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In this issue

A Sign of the Times

By Randy Adamson

The decision to make improvements to your home, or even to do just regular maintenance on it, has become a tougher choice for many homeowners today. Our economy has left families with less money and lots more uncertainty about the future. So when it comes to maintaining what may be your family’s biggest asset, your home, resources are tighter than before. We hear you!

Now, more than ever, Perma-Chink’s customer care specialists are right here to help you take the best care of your home. A clear sign of the times, we now have homeowners ask us this question every day, “Can I realistically defer maintenance on my home?”

It’s no surprise that for many folks the cost of upkeep on a home has now become a question of balancing priorities. Sometimes we have no other choice and deferring home maintenance is an absolute necessity. But of course we all realize that it will also come at a cost to us later on down the road. Each home and each situation is different. But after 28 years in this business, we’ve found that the most important step to maintain your log, timber frame or custom wood home is to keep a good stain and finish system on the wood. So, on a limited budget, what are your choices? Still The Best Choice. Our Lifeline Ultra-2 premium exterior stains and Lifeline Advance exterior topcoats provide the longest-lasting and most beautiful natural wood finish System available – bar none. This System simply contains the highest-performing ingredients and years of quality control testing that you can’t find anywhere else.

Don’t be confused by Lifeline’s higher prices per gallon than some other stains. There are two main reasons to still consider buying Lifeline Ultra-2 over any other stain:
First, our finish products yield much higher coverage rates than others, meaning you’ll need to buy less gallons (and in some cases a lot less) of Lifeline than you’ll need with other lesser brands.

Second, our System lasts so much longer that we are the only company confident enough to offer you a 5-year warranty. Other “bargain” stains (especially oil-based) can be found every day in big box stores, but are not nearly as long-lasting and will require more frequent re-coats every year or two. Be aware that each additional re-coat of a “bargain” stain will darken a home from its original color, take more of your time or hired labor cost to re-coat, will not be eco-friendly like all of the Perma-Chink product lines, and actually end up being more expensive in the long run. Therefore, the Lifeline exterior finish System using Ultra-2 and Advance remains as our #1 recommendation for most homeowners. This System is still the most cost efficient for your home over the long-haul, and by far the most beautiful.

Alternatives. However, we do realize that when funds are tight, our customers cannot always afford the best and are looking for alternatives. So we have come up with some different ideas and cost effective tips to help you keep up with some level of maintenance on your home.

Keep It Clean. The easiest (and cheapest!) way to maintain your home’s exterior finish is to clean it regularly. Dirt, dust, pollen and mold spores all degrade your home’s finish over time if left to accumulate. Just like a car, we recommend washing your home’s exterior (at least twice a year - spring and fall). Use Log Wash, our low-pH cleaner, which is very affordable, effective and easy to use. Cleaning time is also a good time to inspect your home for simpler types of preventative maintenance – better to catch them sooner than later!

Use a mid-level stain in the interim. Besides Ultra-2, Perma-Chink Systems also manufactures other levels of exterior finishes. Lifeline EXterior and Lifeline Ultra-1 (available through professional log home contractors – call us for referrals) are both available at a lower cost and in a wide range of colors. They can provide your home with the same classic Lifeline “look” and, though not quite as long lasting as Ultra-2, will still outperform most other stains on the market. They can give homeowners an affordable, yet beautiful, look for a few years until they’re able to upgrade back up to Lifeline Ultra-2 for premium protection.

Don’t Skip the Topcoat. All stains in our System require the use of the Lifeline Advance clear topcoat. Advance works 24/7 to protect your home’s stain coat underneath through superior water repellency, UV-ray blocking and protective mildewcides. Homeowners who think maybe they’ll save a few bucks by applying only the stain coat for now and skipping (or waiting a year to apply) the topcoat should strongly reconsider. The stain coat alone will not be as protected nor last nearly as long without the Advance topcoat. This is not one area to skip (or skimp)!

