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In this issue

To seal your Decks, Railings, Posts, Fences, and other Horizontal Surfaces such as: Log Railings, Outdoor Furniture, Gazebos, Spa Surrounds, Wood Carvings with the most advanced deck finish system - LIFELINE ENDURE™ . Call us now for color samples to try on your wood! Remember:

  • You can call us now from 6:30 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time to talk to one of our experts, or visit us online 24 hours a day.
  • We ship the same day.

Stop Water and Air Leaks Now!
By Vince Palmere

Fall is a great time of year to do some of those home maintenance chores you’ve been putting off during the hot, summer months. You want your home to look great and now is the time to get ready for the cold winter months ahead. First and foremost, give it a good wash-down with Log Wash™ to get rid of the dust and dirt that have accumulated on your logs over the summer. You will be surprised how much better your home will look once it’s clean.

Fall is also a good time to seal up any gaps that may be leaking air into the home. As fuel and electricity costs keep going up this becomes especially important. A few air leaks can cost you many dollars per month in keeping your home warm during the winter. The trick is finding and sealing those air leaks before the really cold weather sets in. Here is a system that’s fairly easy and works well.

First you need a cool fall day when the outside temperature is at least 20 degrees lower than the temperature within the home. Next, you want a small pail of warm water, a piece of chalk and a perhaps a ladder depending on how high your ceilings are. Dip your hand in the water then run your wet hand over your interior walls keeping it about six inches to a foot away from the surface.

You will easily feel any cold air leaks that are coming through the walls or around your windows. As you move your wet hand closer to the wall you can pretty well pin-point where the leak is located. Be sure to mark those leaking areas with the chalk.

If you have a box fan and want an even more efficient method of locating leaks, place the fan in a window or door blowing outward and cover the remaining opening with plastic sheeting. This will help draw cold air into the home through the leaks making them easier to find. Now comes the hard part, sealing up the leaks. The best way to attack leaks is from exterior surfaces. You can caulk the interior but if a crack or crevice is leaking air it may also leak water as well. Sealing the leak from the outside prevents water penetration along with air infiltration.

Maintenance caulking is really a two person job, one outside doing the sealing and one inside feeling for the leaks. Finding the outside source of the leak may not be as easy as it sounds, especially around window and door frames. The opening source of the leak may be several inches from the spot where it is felt inside the home. It’s just a matter of continuing to seal the area until the person on the inside no longer detects the air leak. You can also hire professionals to find the leaks.

This is a good time to discuss which sealant to use. For most exterior situations we recommend Energy Seal®. It comes in six different colors to match many of our stain colors and is textured to accept a stain if that’s what you desire.

We also carry QSL™, a smooth surfaced acrylic caulk that is available in three colors plus white and clear. If your home has recently been stained and topcoated, clear QSL is often a good choice as an exterior or interior sealant since it allows the underlying color to show through. If air is infiltrating through a check in a log, Check Mate™ is the product to use. It’s specifically designed for the unique set of dynamics exhibited by log checks.

In addition to stopping cold air and water from getting inside your home, sealants provide some other benefits. Once the weather turns cool many types of insects start looking for a nice, warm place to spend the winter. Cluster flies (they look like big house flies) can detect warm air coming out of a home from many yards away. They follow the warm air to its source and squeeze through amazingly small cracks and crevices. So, in addition to caulking any openings, you need to check your window and door weather stripping to make sure it’s in good shape.

Come fall, ladybugs and boxelder bugs love to congregate on warm log walls, sometimes in the thousands. They too will enter the home through any small openings. The only effective way to keep them out of the home is to prevent them from getting inside by caulking up their entrance points. Pesticides do not work well against these insects and besides, ladybugs are beneficial insects that feed on aphids and other bugs that can harm your plants and shrubs.

A bit of fall maintenance can make your home look great, reduce the number of bugs you see and lower your monthly heating bill. Is it worth the effort? You bet it is!

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pH Strips
By Sean Gahan

A lot of time and effort in our newsletters and training seminars is devoted to making sure that our customers understand the importance of surface preparation prior to applying a finish to their log home. The cleaning process is the basis for how the finish system will perform and look for years to come.

Currently, there are two cleaning solutions that Perma-Chink Systems recommends for preparing the wood surface prior to the application of a finish. The first of the two options is a 1:3 bleach-water solution plus the addition a detergent like Ivory soap, Spic-N-Span or TSP (trisodium phosphate). There are two parts to this solution. The purpose for bleach is to sterilize the wood surface; however, most people do not realize that bleach does a lousy job of cleaning, hence the addition of a detergent.

