Log Home Maintenance: What to do about logs that continue to seep out sap or pitch

Log home maintenance has some unique aspects to it compared to maintenance on other types of houses. One unique problem that log homes present is when the sap or pitch from the logs seeps out to the point where it is visible and unsightly.


We received the following question from our blog regarding this common problem with log home maintenance.

Question: Pitch or sap is leaking out from my logs. I want to know if there is anything that can be done to keep this from happening.

Answer: We have seen a number of log-sided and full log homes that have real problems with pitch seeping out of the logs. Most are homes built within the past 20 years and all are made of some species of pine, be it eastern, white or Norway pine.  Most of the time pitch does stop coming out after about five years.  Often in these cases, the logs need to be blasted to remove the pitch and then the logs need to be re-stained.

In extreme cases, pitch can continue to seep out for many years. It is my opinion that this is happening because the stain on the logs is acting as a blocker and once the stain begins to get older, it starts to fail and break down and this “blocking” effect goes away.  When this happens, the sap is allowed to flow again. Here is an article entitled: “Effective Management of Resin Exudation from Eastern White and Red Pine” done by the University of Maine. Just in case you want more information on this and what resin blockers might be able to do, click here for a PDF of this study.