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- What kind of sealants do I have to use for my home?
- Do I need to apply Lifeline Advance?
- How do I repair split chinking?
- Does Lifeline Stain have Mildewcide?
- What can we do to treat wood rot?
- What is order of application of preservatives, stains and sealants?
- How long do stains last and how often do I need to re-stain?
- How dry should logs be before they are ready to stain?
- Why shouldn't I use a clear exterior stain?
- Why should I apply an interior stain?
- How do I know what color your stain will be on my house?
- What preparations are necessary before chinking?
- How do I treat or prevent wood rot?
- How do I prevent termites, beetles, and carpenter ants? How do I eradicate existing infestations?
- How do I prevent mold, mildew, and algae?
1. What kind of sealants do I have to use for my home?
For milled log homes use Stack-n-Seal between the logs during construction when stacking the logs. For sealing existing milled log homes or providing a chinked log appearance on new milled log homes use Energy Seal. For chinking square or round log chink style homes use Perma-Chink chinking.
2. Do I need to apply Proguard?
The polymer base of Lifeline Stain is designed to bind the stain pigments to the wood. Eventually, like all semi-transparent stains these bonds weather and weaken and the stain wears out. A coat of Lifeline Advance over the Lifeline color coat protects the Lifeline finish and will extend the life of the stain. Lifeline can be used without Lifeline Advance, but once you see a home distinguished with a coat of Lifeline Advance you understand why all the fine automobile manufacturers use a sealing clear coat over the color base coat.
3. How do I repair split chinking?
In cases of very excessive log movement or application error (applied too thin or too narrow), even Perma-Chink chinking can split. Most small separations can be fixed easily by applying a bead to fill the split, then using the bottom of a spoon or small putty knife to level out the bead, being careful to work the new material tightly against the existing chinking or wood. Then dip a small paint brush in a cup of water and "feather" out the new chinking material and blend it into the original chinking. In rare cases of excessive log movement fill the gap with backer rod or insulation, then rechink the entire chinking gap or proceed as above. For small repairs, Perma-Chink is available in 11 oz. and 30 oz. tubes.
4. Does LIFELINE Stain have Mildewcide?
Yes, Lifeline does have an effective mildewcide, however in conditions conductive to the growth of mildew even the most effective mildewcide can be overwhelmed. Mildewcide in Lifeline helps prevent mildew from growing in or on the stain film only. So, mildew or fungus should be removed completely before application of the Lifeline stain.
5. What can we do to treat wood rot?
First, if you have rot, you have moisture. Eliminate the source of the moisture. Next if you see rot or insect damage, treat with Shell-Guard. Make sure that Shell-Guard is completely dry, then scrape loose wood. Stabilize remaining wood with M-Balm. Next day, rebuild the original wood contour with E-Wood. M-Balm and E-Wood are both two part epoxy products that are stronger than the wood itself when cured. Sand or file the E-Wood to the desired contour. Follow label instructions on each product for application.
Note - Epoxy may be mixed with conventional tints prior to application to obtain color.
6. What is order of application of preservatives, stains and sealants?
First some definitions are appropriate. At Perma-Chink Systems, we are careful about our use of terms. To us:
- Preservatives are wood treatments that control wood destroying organisms. They are applied to bare wood for the control or prevention of fungus or insects. Shell-Guard is our most popular preservative. This is a one-time treatment in wood that is properly protected. (Contrast this definition to stains, which are frequently called "preservatives".)
- Stains are wood finishes that protect the wood from weathering and also stabilize color. Stains and finishes seal the wood surface to prevent water penetration and add color to stabilize long-term appearance. Good quality stains highlight the wood grain and character to provide long lasting beauty. Lifeline Ultra-2, Lifeline Exterior, Lifeline Advance, Lifeline Interior are our most popular stain/finish products. (Samples are available upon request to determine the color that you prefer.)
- Sealants are applied to your log walls to stop water intrusion, air infiltration (leaks) and to prevent insects from nesting in small crevices. You use sealants to prevent leaks in your walls. Log home designs employ many kinds of sealing systems, including gaskets, chinking, caulking and check sealers. Our most popular sealants are Perma-Chink log home chinking, Energy-Seal chinkless log home sealant, Stack-N-Seal internal sealant and Check Mate check sealer.
