Maintain Your Log Home With Stains

Making your way through the mountains or valleys on your most recent vacation, you may have passed by a string of log homes. As you watched each log home go by, you may have noticed how distinctly different each appeared on the outside from the others. You might have been surprised to see some log homes so run down, while others seemed to appear in pristine condition. So what’s the difference? One trait which usually stands out above the rest is how well the logs have been maintained over the years, particularly in the log stain department.

Why Log Home Stains are Important

Log homeowners who regularly stain their log homes better preserve their log home’s  appearance and longevity. The log home will look better over time, with a stark difference in the appearance of their log home compared to those that have not been regularly maintained. Routine staining of your log home has a number of benefits to help your log home age well over time. Maintenance is essential, particularly since wood logs are vulnerable to the effects of weathers overtime. Here are a few benefits of maintaining your log home:

Renew Overall Look & Coloring: Logs sitting in the sun over time will dull in color, and lose their vibrant appearance. New stains and finishes will enhance the overall look of the log home.

Prevent Cracking & Peeling: Temperature changes fluctuate from warm to cold and result in cracking and peeling. Regularly staining your log home will better protect the logs, and minimize cracking and peeling.

Avoid Water Absorption & Leaks: Log stains and finishes are important because they help to repel the water from absorbing into the log or cracks.

How Often Should I Stain?

While log homes should be maintained semi-annually in the spring and fall, generally log homes only need to be stained every couple years depending on the type of stain, the color, the location, and exposure levels. Lighter stains on log homes will generally need be to restained more often, but darker stains can last much longer and require less maintenance over time. Making sure your log home is regularly stained is a vital part of log home ownership. Double check with your log stain manufacturer or log stain company to see how often your log home should be stained.

DIY or Hire a Professional?

Staining and resealing your log home is a lot of work. The question is whether you should do it yourself or hire a professional to stain and seal your log home? When considering your options for log home maintenance, it is important to understand what it takes to preserve the appearance of your log home, and determine if you are up for the challenge.

Prior to staining and resealing your log home, logs on the exterior of your log home need to be thoroughly cleaned to remove the peeling old stain, dust, bugs, bird poop, pollen, and other particles which make adhesion difficult. There are various methods to clean the logs, including sanding, power washing, media blasting or chemical stripping. Some cleaning methods are more preferable than others, as some are harsher on the wood and others are harsher on the environment. It is up to you to do your research and decide which option you feel the most comfortable with. Once the logs are completely cleaned and prepped, then comes the time to apply the stain and finishes.

While there are many resources available online with step by step instructions on how to stain your log home exterior, you may not be the DIY type of person for the job. Here are a few indicators you likely should hire a professional: 1) You have little patience. 2) You are a busy person with little time. 3) You are extremely OCD 4) You are afraid of heights 5) You don’t have the right equipment and tools.

While staining and resealing the log home yourself is doable and can help save you some money along the way, it is not a task for everybody. It may be easier and less stressful in the long run to simply hire a professional from the start. A job done right the first time by a professional could end up saving you time and money wasted on a poor DIY project.

What Kind of Stains Should I Use?

Many log home stains and finishes are on the market, but finding one that is right for you might be tricky. Some may have strong opinions about certain stains, while others may have a whole different experience. At Yellowstone Log Homes, some brands of stain that have worked best for us include the “Capture/Cascade” two coat system manufactured by Sashco and the “Cetol Log & Siding” manufactured by PPG.

In your case, however, the important thing is to get a sample and test it out before applying it to the log home. Maybe an entirely different stain would work better for your log home, it just depends on your own preferences and individual circumstances. For example, if you have a log home with chinking, you need to be cautious to avoid applying a stain that could change the color of the chinking. Consult with a log home stain company or be sure to only apply clear coats. Explore all the different kinds of stains and finishes available on the market, talk to a variety of professionals, then determine what product is right for you.


Making sure your log home is properly stained every few years will make a lasting difference in the overall look of the log home. Log homes which have been regularly cared for with routine maintenance will standout from the rest. Make sure to take good care of your log home to prevent more expensive costs down the road! If you would like more information about stains or finishes, give a local log home contractor near you a call. Springtime maintenance is just right around the corner!