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The LogDoctors

Quality and Workmanship you can count on every time

LOG HOME RESTORATION

There are many elements that can come into play with the restoration of a log structure. Projects can be simple or complex depending on what the client wants the final outcome to be. Many times this has to do aesthetics, a face lift if you will. Wood, especially the pine log homes of the modern era, can become rather unsightly with time if their facades are not maintained properly. These, compared to more structural problems, are fairly easy to reverse. A good cleaning or maybe a surface exfoliation, media blasting or chemical stripping, followed by a fresh coat of stain will usually reverse or for some older homes at least delay the decay brought by time. For some log structures, however, poor design, poor site placement, or believe it or not poor landscaping decisions have helped cause the cancer of decay and rot to set in. This ninety-nine percent of the time has to do with poor water evacuation away from the building. All fungi, including those of the "dry" rot variety, require a high amount of moisture to evolve. Wood rots if it stays wet. It's really that simple. The majority of the log home restoration the Log Doctors handle both on vintage and modern structures deals in large part with rotten or decayed wall logs and structural timbers. We replace a lot of rotten logs and beams, but what we do that many other contractors don't is, we locate and repair the source of the moisture before the replacement. After all, what good is it to replace something only to have it decay once more. The Log Doctors are good at forensics, and the skill of tracing the path of those errant rain drops. In cases where the logs or timbers are just partially inundated, but can be saved, the Log Doctors have many log restoration remedies to help stabilize the timbers, and leave the fabric which is original to the structure. Why pay for an implant if the original limb, if you'll pardon the pun, is restorable? Our years of field experience, coupled with our continuing education in new technologies, allow us to take jobs that no one else will touch. We pride ourselves in that. Our oath is to the restoration and protection of all things structurally log, and our aim is to please those clients, who like us, see the beauty and warmth in the soul of those structures.

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The LogDoctors

Quality and Workmanship you can count on every time

LOG HOME SEALANTS

Though maintaining the stain on your log home is an essential part of keeping the logs looking good, and protecting them from the sun and weather, it is also important to remember to inspect the sealants. In the many years that we have been doing log home restoration, we have come to only one true conclusion that we cannot falsify. There are only two types of log homes: those that are caulked and or chinked when they are first built, and those that are caulked and or chinked three to five years down the road. What are sealants? Sealants are the caulk and chinking products used in log home construction and log home restoration to help reduce or eliminate air and water penetration into the interior of your log home, and water infiltration into center of your logs through "checks", which will help cause rot. They differ from adhesives, glues, in the fact that sealants have less of a structural quality, and more of an elongation factor. This is especially true of sealants designed for the log home market which have elongation quality that can be twice to three times that of caulks purchased at the big box stores. Their importance to log home construction, maintenance and restoration is that they move and stretch with the expansion and contraction of the logs, which are very dynamic. A properly sealed log structure can actually be one of the most comfortable dwellings in which someone can reside. The thermal mass of the logs coupled with the aesthetic and psychological "warmth" of the wood make log homes hard to beat for comfort. The converse of this is also true. An unsealed log building is drafty, hard to keep warm in winter, though insects will use the cracks between logs to get inside to what warmth there might be. It's also quite disconcerting to see light pouring through the logs from outside. On projects where we have to exhume and replace wall logs, water is the primary culprit for the deterioration. In most cases, this water, once on the surface of the logs, travel through uncaulked checks and wood to wood connections to pool in places you can not see. Once there, they serve as a moisture source for microscopic mold and fungus spores and help them develop and reproduce, which they have a tendency to do so exponentially. This leads to both wood decay, and mold problems. One a detriment to your home, the other a detriment to your health. We do our best to educate our clients about the importance of sealing their log homes. Large timbers are extremely dynamic. They move continually, especially in the first few years after being cut from the forest. It's best to budget for proper sealant application, with sealants designed for log structures, when the home is first built. Otherwise, we'll be having a conversation about them when we come to do log replacement, or critter and insect mitigation.

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The LogDoctors

Quality and Workmanship you can count on every time

LOG HOME STAINING

When choosing a stain for your home it is important to remember that logs and heavy timbers have a completely different dynamic than thinner sidings and trim. Their physics, if for nothing more than size and movement, makes it important for us to choose coating that will adapt to those attributes. At LogDoctors, we use a variety of different types of stains from a number of manufacturers. Experience has shown us that each one of our projects is different, and being able to draw from a variety of stains, instead of just one type, will make for a better end product. No matter what you are told, no one manufacturer can meet every need, with the product line they produce. If stains are to be broken into various types, we should probably start with the most basic of considerations, clean-up. If we start here, of all stains, there are going to be two forms. Those stains that clean up with soap and water, and those stains that clean up with a solvent like mineral spirits. We could have said that those types could be water-borne and oil-based, but some of the newer oil emulsions clean up with soap and water while they are still wet. All the stain systems we use, they are systems because the majority require multiple coats of multiple types of product, are surface film coat stains (water-borne), or shallow penetrating stains (oil based or oil emulsion). LOGDOCTORS WILL NOT WARRANT THE APPLICATION OF DEEP PENETRATING OIL BASED STAINS. These surface and shallow penetrating systems have been on the market now for a couple of decades, and the ones we use have proven track record for longevity and protection for your home. We have a variety of criteria that we use when evaluating your particular property to help educate you in choosing the correct product for your home. We’ll discuss two major factors in this article. The first has a lot to do with what is on the logs already. If you have been using a deep penetrating stain, and only plan you wash your logs, you are held to a fairly short list of oil-based products that will be compatible with what has already been applied. With some deep penetrators, this is even true if you media blast. If you’ve been using a surface film-coat system, your options are much larger. Most shallow penetrating oil and oil emulsions are compatible with the film coat systems, but not the reverse. The film-coat systems can be particular to what they will stick too. Even though we have been doing this for years, we always check with the manufacturer for compatibility issues before applying one stain over another. Secondly, location also factors into the type of stains we choose for homes. We are a lot more likely to choose a film coat system for homes that are more in the open and have good air circulation around them than one that is deep in a holler or draw or one in a very damp environment. Our experience shows that film-coat systems have a longer life span on homes that have adequate air movement around them, where oils will work in both damp and dry environments. There are other factors that go into stain choice, including how the dwelling is to be prepped, color to be used, difficulty of maintenance, etc . . ., but these discussions can be long and drawn out, and are best discussed in person. So please feel free to call us at any time with questions you may have.

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