The second option is the use of Lifeline Wood ReNew™, a white powder that contains a detergent. Lifeline Wood Renew forms hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) when dissolved in water. Both of these solutions do a great job of removing foreign matter from the surface of the wood and sterilizing it.

The cleaning solution should always be applied starting with the bottom log and proceeding to the top log. Using this method ensures that each log below where you are applying cleaning solution already has cleaning solution on it and thus reduces the potential for streaking. Allow the solution to remain on the surface of the wood for 15-20 minutes and begin rinsing with a pressure washer. Rinse the wall starting with the top log and proceed to the bottom log. Rinse the house thoroughly to ensure all the cleaning solution is removed. With this said let’s address a few important questions.

Question #1: What color is a solution of bleach and water?
Question #2: How do you know when all the cleaning solution has been rinsed off the log surface?

The answer to the first question is colorless. Most cleaning solutions have very little color associated with them, especially when they are diluted with water. So this leads us into the second question. Without a visual indicator, how do we know when the wood surface is free of cleaner residue? To answer this question we must utilize a quantitative tool that enables us to determine when the surface is free of cleaner and furthermore that our rinsing process is complete.

The first thing that you must know is that both of the recommended cleaning solutions that were discussed above are bases and have an approximately pH range of 11-12.

pH is a method that determines whether substances are either acids, bases or neutral. To do this we are actually measuring the concentration of hydrogen ions in solution with either a pH meter or pH paper and using the following equation:
pH = -log [H+]

Armed with this information, pH strips will serve as our quantitative tool to indicate that we have thoroughly rinsed the cleaning solution from the wall. Before you start rinsing the cleaner solution off the logs, use a pH strip measure the pH of the rinse water to determine your baseline pH. This number typically falls between 6.5 and 7.5. The objective in rinsing is to reduce or dilute the pH of the cleaning solution (pH = 11-12) that is on the wall to the pH of the rinse water. Rinse the house until you think that you have removed all the cleaning solution. When you believe that you have reached this point, take a few pH strip and measure the pH of the water dripping off the wall at 4-5 places.

Continue rinsing until the pH off the wall measures 6.5-7.5 (Ideally: 6.8 – 7.4). Remember that this number will be defined and limited to the pH of your rinse water.

The failure to remove the cleaner residue entirely from the wall surface can result in many detrimental problems with the finish systems. This would include premature failure due to a lack of adhesion. This lack of adhesion stems from a chemical reaction between the residue and lignin, a component of wood, resulting in a loss of the wood’s structural integrity.

Secondly, a high concentration cleaner residue on the surface of the wood can increase the migration rate of tannins, components within wood, to the surface of the wood. These components in the presence of metals such as iron can produce blue-black discolorations. The problem is that these discolorations may not show up for many months and they are almost always located underneath the finish.

pH strips can be purchased at Perma-Chink Systems stores, pool supply stores, aquarium shops, or discount stores (i.e. Walmart). This tool can save you a tremendous amount of time and money when it is used properly. Contact Perma-Chink Systems if you have questions concerning the surface preparation steps or the use of pH strips. We are here to help you.

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Shenandoah Blower Door System
By Terry Hofrichter

Perma-Chink Systems has been in the technology business since its inception. Technology has allowed all successful companies in the log home business to make significant improvements in design, construction, finishing and maintenance of log homes. Log home manufacturers use the latest in Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing systems.

Handcrafters and builders use the latest in tools, construction aids and building components. Perma-Chink Systems formulates and manufactures high performance sealants and finishes systems using polymer technologies for durability and beauty. The benefit to log home owners is that log homes are more than ever a comfortable, beautiful, energy efficient and easy to maintain home choice.

Maintenance companies have some pretty high-tech tools available to them as well. One such company is Shenandoah Log Home Consultants in Norris, TN. The experts at SLHC have been in business since the 1970’s, building and maintaining log homes. Using their experience, they’ve developed some unique service options for log home owners.

One of their services is to set up a long-term maintenance plan specifically for your log home. If you would like to do the work yourself, they provide hands-on training to do the work. If you prefer to contract the work out, they’ll write a set of specifications so that you can obtain easily comparable quotes from contractors that you might like to perform the work.

What’s high-tech about that? There is more to the story. If you are preparing to pressure wash your house or if you suspect that there are more air leaks in your house than there should be, then they can haul out the analytical equipment.

