How to Spot Rotten Log Siding

We hope these videos will shed some light on issues regarding the maintenance, repair and restoration of log homes. This is the first in a series of video blog post we are doing over this season.  Each will have a specific topic relating to log homes and cabins.

How to spot rotting log siding

Good Morning. Matt Edmunds here from Edmunds & Company. I’m in Fremont, Wisconsin today, checking out a log sided home to see what we can do about the rotten siding on this home.

I want to show you one of the most common problems we see on log cabins. Whether it be log homes – true log homes – or log sided homes like this one – they tend to have the same issues.

I’m going to show you this spot here. At first glance – this area of log siding looks OK but if you look a little closer, you can see a carpenter ant hole and then you can see here, how when I press on this with my chisel, how that’s just completely soft – that there’s a lot of rot back there.

Here are some photos that give you a better idea of what to look for and how the rotten log siding gets replaced.

This is typical of what rot can look like on log siding, or on full logs for that matter. It is likely that moisture got in-between these two pieces of log, causing too much moisture to build up and eventually – rot!   While it’s important for joints to be properly caulked to avoid rot like this, it’s also important to keep the water off the logs in the first place.

Notice the darkness in this log compared to the surrounding ones. Looks suspiciously like it is rotten. To check for rot, tap along the darkened log and then on the ones around it. The rotten log will have a hollow sound when tapped. The green you see here is also a sign that the logs have too much moisture.

When this rotten log was torn out, it became clear that there was lots of rot hiding behind what, at first glance, appeared to be a solid log. Finding rot requires more than a visual inspection. It may look like the logs are in good shape, but knowing the signs of rot is what you need to know to catch problems before they get too advanced.

Once all the rotten log siding was removed, we installed dried cedar logs.  One of the vulnerable areas for rot on log homes and cabins is underneath windows. Rain has a way of getting behind windows and then traveling along the logs underneath them. It’s important to make sure that windows are properly flashed and caulked to keep them from allowing moisture to damage the logs around and below them.

These are the types of repairs we do week in and week out all over Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin.

If you’ve got a log home and you’d like us to check it out, give us a call either at 877-378-4403 or check us out on the web at

Have a good day.

Related Links:

Dry Rot Repair Specialist
Log Siding Maintenance