What You Need to Know to Inspect Your Home

It can seem like there are too many things to consider when inspecting your log cabin home. We break it down for you so that you can have confidence in the process.

  • The first step is to make a diagram of your home on paper. As you do your inspection, mark those areas that need work.
  • If you have a camera, take pictures of problem spots. They’ll come in handy if you need advice for fixing them.
  • Find out what materials you’ll need and what repairs have to be done prior to cleaning and applying any finish.

Start your inspection at one corner of the home and go completely around making notes and taking pictures as you go along. A day or two later, do it again. It’s amazing how many things you will spot that you missed the first time around!

Now, what should you be looking for? Here is a list of things to check along with our recommendation of what to do about them. Some problems may require extensive work and others might be quick fixes.

Ground Line

  1. Dirt against exterior log surfaces. Remove dirt to at least 12″ away from logs.
  2. Firewood stacked against or near home. Move firewood 12″ to 18″ away from log walls to prevent bugs from firewood infesting log walls.
  3. Landscaping (plants & shrubs) against house. Trim plants to 18″ away from log walls to allow good air circulation to exterior walls.
  4. Excessive moisture in logs. Check/repair water management systems such as gutters, downspouts, sprinklers, faulty plumbing. Clean and stain.
  5. Termite tubes under house or over cement. Contact a pest control company.
  6. Sawdust (frass) from beetles on lower logs. Clean and treat with borates, then stain.

Logs, Exterior / Interior

  1. Signs of decay on log ends. Repair, stain and coat with Log End Seal.
  2. Green moss, algae, or heavy mold growing anywhere. Check water management systems such as gutters, downspouts, sprinklers, faulty plumbing. Clean and stain.
  3. Probe logs for softness indicating rot. Remove soft wood. Treat with borates, then restore with epoxies.
  4. Sagging logs that have lost their structural integrity. Replace logs.
  5. Upward facing checks that collect water. Seal
  6. Discolored areas caused by repeated wetting. Check/repair water management systems such as gutters, downspouts, sprinklers, faulty plumbing. Clean and stain to protect logs from excessive moisture.
  7. Gaps that may allow water or air infiltration. Seal.
  8. Water stains on inside that indicates leakage. Identify and remove water source and seal gaps to prevent water intrusion.

Basement / Crawl Spaces

  1. Standing water and/or moist wood. Install vapor barrier and increase ventilation.
  2. Termite tubes or damage. Contact a pest control company.
  3. Signs of wood rot or decay. Consult a log home professional. Either replace decomposed wood or repair.

Windows/Trim Accessories

  1. Light colored wood degraded by sunlight. Clean and stain.
  2. Signs of decay on sashes and sills. Replace if necessary. Repair using borates and epoxies. Refinish and reseal using appropriate supplies.
  3. Degraded caulking around trim. Remove old caulk and re-caulk.

Overall Exterior

  1. Blocked gutters. Clean gutters.
  2. Signs of water wicking back up under shingles. Clean gutters.
  3. Faded south or west walls. Clean and stain.
  4. Signs of peeling or blistering finish. Perform adhesion test using masking tape to determine whether removal of old finish is necessary. Prepare surface accordingly and re-stain.
  5. Different shade on top of log than bottom. Clean and stain.
  6. Gray discoloration from weathering. Clean and stain.
  7. Total absence of water repellency. Re-apply water repellent top coat.
  8. Total absence of any finish whatsoever. Clean and stain.
  9. Presence of mold, mildew, dust and dirt. Clean.

A good yearly inspection is well worth the effort since small, inexpensive repairs can prevent future damage that may cost thousands of dollars. If you have any questions about what you should be doing to maintain your log home, just give us a call. After all, we are the log home experts.

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