With these definitions in mind the materials have been presented in the order in which they should be applied to your log home: first, internal Sealants; secondly, Preservatives; then, Stain & Top-coat; and finally, external Sealants.
7. How long do stains last and how often do I need to re-stain?
There are numerous factors that affect the life of exterior finishes. The major contributors are: the quality of the ingredients in the stain, the care taken in preparation and application of the stain, the amount of colorants in the stain and the severity of exposure to weather.
Some factors can be controlled by the design of your log home, e.g. with wide overhangs on the roof. You can add covered porches on the sides of the house that are most exposed to weather. You should always be very conscientious about preparation and application procedures. In addition, you can choose a stain with higher pigment levels. This does not necessarily mean darker colors. Light colored pigments make a house lighter, and transparent iron oxide pigments are very transparent, so you can still see the wood grain through more highly pigmented finishes.
Having said all that, we have seen quite a range of maintenance periods for stain. The worst cases are homes located in higher elevations, such as on top of a mountain, where the sun exposure is extreme. In those cases, when the owner chooses a very lightly pigmented stain, he probably will need to apply maintenance coats every 1 or 2 years. With this type of exposure it is advisable to use a stain that contains at least a medium amount of pigments. At the other extreme we have seen log houses protected by trees and coated with medium pigmented finish that looked good after nearly ten years. If you want a natural look, choose a stain that is colored the same as your wood, then apply the pigmented finish to stabilize the color and provide the long term protection that only pigmentation can give.
Exterior finishes from Perma-Chink Systems provide long life, ease of maintenance, and long-term appearance without the pigment build-up associated with conventional stains. Lifeline Exterior, and Lifeline Ultra-2 are designed to weather away such that the colorants wear off with the film. As a result, in the future when maintenance coats are applied, you restore the original color. Additionally, Lifeline Advance is a clear topcoat that adds water repellants, UV inhibitors and mildewicides without changing the color. As long as your exterior color is right, this clear topcoat is all that is needed for maintenance coats. Lifeline Advance also adds a light sheen to highlight your logs.
8. How dry should logs be before they are ready to stain?
Wet logs pose the most serious problems to oil based stains that do not adequately penetrate wet wood surfaces, and to any film forming stains that stop evaporation, thereby trapping moisture inside logs. Lifeline breathes to allow moisture to evaporate from wet logs. Extremely wet logs might possibly reduce the life of the first application of stain, but there are good reasons to stain as soon as is possible. Exposure to the weather causes fading of the wood color. The longer bare wood is exposed to the elements, the more mold and mildew spores settle on the surface. Cleaning the logs, then immediately applying Lifeline and a topcoat of Lifeline Advance stabilizes the color, adds a water repellant film and provides a protective film containing mildewicides and UV inhibitors. If you are in a geographic location where mold and mildew is prevalent, we advise you to include additional mildew additives in your first coat of Lifeline. Contact any Perma-Chink Systems office for more information.
9. Why shouldn't I use a clear exterior stain?
Many homeowners like the look of their newly stacked log home and want to keep it looking just like the day it was erected. If your desire is for a "clear stain," your best choice is a stain color that most closely matches the color of your wood. It will stabilize color and far outlast any clear finish. The reality is that in manufacturing the log home, you have removed all of the natural defenses that trees have. Since they are no longer living, the sap and resins no longer nourish the fibers. The bark is gone, exposing the wood to the elements, and nature is already at work changing the color of the wood. Technology places tight limitations on our ability to provide long-term protection with a clear finish. UV inhibitors used in exterior stains are most useful to extend the life of the stain itself. The only truly long-term sun block is the colorant in a pigmented semi-transparent stain that blocks nearly all UV from getting to the wood surface. At the same time it is very transparent to provide attractive appearance.