Maintain only the walls you can afford. When money is just too tight to afford putting an exterior finish on your whole house, it is possible to do one or two walls at a time. In many cases, refinishing just those walls that are most exposed to the elements (usually those facing south and west) can help you take care of the most urgently needed areas. We recommend to do complete walls or sections, using logical break points, to make it less noticeable in the difference in appearance on older finishes of your other walls. You can do remaining walls over the next year or two and still have some peace of mind that you’re keeping up with maintenance.

Do It Yourself! Thousands of homeowners hire contractors each year to provide the labor for refinishing or maintaining their homes with Perma-Chink Systems products. In fact, our customer care specialists are happy to give you referrals to professional contractors in your area, along with consumer tips on how to select and work with them. Of course, hiring labor can add much more cost to your project, often several times more cost in labor than the cost of the product itself. Rest assured that every one of our products is user-friendly and that any project for your home is a do-it-yourself project! We provide you with everything you need: quality products, tools, application instructions, free training classes and expert advice. You can do it!

Fill In Those Checks. We should mention one last way to help maintain your home’s finish. Use Check Mate® 2 sealant to fill in those checks or cracks in exposed outer wood surfaces. Keep all checks more than ¼” wide sealed up, especially if they are upward facing. This will prevent water from channeling inside the log where rot, finish adhesion and other major problems can start. It’s inexpensive, easy to do and very worthwhile. Given the losses many of us are facing every day in our bank accounts, IRA’s, 401k’s and maybe even our jobs, maintaining the value of your home is now more important than ever. Unless you are absolutely forced into dire circumstances and have no other choice, we would never recommend a total stoppage of maintenance on your home. No matter what your budget, we’ll try to provide you with courteous help and several ways to protect your dream home’s finish, to maintain its value and to keep it looking beautiful.

Perma-Chink Systems and all our customer specialists stand ready to help you with any project advice for your home, product samples, training classes, application literature (be sure to call and ask for a copy of our popular brochure “Caring For Your Dream Home”) and the best customer service you’ll find anywhere – all free! No matter your circumstances, we are here to help you. We’re all in this together. Give us a call.

Buying the System

By Vince Palmere

In 1981, Rich Dunstan, founder and company president had to come up with a company name for us. Although Perma-Chink Log Home Chinking was the only product he manufactured at the time, he chose Perma-Chink Systems, Inc. as the name because he had a vision of developing a full line of products to construct, clean, preserve, seal, finish and maintain the wood components of a log home. Over the years Rich has fulfilled his dream and Perma-Chink Systems, Inc. has become exactly that, a systems company. No other log home related company offers the broad spectrum of products that we do. This presents a challenge to our sales and service people because we insist that they have a high degree of expertise in a wide variety of log home building styles especially as related to finishing, sealing and maintenance requirements and methods. That’s why we devote so much time and investment in training - so that all of us can knowledgably assist our customers.

Because we are a systems company, we have put together a family of products that work together and compliment each other. Frequently we’re asked questions such as: “Is Energy Seal compatible with ABC Stain?” or “Can Lifeline™ be used on a home that’s been cleaned with XYZ Wood Cleaner?” There are hundreds of small regional manufacturers of these types of products scattered across the country. Consequently, our answer is too often that we don’t know. A lot of the products that we’re asked about we’ve never heard of, so it’s impossible to answer with confidence. Additionally, these manufacturers are changing their formulas to reduce costs or make improvements. There is one thing that we are certain about - all of the products within the Perma-Chink Systems’ Family of Products are compatible and work together as a system.

We offer a system of products for your needs, starting at the “dry-in” stage of construction, progressing through internal wall sealants & wood preservatives, and then application of finishes and external wall sealants and lastly, maintenance of sealants and finishes for the life of your home. We make sure that you have confidence that after you have devoted your hard earned money and labor to clean those wood surfaces and then you invest more work and expense to apply your finishes, the results will be both beautiful and very long lasting. Providing that confidence for you requires a deep knowledge of the chemistry of the cleaners and the finishes and sealants used; years of field testing and experience; and then putting that knowledge to work providing you just the right formulations and installation instructions.