To find leaks, Shenandoah’s Blower Door system depressurizes your house using manometers to monitor pressure and flow meters to monitor the air flow rate exiting the building with all doors and windows closed. While the blower operates, they use a handheld chemical smoke generator to locate unexpected air currents that might be coming through plumbing penetrations, electrical outlets, around doors and windows, floor and ceiling structures and other unexpected sources.

In addition to their Blower Door system, their thermal imaging equipment can detect poor insulation, entrapped moisture, defective thermal pane windows and other radiant heat leaks. Thermal images can be printed out from a computer in order to compare before and after repair performance.

With all of this diagnostic information, corrections can be very specific to any problems identified. SLHC experts state that they have seen 35% savings in energy costs in some homes that have had serious adverse conditions corrected.

SLHC sets up travel schedules in various parts of the country to keep travel costs to a minimum, because testing can be done at any time of the year. For more information, or if you would like to contact SLHC, visit their website at or by e-mail at Thank you to Shenandoah Log Home Consultants for providing information about this specialized equipment.

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Wildlife Damage
By Vince Palmere

If you live in or near woods you probably have some variety of rodent that also occupies your area. Most rodents like to gnaw on wood and if your log home is accessible to them it may become the target of their gnawing activity. Although field mice occasionally work on the exterior of a home, most of their effort is devoted to finding a warm place to spend the winter. If you caulk up all of the potential entrance points, especially around the foundation, you will exclude their taking up residence in your home. Just remember that they can squeeze through unbelievable small openings so you need to do a thorough sealing job.

Squirrels and Porcupines
Almost all log home wildlife damage is the result of gray squirrels. However, flying squirrels are commonly found in many parts of the country and they too can cause wood damage. But since flying squirrels are extremely nocturnal, they are rarely seen. Squirrels chew on wood for two main reasons; they are trying to get inside where it’s nice and warm or they are extracting salts contained in the wood.

This problem is most common on wood that has been bleached or borate treated since the sodium salts contained in bleach and borates provide essential nutrients to these animals. If this is the case, in addition to trapping or elimination there is another method that may help keep them from damaging your home. Go to your local coop store, buy a salt lick and place it where it is accessible to these animals. The salt lick will supply the mineral nutrients they are looking for and it is a lot easier for them to obtain what they need from the lick than it is by chewing on your home. Porcupines have a ravenous appetite for salt and this method will work for them as well.

Some people have reported success in preventing animals from chewing on their wood by coating it with Bitrex, a very bitter substance added to many household products to prevent small children from drinking them. Bitrex can be obtained by calling 1-888-4bitrex (888-424-8739). Occasionally animals will gnaw on an area of the home just for the fun of it. In these cases, trapping may be the best and only solution.

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Extreme Makeover Log Home Has a New Lifeline Endure™ stain on it's Deck!

Last year ABC's Extreme Makeover:Home Edition with Katahdin Cedar Log Homes and Perma-Chink Systems built a spectacular log home for the Goodale Family of Wells, Maine. This summer the Goodale Family selected Perma-Chink Systems' new Lifeline Endure™ deck stain to finish their deck. Now their deck looks absolutely beautiful!

Boy Scout Restoring an Old Cabin

Boy Scout Troop 546 of Enumclaw, WA had hands-on experience with Perma-Chink chinking as they restored a log cabing, whose owners have let Scouts use for years. Kathy Murdock from Redmond office taught boys how to properly apply chinking and they all had fun.

A Touch of Class in Knoxville

After 20 years in an old bank building, the Lamon Family expanded. Lamon Jewelers, Knoxville's largest selections of certified diamonds, decide to fulfill their dream of a log cabin store with a fireplace on Kingston Pike in Knoxville. The logs were furnished by Jim Barna Log Systems from Oneida, Tennessee. The stains and sealants were manufactured by Perma-Chink Systems in Knoxville. There are two coats of Lifeline Exterior™ stain, Dark Natural, trimmed with Lifeline Exterior Walnut and topcoated with Lifeline Advance. The application was done by Bruce Griffin from Curb Appeal Log Homes Restoration in Farragut, Tennessee

D o n' t M i s s O u t
Application Workshops Fall 2006

September 9 Sevierville, TN
October 14 Sevierville, TN
November 4 Redmond, WA
November 11 Stevensville, MT

If you would like a referral to an experienced contractor to perform an inspection, contact your nearest Perma-Chink Systems office.

If you like to request a copy of our newsletter for your friend, relative or neighbor, please call us, send an email to

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Copyrighted 2006.

Website Calico Communications & CG