Log home maintenance often includes the use of borates are a preservative for the logs. There are basically three forms of borates: liquids like PeneTreat, Bora-Care or Tim-bor; pure borate rods like Impel Rods; or mixed borate rods like Cobra Rods.
PeneTreat is a powered borate. The powder is mixed with water and applied to bare wood. It treats the wood in general for rot and also prevents infestations of wood boring insects. Bora-Care is a highly concentrated borate where the borate is mixed with glycol to promote penetration into the wood.
We use and recommend PeneTreat where we want general protection for the wood. It comes in the form of a powder and is typically mixed at one pound per gallon. Bora-Care is a gel, which is also mixed with water, usually 1:1. This mixture is then applied to low, up-facing checks, lower logs that are getting wet all the time, window sills that need extra protection and crown or log ends. These borates offer good protection from rot when used in conjunction with a quality log home stain.
Borate rods or Crystalline Solid Borate Rods are either pure borates in rod form or borates mixed with copper hydroxide.
- Impel Rods are a pure borate rod in a solid form
- Cobra Rods are a mixture of borate and copper hydroxide
We generally do not recommend the use of these rods for log home maintenance. We have found that the drilling of holes into the logs to insert the rods promotes decay in itself and for this reason, do not recommend them.
This said, we see them used all the time. Many times they are inserted too late in the rot process to do any good. In this situation, they do more damage by actually promoting decay rather than acting as a prevention for decay, as advertised.
In conclusion, borates in general are a good thing. Use the liquids such as PeneTreat, Bora-Care and Tim-bor and there are other brands. It’s all really the same stuff packaged in a different way. These are good ways to get borates into your logs to protect them. Understand that borates are prevention… not repair. Borates will not “re-solidify” your logs. Rot is rot. The wood will need to be replaced if it is rotten. Maintenance of your log home depends on the wise use of borates.