We sell a system of products, rather than individual products intended to be used for a single step in this sequence. The reason that we do so is to provide you the highest performance, most problem free solutions to all of your log home protection and maintenance needs. Although compatibility problems between products are a rare occurrence, they are a very real risk when using supplies from multiple sources. When unintended interactions happen, the amount of effort and expense required to fix the problem is many times the amount of effort and expense to do it right the first time. We pride ourselves on being able to guide your project so that even if you are doing it for the first time, you can do it with the same confidence and results you expect when you are doing it for the third time.

I’ll try saying this in a different way. Like all manufacturers, we can’t know the formulas that other manufacturers use in their products. Use of preparation supplies, finishes and sealants from various different manufacturers opens up the risk of reduced life, adhesion problems and other performance problems that might show up immediately but usually show up over an extended period of time. When these problems become evident, they generally require complete replacement of one of those sealants or finishes. We make our products as compatible and tolerant of varying conditions as we possibly can. As a result, they work just fine almost every time, even when they are used with other brand name supplies.

But, to get the best performance, use a complete system of products from Perma Chink Systems. We are the only company that offers both a complete line of Care and Maintenance products for your log home as well as backing it up with complete and knowledgeable project guidance and service factory-direct to you.

So, what have we done to earn your trust? To prepare for your call, we have spent decades developing high performance products that are safe to use, are eco-friendly and are compatible with each another. We pride ourselves on improving our finish and sealant systems. We stay abreast of the latest polymer technologies to make sure that we are ahead of our competitors. We believe that we owe it to our customers to provide the best products incorporating the very latest technical developments.

Another vision that Mr. Dunstan had from the beginning of Perma-Chink Systems was to manufacture products that were friendly to our environment. We were “green” before the term became over-used pop culture. We started making water-based stains when other log home stains were oil-based. We invented and introduced the first low toxicity borate-based wood preservative that could be applied to an existing log home. Over the years we have consistently thought about the environmental impact of all of our products. We removed or changed those that did not meet our environmental standards. It’s all a part of our systems concept and we encourage everyone to stay within the Perma-Chink System whenever considering the use of any of our products. In the long run it will cost you less and result in greater beauty and performance of your finish and sealant systems.

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Log Wash

By Vince Palmere

The initial reason we developed Log Wash was as a mild cleaner for cleaning finished exterior surfaces. We found that all of the products typically recommended for general maintenance cleaning like Spic & Span, Mr. Clean or even mild dishwashing soaps softened finished surfaces during the cleaning process. This resulted in potential finish damage especially if a pressure washer or brush was used. It turned out that the one thing these cleaners all had in common was their high pH. When we tried the Log Wash formulation we found that it actually appeared to harden the surface of our finish systems so that no damage occurred to the finish even with vigorous scrubbing. It was only later that we discovered the benefits of using Log Wash on bare wood. That’s why the instructions for use on the first Log Wash labels did not include information about using it for cleaning bare wood surfaces.

So what are some of the attributes that make Log Wash such a remarkable product for cleaning bare wood? First and foremost is its pH. It is one of only a handful of cleaning products on the market that has a slightly acidic pH similar to that of wood. This means that when applied to wood it does not disrupt the wood’s chemistry thus avoiding many of the discolorations attributed to highly alkaline solutions like bleach or strong acids like oxalic acid. In other words it’s mild to the wood while maintaining its activity as a very effective cleaner. Another feature of Log Wash is that it’s easy to tell when it has been sufficiently rinsed off. While rinsing Log Wash it will foam as long as any residue remains on the wood. When the foaming stops it’s a good indication that the wall has been adequately rinsed.

