Chinking log homes – An important part of maintenance

The chinking and caulking in log homes should not be overlooked. Routine maintenance of your log home includes keeping an eye on sealing up the gaps between the logs.  The design of some log buildings requires chinking or caulking but for others, it becomes necessary to do this for various reasons.


Basically what we are doing when we chink or caulk is filling the gaps between the logs or between logs and windows, doors, foundations, roof lines and other areas where we want to prevent air and water from making its way into the log building or cabin.

While prevention of rot is always our primary concern, energy savings can be another big reason why people chink their log buildings. We have had customers tell us they were able to take advantage of tax credits related to energy savings based on chinking their homes.

Chinking and caulking both rely on latex polymers for adhesion.  The basic difference between caulk and chink is that chinking has fine sand particles added to it. This sand makes the appearance of the chinking dull or “flat” and in the same way that aggregate adds strength to a concrete slab – the sand adds strength to the chinking material.

Modern chinking material adheres much better than traditional caulking. Chinking can be used on lines that are from 1/2″ wide to more than 6″ wide.  If the lines we want to seal are less than 1/2” in width, we usually recommend traditional caulking or a product called Energy Seal. Perma-Chink is our preferred brand of chinking.

chinking behind trim

This is not what you want around your windows or doors.

Sometimes it is necessary to install foam backer rod behind the line of chinking. The foam rod insulates the line of chink as well as breaks the bond in the center of the line, allowing for more flexibility within the chinking material for when the logs naturally expand and contract.

caulking around window

This is what we have done to take care of this problem.

An often over-looked area as far as chinking goes is the transition between the windows and the backside of the trim around the windows or doors. If left un-sealed, these cavities become places where water and air can make its way into the home.

The other reason to fill these cavities is that critters (bats, bees and mice) love these areas and find it a fitting home or way to get into your house.

Chinking your log home can solve a variety of problems. We have over 30 years of experience with this technique and we can complete your project in a professional manor. Contact us or call 715-373-5744.

Related links:

Chinking and caulking
Chinking “cabin” style log homes
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  1. Matt Edmunds says

    One question that came up from this post is about ‘sanded’ caulking. Sanded caulking like ‘energy seal’ from Permachink is sort of between caulking and chinking in the sense that it has a small amount of ‘aggregate’ compared to the chinking that has more and the caulking that has none. These sanded caulking products are good if you want the smallest line possible and want the superior adhesion an aggregate type product. These sanded products fill a line that you want to be thin and still have the qualities of chinking. Caulking still has its place….its important choose the right product for your log home chinking / caulking project. I hope this clarifies things……