and restaining - it's a pretty significant job, so I can certainly understand why it would have been put off. It's expensive as well, especially if you don't DIY it. But, as previously stated, it gives us great pride to care for the place.



I spent a few months researching and comparing brands and methods for how to do this right.


We spoke with the manufacturer of our home, and they pointed us to a super kind, professional log home restoration specialist, who talked me through the entire process. After comparing his notes with what I had found, and asking helpful folks in Facebook log home groups, we settled on a plan.


BEFORE:



Spring has been a gift this year, being so warm so early, it has allowed us to begin power washing the mildew off the logs early. Underneath, we have found that our pine timbers are in fairly good shape and are a beautiful light tone! We had no idea!


DURING:



We are using a 3,000 psi power washer to remove grime, mold, and debris from the sides. We opted for this method instead of media blasting, as our pine timbers are softer than other wood, and media may damage it.


During this part of the process, we are carefully watching from the inside, for water that comes through any of the logs. Unlike other homes, there is no insulation between the exterior and interior of the log walls. So, if you have a significant crack in a log, you'll know it!


We identified a few spots, called "checks" where we will have to fill them and seal them before staining.


^where water came through.


Considerations also have to be made for the time of year - wood is dry in the winter, and expands when there is greater moisture in the air (like in the Summer). So, right now, doing this as early as we are, there are bound to be more checks, as the logs are so dried out from winter, and woodstove heat (also dry).


Once we finish the power washing, the cabin will dry, and we will fill in the areas we have identified that need a seal, sand the rougher areas, and then proceed with staining using a product from Permachink!