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In this issue

Getting Ready for Winter

Most people are accustomed to spring cleaning, but if you are a home owner, you know that your house needs attention year-round. Fall maintenance is much like spring house-cleaning, but more preventative and less “cleaning.” And it’s much easier to do it now rather than wait till the weather turns nasty.

Fall means leaves—and plenty of them. You will certainly need to clean out your gutters. A word of caution: most of the automatic guard systems only screen out large leaves while allowing gunk and small sediment to accumulate. You still will have to routinely clean the nasty rotting gunk out of your gutters! So an alternative is to have your roofer regularly come and clean your gutters every fall. You should make sure that the drainage area around the downspout is functioning properly as well. The roof area should also be checked for any leaks around the flashing at the chimney and around the vents for the heating or sewer system.

While inspecting the roof area it’s important to check for any holes or access spots where squirrels, raccoons or bats can enter your home and make themselves a vacation home for the winter. Clear away all debris from around the foundation of the house.

Caulking around all exterior areas is a must. You probably won’t find but a few areas where the caulk needs replacing, and it’s not a big job to replace old caulking with a fresh bead where needed. Weather stripping also should be examined and replaced if you find any that is curled or coming loose. Neither the caulking nor weather stripping replacement is a heavy job. It just takes some care and close examination. This can usually be done in a day for a moderate-sized home.

Your exterior walls should get a good cleaning. In addition to making your home look great, a wash-down with Log Wash will get rid of the dust, dirt and grime. Freezing weather is especially hard on log exteriors and a little bit of upkeep now may prevent costly repairs next spring.

Once your walls are clean, go around your home looking for signs of worn stain and failing sealant. If the stain looks faded or dingily, you should consider applying another coat of Lifeline stain and Lifeline Advance topcoat. Don't forget, the topcoat is an intergral part of the system and will help protect your home and extend the life of your stain.

While you are at it look for any new checks that may have opened up, especially on the top half of round logs where water can enter. Our Check Mate 2 comes in a variety of colors and is the perfect solution for closing up those potentially damaging checks.

Properly sealed joints and gaps go a long way in preventing cold drafts during the winter months. In these days of rapidly rising fuel prices it is important to keep cold air from entering your home. Energy Seal is specifically designed for this purpose. Pay special attention to places where wood meets masonry. Reseal with Energy Seal. In addition to saving you money on heating bills, it will help to keep your home warm and comfortable.

Many log home owners have fireplaces or wood stoves that they use to create an attractive atmosphere or as a source of heat. Typically fall is the time of year that most people build their inventory of firewood to carry them though the winter. Here are a few things to keep in mind when storing firewood: Never store firewood on your porch or deck or next to your home. One thing is for certain, along with the firewood comes a whole community of insect pests. Although some like wood roaches, pill bugs, centipedes and ground beetles are harmless, infestations of wood boring beatles, termites and frequently carpenter ants can start from stored firewood piles.

Store your firewood at least two feet away from the side of your home and keep it off of the ground. This helps keep the firewood dry and allows air to circulate throughout the wood pile. When you bring firewood inside, only bring in as much as you plan to burn in a day. Firewood stored by the fireplace may look attractive but once the logs warm up and the bugs start to emerge, you may think otherwise.

Preparing your home for winter in the fall can make life so much easier for you in the cold, dark winter weeks ahead. You’ll rest easier knowing that you won’t have to fight the elements when the inevitable emergency or problem crops up, as it always does. You can sit back in front of your fireplace with your family and enjoy those cold months secure in your well-protected home!

Log homes and autumn leaves seem to go together. Enjoy the season and don't hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions about maintaining your log home.

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Bulk Loading Guns
By Vince Palmere

The first question about bulk loading guns is if they are worth buying. At current retail price levels if we compare the retail cost of Perma-Chink in pails to 30 oz. tubes the price of two pails is $414.00 while the price of an equivalent amount of Perma-Chink in 30 oz. tubes is $628.00. Rather than buying four cases of 30 oz. tubes you can buy two pails of Perma-Chink, a Cox bulk loading gun and a follow plate for $136.85 and still have $77.15 left over. Plus you will have a great tool for future use. In the case of Energy Seal the savings are even greater. Two pails of Energy Seal plus a Cox bulk loading gun and follow plate ends up being $124.65 less expensive than four cases of 30 oz. tubes.

Now that we know that they can save you money, how easy are they to use? First of all don't try to save more money by not buying the follow plate. The follow plate is an integral part of the bulk loading gun system and trying to load a gun without it can be a very frustrating and messy experience. Let's go through the procedure of loading and using a Cox bulk loading gun step by step.

Remove the lid and the plastic liner from the pail. Put them aside and try to keep them clean in case you need to reseal the pail later.

Place the follow plate on top of the chinking in the pail making sure that there is a good seal between the wall of the pail and the flexible edges of the follow plate.

Remove the cap and cone tip from the end of the Cox gun barrel and ensure that the rod and plunger are fully forward. Push the end of the barrel onto the lip surrounding the hole in the middle of the follow plate. Make sure the gun is perpendicular to the plate and there is a tight seal beteween the barrel and the o-ring. If the barrel is tilted air will be sucked into the gun during the loading process.

