Log home maintenance includes making sure the finish on the logs is doing its job – protecting the logs from the weather. Peeling stain is NOT doing the job and there are many reasons why stain peels.
The number one reason for peeling stain or paint is the buildup of too much stain on the surface of the log. Too much finish or too many layers of finish can form an impermeable layer on the surface of the log. Moisture (in the form of rain) is always making its way into the logs – most likely through a crack or check on the surface of the log.
Once inside the log, it soaks into the wood. Then when the rain stops, the moisture tries to make its way out that crack again. Because the moisture has dissipated into the log’s core, the moisture content is high in the log. Click here for more reasons why logs rot.)
Log home stains need to remain breathable to be effective. In many cases, an unstable situation created by too much stain is what leads to the surface of the logs peeling like what you see here.
The second reason for peeling stain or paint on a log home or cabin is improper surface preparation prior to staining.
When stain is put over a dirty, grayed or sun bleached surface, it will peal. The reason for this is simple: if you try to get something to adhere to a surface that is not stable itself – the new stain will not make it stable. The new stain will simply add to the problem and come right off with whatever is loose underneath it.
Proper log home maintenance includes periodically washing off the dirt and grime from the logs. This can help prevent mold and mildew from forming on the logs.
Be looking for more information on “log home peeling finish 101” in future posts. Feel free to send us your stories about peeling or faded logs on your log cabin and we will see what we can do to remedy the problem.