PERMA-CHINK SYSTEMS SUMMER 2006 NEWSLETTER
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In this issue
In 1986 Perma-Chink Systems, Inc. had a total revenue of $1,286,824.73. It was also the year that the Company hired Tony Huddleston. Tony came to us directly from the Weatherall Company and brought experience to the table from previous employment as the Maytag Repairman and a County Sheriff. I remember Tony’s last statement before he hired on: “Thank you for the honest information, but before I make my decision I want to talk to my Dad – I always do that before I make any important decision.” Right then, I knew that Tony was the man for Perma-Chink. Tony has been one of the most significant influences on the growth and prosperity of the Company ever and in addition has become one of my most treasured personal friends. I would like to take this time on behalf of me and the entire Company to say “Thank You Tony, for all you have given and all that you are.” Your Dad would be as proud as we are. Rich Dunstan, President
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For the Love of Wood!
By Dirk Christian
For most owners of log and timber-frame homes, frequent maintenance of their exterior finish is something they have learned to live with. Nearly every year they find themselves re-coating their exterior or even worse, stripping and sanding portions of their home where the exterior finish has completely failed. Why do they put up with it? For most homeowners, it’s a labor of love. They appreciate the comfort and beauty that only comes from a natural wood home and are willing to go to great lengths to preserve it.
Prospective home buyers are greatly concerned with the issue of maintenance. They also revere the beauty of a natural wood home but are intimidated by what they perceive as a high maintenance home. Overall, this perception has had a limiting effect on the growth of the log and timber-frame market.
Perma-Chink Systems, an industry leading manufacturer of log home maintenance products for the past 25 years, has developed a transparent exterior finish system that dramatically reduces the cost and effort of maintaining a home. More and more homeowners are realizing the benefits of using Lifeline Ultra-2 transparent exterior stains on their homes. The popularity of this product, with its unprecedented 5-year warranty, is reshaping public perception of log and timber-frame home ownership. The main questions homeowners ask about finishing their natural wood exterior are: What type of finish is best? How long will it last? What does it take to maintain the finish?
Experts generally agree that transparent water-based finishes are now superior to oil-based products. And only finishes formulated with premium Acrylic can protect wood from UV damage and provide lasting color while remaining breathable and flexible. Research has also shown that a two-step system consisting of a color coat protected by a clear topcoat provide maximum performance, such as Lifeline Ultra-2 with Lifeline Advance. Environmental conditions dictate the longevity of any exterior finish. With a premium, two-step finish system the color coat should last indefinitely as long as the clear coat is properly maintained. How long is “indefinitely”? Lifeline Ultra-2 is warranted to protect for at least 5 years, but in practical terms with proper care and maintenance it can last much, much longer.
Ideally, a low-maintenance exterior finish should require only washing to remove dust and pollen and periodic reapplication of the finish (read more on page 4). In a premium two-step system that would mean reapplication of the clear topcoat, such as Lifeline Advance, every 3 to 5 years. It’s worth this minimal effort to keep you home looking like new.
Thanks to Perma-Chink Systems and Lifeline Ultra-2, the log and timber-frame market will continue to flourish as homeowners realize that they can now spend less time performing maintenance and more time appreciating the beauty of their natural wood home – the beauty of wood they adore.
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All About Carpenter Ants:
By Vince Palmere
If you live around trees, you probably have carpenter ants around your home. Carpenter ants are typically large ants, although the size of the workers can vary in a single colony. Finding a few carpenter ants in your home each week is not necessarily a sign that you have an infestation. Foraging ants roam far and wide looking for food and an occasional ant trapped in a sink or bathtub is quite common. If there are trees close to your home, ants can fall or be blown off the trees onto your roof. They may end up trapped within your home during their journey back to their nest. The first thing to remember about carpenter ants is that they do not eat wood. They get their name from their habit of hollowing out wood in order to make a suitable nesting site. In addition to wood, carpenter ants will happily nest in Styrofoam (EPS) panels and other types of insulation. A good indication of a carpenter ant infestation within a home is the presence of numerous foraging ants, especially in the kitchen or bathroom. Water attracts carpenter ants as much as food and moist wood around leaky pipes and drains provides an ideal environment for nesting ants. Another sign of an infestation is the presence of large winged ants in late spring and early summer.
Most carpenter ant colonies start outdoors in a tree cavity. After a few years, the colony grows and expands its foraging territory. If suitable conditions are found within a nearby home, satellite colonies can become established in voids, moist wood, or foam panels within the home. These satellite colonies contain workers, older larvae, pupae and when conditions are right, some winged reproductive ants. Once a satellite colony has become established within a structure the potential for additional satellite colonies dramatically increases. Control of a carpenter ant infestation starts with a complete and thorough inspection. Useful inspection tools include a flashlight, a thin bladed screwdriver for probing the wood and a stethoscope, if you have one. Since carpenter ants are most active at night, the best time to perform an inspection is after dusk. Two things to keep in mind during your inspection, find the voids and follow the water. Although carpenter ants are usually found in wood, any dark, damp cavity can provide a suitable nesting site. Carpenter ants make a noise like crinkling cellophane as they move about. A stethoscope makes them much easier to hear and locate. Tapping a suspected nest site excites the ants and you should be able to hear their movement.