Depress the rod release lever and draw back the rod with a smooth, even pull. Make sure the barrel stays flush with the plate and don't tilt the gun as you pull the rod back.

Once the rod is fully extended and the barrel is full, give the trigger one squeeze then disengage the barrel from the follow plate with a twisting motion.

Attach the end cap and cone tip to the end of the barrel. Make sure the tip of the cone is cut to the diameter of the bead you want to apply.

Apply sealant using the same technique as you would use with a standard caulk gun.

To remove the follow plate from an empty or partially full container, insert the handle rod into the open nut on the surface of the plate and pull it out.

Replace the plastic liner over the surface of the sealant.

Replace the lid. Make sure that it is seated tight on the pail.

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Renovation in Tennessee
By Tony Huddleston

About 11 miles East of Knoxville Tennessee nestled back in a small wooded area sits the newly acquired log home of Phil Coward and Melissa Wade. They have dreamed of living in a log home for most of their life, and the recent downturn in the economy made this dream a reality for them. No, it’s not a new home by any means but Phil and Melissa were now fulfilling their dreams.

I was contacted by Melissa in November of 2009 and a visit was scheduled to inspect the home and make a determination of the condition of the home and make recommendations to preserve the home. Once I arrived at the home, it was very evident the previous owners had neglected the thirty year old home for several years and Mother Nature and father time had taken a toll on the exterior of the home.

We started the inspection on the interior of the home, and much like many first time residences there were additions made to the home as families grew and more room was needed. The additions made to the home were conventional stick frame construction with paneled or sheet rocked walls. As is with many homes, the years of living had darkened the interior and it was clear that a very thorough cleaning of the interior would help brighten it up. So a Sodium Percarbonate type of cleaner was chosen as the easiest way to remove the old grime and dirt. Then we decided the first thing that needed was to have an Infrared Thermograph test to check the integrity of the seals used at the time the home was built.

This test would enable us to locate any sources of air leakage and the potential for water infiltration, and also determine what course of action would be needed to remediate any problems. The thermograph test performed by Paul Peebles of Perma-Chink Systems indicated that the home had several places that were allowing air and moisture to enter the home, especially around the windows and doors. According to the results, Paul said it was the equivalent of having a two foot by three foot opening in the home allowing air to enter and heat to escape. Melissa and Phil decided to have replacement windows installed as the old windows were not energy efficient due to the seals and the old type glass that was in use at the time the home was built.

When we reached the West wall or the “weathered wall” it was very apparent there was some severe weathering on the logs as evidenced by the “alligatoring” of the outer layers of wood. There were also areas that had some rot wells due to lack of any sealant being used on the butt ends of the logs, and improper installation of the central air conditioning boot and the electric service disconnect for the unit which had allowed many years of splash up and water damage. Due to the extreme weather damage and the lack of maintenance it was clear this wall would need to be media blasted and re-sanded to restore the integrity of the surface.

Now that the inspection was complete we were ready to prepare the sequence of events needed on Phil and Melissa’s home. The following actions were scheduled.

  1. Media Blast West wall.
  2. Osborne brush West wall.
  3. Log Wash and clean East wall.
  4. Chemically strip front wall.
  5. Remove all window trim and properly seal windows. (Replace window trim on all windows).
  6. Lifeline Prelude all walls.
  7. Install backer rod and Energy Seal entire log portion of home.
  8. Sand log ends in preparation for Log End Seal.
  9. Apply two coats of Lifeline Ultra-2 Exterior Finish.
  10. Apply Log End Seal to log ends.

We will continue this article in our next newsletter outlining the methods and products used.

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PCS Gives Back
By Kevin Piatz

When we were approached by Pomegranate Center of Issaquah, WA to donate Lifeline wood finishes for an upcoming fund raiser we didn’t hesitate at the opportunity to give something back to the community.

Pomegranate Center is a non-profit agency that plans and builds community gathering places on public property and produces commissioned artwork to raise funds for public projects using donated materials. They always work with a community; and the community always approaches them out of a need for community planning and gathering space.

They work with wood because it is beautiful, keeps costs down for communities who must raise their own funds or partner with them to do so, and because it lasts for a long time given the right products and preparation.

They used carving tools, Lifeline Ultra-1 and Lifeline Accents to create the boards, some of which measured 10’ in length. They prefer working with Lifeline finishes because they are long lasting, come in a wide range of colors and are easy to apply. Among the colors used were Almond, Jade, Barn Red and Midnight. The boards were auctioned off to raise $10,000 for an upcoming community design-build involving Walla Walla Parks and Recreation, Blue Mountain Action Council (a United Way agency) and Commitment to Community (a local association). The budget for the project exceeds $200,000 and will require enough Lifeline wood finish to cover 2,000 sq. ft. of wood.

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D o n' t M i s s O u t
Application Workshops Fall 2010

November 6 Stevensville, Montana
November 20 Knoxville, Tennessee
December 11 Knoxville, Tennessee

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.

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