One of the biggest surprises we encountered with the use of Log Wash on bare wood has been how well it removes some types of discolorations due to tannins or chemical imbalances. There have been several occasions when discolorations we thought would be difficult if not impossible to remove ended up being no problem at all with the application of a two cups per gallon Log Wash solution.

Since we started promoting the use of Log Wash for cleaning bare wood the number of complements we receive from homeowners and applicators about its performance have increased. In addition, the use of Log Wash for maintenance cleaning has been proven to extend the life of the finish as well as keeping your home looking beautiful.

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Growing Together to Make Beautiful Homes

By Joshua Beasley, Honest Abe Log Homes

Most everyone has a friend closer to them than any other. Someone they shared their youth with. Someone they really know, care for, and most of all trust. Finding those types of relationships in the business world can be few and far between. However, in the case of Perma-Chink Systems and Honest Abe Log Homes, that all came easy.

Rick Denton, Honest Abe’s founding president recalls, “We hit it off with Perma-Chink early on. On a personal level, we understood one another, trusted one another. I think there was also an understanding that our companies could be vital to one another’s success.” In its infancy, one of Honest Abe’s biggest challenges was to find a replacement for the traditional mortar chinking. Denton laughs, “Their first few batches of chinking were not really that great, but they kept working on it and it quickly got better. They’ve had a great product for many years now; it seems with everything they do they are constantly working to improve upon it.”

As the years went by, Honest Abe grew, and Perma-Chink’s product was a key part of many beautiful homes. However, the 1990’s brought a new set of challenges for both companies. As log homes continued to grow more popular, the trends and styles were changing. More customers were choosing a “log-on-log” style of home, and the log styles requiring chinking were in less demand. Randy Fudge, Vice President of Honest Abe notes, “It was about that same time we realized many people were building our homes and leaving the stain as one of the last steps. By that time, their budget was strained, so they stopped at their local hardware store and picked up the cheapest product they could find. It was obvious that including a quality stain, made especially for log homes, was critical to benefit our customers.” Just as they had done with the chinking, Perma-Chink came through with a great stain product. Once applied, not only did it protect the homes better, but their natural beauty was preserved.

Since that time, Perma-Chink has dedicated itself to Honest Abe’s customers. “Their level of customer service, before and after the sale, is what really sets them apart. There have been many times they went above and beyond for the good of our customer and Honest Abe,” notes Fudge. In fact, at many of Honest Abe’s events, a Perma-Chink representative will be on-site to help answer questions and demonstrate the product.

The latest revolution has been Perma-Chink’s Dedicated Customer Care Program. When purchasing an Honest Abe Log Home, customers can work directly with Perma-Chink to choose stain colors and other products. “Perma-Chink are the experts, so its good to know they’ll walk our customers through the process,” comments Rachel Meadows, Direct Sales Manager at Honest Abe. “It’s important to me that our customers get the beautiful look they want, but equally important that they get a great product. This program has helped our home owners achieve that.”

There’s little doubt that Perma-Chink has helped Honest Abe throughout the years. More importantly, it’s helped Honest Abe’s customers complete the beautiful home they’ve always wanted. One of Denton’s final notes was, “Our success early on was a direct reflection of their achievements. Without Perma-Chink products, our company, and even our industry would not have reach the popularity it now enjoys. There are a lot of homes as beautiful now as they were many years ago when they were built, and most of that is due to quality stain and chinking products.”

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D o n' t M i s s O u t
Application Workshops Spring 2009

April 18 Knoxville, TN
April 18 Petersburg, Pennsylvania
April 25 Rifle, Colorado
April 25 Rice, Minnesota
May 2 Garden City, Utah
May 9 Marlborough, New Hampshire
May 16 Knoxville, Tennessee
May 16 Irasburg, Vermont
May 30 Rice, Minnesota
June 6 Redmond, Washington

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

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