Log home repair starts with knowing when you actually NEED repair. Here are some tips for discovering if you have rot in your logs that needs attention.
Tapping on the logs is a simple and effective method of discovery. It is not 100% accurate but it is definitely worth doing. Use a hammer and tap on logs that you suspect may have some rot. Are they darker or grayed compared to surrounding logs? Are there lots of checks or cracks in the log that make it look suspicious? Are there small holes in the logs, which may be an indicator of boring insects (a sign of carpenter ants or powderpost beetles. Find out more…)
If the sound you hear when tapping these suspect areas sounds different than when you tap on logs that look “healthy”, it may be an indicator that there is rot. To really do a thorough check by tapping, it will require a ladder to get to higher areas. If this is not possible for you to do yourself, it is worth getting someone who is comfortable with heights to get up there and do it for you. Rot can take hold underneath windows and underneath decks so be sure to inspect these areas regularly.
Check the ends of the logs (crowns) and if there are lots of checks, pay special attention to them. Are there soft spots? Are there places where pieces of the wood have broken away from the log? If these crown ends extend beyond the drip line of the roof, they are particularly susceptible to rot. Water from the roof can hit one crown and then drip or travel down the entire stack of crowns, causing serious damage.