10. Why should I apply an interior stain?
Wood is a very porous material that absorbs odors from the air. It also absorbs oils from the skin and liquids from cleaning solutions. Household dust settles on log surfaces and is difficult to clean from bare wood. Interior wood will darken from exposure to daylight. These are just some of the reasons to finish all of your interior wood. Lifeline Interior forms a protective film at the wood surface. When you use colored Lifeline Interior, the colorants in the finish help to stabilize the wood color, and slow down or prevent the fading that you may notice when you remove pictures or furniture from against the wall. You can apply multiple coats of Lifeline Interior to achieve the appearance you want. This film prevents odors from lingering in the wood and makes the wood surface easy to clean and dust.
11. How do I know what color your stain will be on my house?
Transparent stains develop color differently depending primarily upon the wood species, the surface preparation, the application method and the kind of light illuminating it. The only way you will really know how the stain will look is to try it on your wood. We will provide complimentary samples of Lifeline for you to try on you own wood before purchasing product. Call for your nearest Perma-Chink company store or Distributor for these samples.
12. What preparations are necessary before chinking?
Chinking is best done after the application of your finishes. It is always best to use chinking and stain from the same manufacturer to assure they are compatible with one another. When preparing for chinking, you must have a clean working surface and proper backing material. The backing material must allow you to apply chinking to the proper width and depth. Call us and request our "Log Home Sealant Applicator Guide" for detailed instructions.
13. How do I treat or prevent wood rot?
Wood Rot is deep-root fungus that causes structural decay in wood. The best measures that you can take to prevent wood rot are to apply a borate based wood preservative such as Shell-Guard, then to dry the wood out and keep it dry. Perma-Chink Systems' borate wood preservatives are contact killers to wood rot fungus including brown rot, white rot and wet rot. Shell-Guard is the ideal treatment for logs and dimensional lumber in your log home. Shell-Guard prevents and kills wood rot fungi. It also prevents infestation of carpenter ants, wood boring beetles and termites. Shell-Guard is a liquid concentrate that is mixed with an equal amount of water, then applied to clean bare wood surfaces or injected into holes in the wood surface.
Wood rot fungus cannot live when moisture content in wood falls below the 15% to 20% range. You can keep wood dry by applying a water resistant finish such as Lifeline Exterior or Lifeline Ultra -2, followed by a topcoat of Lifeline Advance Gloss or Satin, which protects wood from soaking rains. At the same time, Lifeline breathes to allow the moisture within the logs to dry out. An important precaution is to ensure that all household water management systems are in proper working order, including repairing leaks in plumbing, gutters & downspouts and all other water sources.
Proper treatment of existing rot includes treatment with borates (such as Shell-Guard) to kill the infestation, then to restore structural integrity with wood impregnating and filling epoxies. Shell-Guard is a contact killer to wood rot fungus, including brown rot, white rot and wet rot. M-Balm is a liquid epoxy that soaks into decomposed wood and restores strength. M-Balm can actually make wood stronger than it was before rot set in.
E-Wood epoxy filler is used to fill voids in severely decomposed wood. These epoxies work for dimensional lumber, trim, log repair or any wood repair. Both M-Balm and E-Wood can be tooled with normal wood working equipment, including sanders, planers and drills. After restoration, be sure to remove sources of water and seal wood to prevent future decomposition.
14. How do I prevent termites, beetles, and carpenter ants? How do I eradicate existing infestations?
Insect infestation presents a greater risk when wood is damp. It is treated similarly to wood rot. Insects are generally drawn to unfinished, damp wood. Borate wood preservatives are effective against most species of wood destroying insects, including termites, carpenter ants and wood boring beetles. Treating your log house during construction with borate preservatives is the best insurance against insects and wood rot that you can have. If you discover insect infestation later in the life of the house, you should always consult a knowledgeable pest control professional. Treating the infested and surrounding areas with an application of Shell-Guard will most often eradicate pests.
15. How do I prevent mold, mildew, and algae?
Mold, mildew, and algae are problems, especially in damp regions. All high quality finishes incorporate mildewicides, which help control mildew growth on and in the finish itself. If your wood has an active growth of mildew, it is likely that the mildewicide will not be able to overcome it. The best method of preventing mildew growth underneath exterior finishes is to thoroughly clean the wood surface, then immediately apply exterior finishes before more spores are deposited on the logs. In high humidity areas, you can add Stay Clean to your Lifeline top coat to enhance the mildew-fighting ability.