When carpenter ants burrow into wood they generate sawdust or frass that can pile up beneath the site of their activity. Carpenter ant frass looks like tiny wood shavings and will often contain bits and pieces of dead insects. Look closely at all of the wood directly above any frass piles for signs of any openings. Probing the wood with a thin bladed screwdriver can reveal hollowed out nesting sites. In addition to food and a nesting site, carpenter ants require water. That’s one of the reasons they prefer to nest in damp wood. A moisture meter is a great tool to have for discovering actual and potential carpenter ant nesting sites as well as finding decay prone areas. Some pretty good moisture meters can be found on eBay for less than $50. A moisture reading of over 20% is an indication of some type of water problem that needs to be corrected.
Controlling Carpenter Ants
Correcting roof leaks, faulty plumbing and water penetration into log walls are the most important steps for long-term carpenter ant control. Even after the leaks have been repaired, enough moisture may remain to sustain a carpenter ant infestation for many months. The application of a contact pesticide directly to the nest is not the best way to control carpenter ants. Most contact pesticides are highly repellent which causes the ants to scatter. This creates the potential for additional satellite colonies to become established in other areas of the home. In addition, contact pesticides do not impart any long term residual protection to the wood. After a few months the carpenter ants may return to the site of their original nest.
A better way to control a carpenter ant infestation is to treat the infested area and those areas subject to infestations with a borate such as Shell-Guard, Shell-Guard RTU or Armor-Guard. They are all effective pesticides for preventing carpenter ant infestations. Armor-Guard is best used as a dust in wall voids and other areas as preventative measure. Carpenter ants are not easily eliminated and you may wish to call a professional in to take care of the problem.
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Sprucing Up Your Log Home
By Vince Palmere
Like most log home owners you love your log home. But it’s been a few years since you did much of anything to the exterior and it’s beginning to look a little drab and perhaps a bit shabby. Is there anything you can do that does not involve a lot of work and expense that will brighten up your home and help restore its beauty? Sure there is. Let’s start with the landscaping. You’ve probably let those shrubs and hedges next to the foundation grow too large. They may be getting close to your log walls, or even worse, actually touching the logs. You need to trim them back if for no other reason than they are hiding the beauty of your home.
There should be at least two feet of clear space between any plants and shrubs and your foundation or log wall. This allows air to flow over the logs helping to keep them dry and free from mold, algae and decay. One way to maintain an adequate clear space is to lay down a two foot band of crushed stone (not wood or bark mulch!) around the base of your founda tion. This will help keep the foundation area dry and you will be surprised how few millipedes, crickets, ants and other bugs you’ll see inside your home. And all without having to use any pesticides.
The next thing to do is examine your exterior finish. Let’s assume your LIFELINE™ stain appears to be in pretty good shape but is looking a bit dull and dingy. What can you do to bring back the color and intensity?
The first thing to do is give it a good wash down with Log Wash. You may be surprised, the dullness may just be the result of a few years worth of dirt and grime. But let’s suppose that it’s still looking somewhat dingy even after washing. You need to determine if the stain is still adhering tightly to the wood. Be sure to test a few areas, especially on the walls that catch the most sunlight. The best way to test adhesion is to take a strip of masking tape and press it firmly on the surface of the finish. Then pull it off. If any of the finish comes off with the tape it’s probably time to consider stripping that wall and applying a fresh coat of stain and topcoat. However, if the finish does not come off with the tape and there is no sign of graying wood under the stain, all you may need is a coat or two of Lifeline Advance Gloss or Satin Topcoat.
Besides imparting additional protection, our new Lifeline Advance Topcoats really do improve the visual appearance of a LIFELINE™ stained surface. If you don’t believe it, give us a call and request a sample. Clean off a small section of a log and put one or two coats of Lifeline Advance Gloss or Satin on top of your stain, let it dry and see the difference for yourself.
If this is the route you decide to take you will have to make sure that all of the exterior surfaces are clean before you apply the Advance Topcoat. You don’t want to use anything that is too aggressive and may harm the existing finish. If it has been more than four or five days since you initially cleaned the house with Log Wash™, give it another quick Log Wash cleaning. Don’t use a concentrated bleach solution since it can damage both the finish and the wood. You only want to gently clean the surface and although you need to thoroughly rinse Log Wash off, you do not need a pressure washer.
