Log Cabin Directory | Is Your Garden Cabin Ready For Winter?
Is your log home ready for winter?
Fall (Autumn) is in the air…
Preparing for winter is something that every homeowner does in one way or another. Even if you live in a home clad in vinyl siding, there are always things that need done to keep Mother Nature where she belongs…outside. Log homes require a tad more TLC and preparation than other homes such as brick or other weather resistant materials.
Log Home Staining and Maintenance
One chore that can be an annual project depending on where you live, is staining. One of the most popular posts on their blog was an article from 2008 that discussed staining a log home. This year alone that same post has had about 15 new comments. If staining your home is on your To-Do list you may want to see, Log Home Stains – Which is Best?
That is the million dollar question, and one you will see regularly on every log home forum or blog. In my case, I was like many other new log home owners in that I didn’t know – what I didn’t know. I assumed that if you buy a stain from a ‘name brand’ and you get a good quality product.
When we bought our home from the former owner who had built the house, it was in need of re-staining. I asked the owner what he used and followed his lead. He was using a popular brand name product available from Home Depot. I elected to use the same stain for two reasons. One, the former owner had used it and I was anxious about mixing products to avoid any adhesion or coloration issues. Secondly, I was swayed by the manufacturer’s “X-year” guarantee.
Julie and I share the same problem in that I cannot get more than two years on my horizontal surfaces, but the manufacturer “guarantees” five. In fairness, my verticals look great after five years, but decking, stairs and railing horizontals look terrible after only two years. I went so far as to ask the people at Home Depot about this when I did my first two-year re-staining. They told me I needed to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, including stripping and pre-treating the wood with their “authorized” cleaning solution. I did – it didn’t.
Two years later, I had to re-stain all horizontals once again. To make matters more confusing, I attended a log home show last Spring and had a conversation with a representative of a major supplier of stains to the log home industry. This salesman told me that even with the “guarantees”, he knew of no product that would survive more than two years of our harsh Montana seasons. According to him, few people pursue such guarantees and can seldom prove that they followed the manufacturer’s directions as required, thus calling such guarantees into question.
Many log homers heat their homes with a woodstove or keep a fire burning in the fireplace so the annual ritual of stockpiling firewood is one chore that needs attention. We use our woodstove as our primary heat source and this year I let too many distractions keep me from my summer exercise of dropping trees and buzzing them up for firewood. September rolled around and I realized I would need to buy wood this year.
Usually, I can find enough standing dead timber in my area to heat my home, but the chore of cutting down trees, cutting them up, splitting and hauling away in my truck was not going to happen before the weather turned. So, I compromised and found a local fellow (thank you Craig’s List) who was clearing some land and was willing to sell lengths at a discounted price. I bought a small logging truck load of 17’ trees of all sizes. There was a mix of diameters from 3” to 15” so not everything needed to be split. He dumped the logs on my property and I’ve spent the past few days playing lumberjack.
Firewood for Woodstove
Buying the wood this way saved me 30% of what I’d normally pay for a cord of wood that was cut to length and split. I enjoy (and need) the exercise so cutting these logs and splitting the large rounds seemed like a good compromise. I got my wood and my exercise and saved some money to boot.
I still have some staining to do before the weather gets much colder. My deck and railing tops need some attention. All the verticals are in great shape, but these harsh Montana winters play havoc with my deck.
What about you? Do you have your winter prep projects finished? What other fall chores did you do to get ready for winter? And, feel free to add to the discussion about which stain is best for log homes. As I mentioned, that article is now four years old, but people still read it and add comments as recently as this past week.
This was an article on The Log Cabin Directory and was great help for their visitors.
Even if you don’t have a ‘wild west’ style log home you still need to look after your log cabin in your garden. Take the time before winter to check it all over. Check the roof covering and windows and ensure they are sound. Ensure that your timber protection is not wearing out and re-treat as required. You will find that it’s only the sides of your garden cabin which face into the weather that ‘wears out’ for want of a better description. On my log cabin which I assembled back in 2000 the rear and side which are away from the sun and rain is nearly as good as when I treated it 20 years ago. The front and the open side I re-treated recently to help to keep the cabin protected.