Once the surface is clean and dry you can apply one or two coats of Lifeline Advance Gloss or Satin Topcoat. Not only will your home look better but Lifeline Advance Topcoat will help protect the underlying stain from further UV light and weather damage. It will help extend the life of your LIFELINE stain by at least a couple of years and perhaps longer. Now it’s time to stand back and admire your work. Your home looks great, doesn’t it? Perhaps better than it did when it was first stained a few years ago and all it took was a couple of weekends. Best of all, it did not cost a lot of money. A bit of maintenance now and then goes a long way in keeping your home beautiful as well as protecting your investment. We at Perma-Chink Systems are here to help. Give us a call whenever you have a question about your log home.
Sprucing Up Your Deck
This is the time of year that we get to appreciate the opportunity to sit out on our deck and enjoy the scenery. But if your deck looks a bit worse for wear it may be time to do something about it. Most deck finishes last a couple of years at best, especially if they are oil-based stains. Between the weather and foot traffic a deck stain really takes a beating. Many manufacturers recommend putting a coat of their product on a deck every year. But after a few years the layers of stain build up to the point where they start to peel off. The only way to recover a deck like this is to strip the finish completely off of the wood and start all over again.
Our Lifeline Endure™ water-based deck finish provides a different system for keeping your deck looking great. Instead of having to re-coat the entire deck, its unique formulation allows you to just touch up those areas like steps and heavy traffic paths whenever they need it. With a little bit of brushing you can blend in the recoated areas with what’s already there. That way you’ll avoid having to redo the entire deck and your deck will continue to look great.
Here are some tips on keeping your deck looking good and preparing and staining your deck with Lifeline Endure.
- Wash your deck with Log Wash and a soft bristled brush at least twice a year and don’t allow leaves and other debris to accumulate on it.
- On new, pressure treated decks allow the wood to dry for at least two months before cleaning and staining it with Endure.
- If applying Lifeline Endure Deck Finish for the first time, remove any existing old stain, grayed wood and dirt using an appropriate cleaner and a pressure washer. Rinse well.
- Allow the wood to dry before staining.
- Apply only to clean, bare wood or over an existing coat of Lifeline Endure.
- Do not apply in direct, hot sunlight or when the temperature is below 40°F.
- Stir well before using.
- Apply Lifeline Endure with a brush or pad to two or three boards at a time all the way across the deck. Try not to stop in the middle of a board and maintain a “wet edge” to avoid lap marks.
- Wait for the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. If it is dry enough to walk on without leaving footprints, it’s ready for the next coat.
- Allow Lifeline Endure to cure overnight before replacing deck furniture.
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By Terry Hofrichter
In our last newsletter, Perma-Chink Systems let the industry know there is a small percentage of homes that are experiencing problems with EPS melting behind all brands of synthetic latex chinking. (This is a relatively recent phenomenon that we think is attributed to some kind of change in EPS manufacturing or formulation.) At that time, we were working intensely with various suppliers to identify a backing material that does not do show this problem. To date, we have never seen this problem with any backing material other than EPS – our Grip Strip and Backer Rod do not have the problem.
Our effort to find alternative, inexpensive backing material continues as I write this follow-on article. Evaluations so far have shown us that polyisocyanurate foam (common name “polyiso board”) will tolerate high temperatures far beyond EPS. Polyiso board is available in many building supply outlets, but it is not as easy to work with as EPS is. It is also available in limited thickness options.
Another option is foil-faced EPS board that also has passed all of our temperature testing. This option is the same EPS material, but has an aluminum foil face that reflects much of the radiant heat to keep the underlying foam from melting. Currently, we only know of one supplier for this specialty foam – Energy Systems who can be reached at 865-637-0700. We expect to have additional options available for you in our ongoing investigation. For more information, contact your nearest Perma-Chink Systems office.
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Kodiak M-2 Chink Pump
By Terry Hofrichter
Perma-Chink Systems provides the Kodiak M2 Chink Pump for commercial use. If you are a contractor and are considering a high-capacity application tool, you owe it to yourself to look at our Kodiak M2. This chink pump is light years ahead of any other commercial high-volume pump available today. The Kodiak M2 is lighter, more maneuverable, easier-to-use and less expensive than any other pump that you can find. The Kodiak M2 has:
- Collapsible handle for compact storage and transportation
- Easily removable hopper and hose to enable you to get into those difficult locations and make it easy to clean and maintain
- Low center of gravity for stability on the jobsite
- Lightweight for maneuverability
- Reliable rotor/stator pump
- No clutches or belts
- Variable speed
- Remote off/on switch
- High-capacity, 16 gallon hopper
- Easy to clean polyethylene hopper
- Simple assembly and disassembly of all major components
- Can be modified to pump all brands of Chinking
And finally, it is thousands less expensive than the other chinking machines on the market today. Contact your nearest Perma-Chink Systems office for information. You just might find out that the Kodiak makes those other machines look like a Monster wearing a Snorkel!
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D o n' t M i s s O u t
Application Workshops Summer 2006
June 10 Redmond, WA
July 22 Rifle, CO
August 12 Sevierville, TN
July 8-9, Victor, Montana
For more infor visit
Neville Log Homes
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 email@example.com
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