Log Home Care
Good engineering, materials, construction and maintenance are key to a quality log home that will last for many generations. As with any home your Applewood Log Homes will require normal care and maintenance. Below are some of the most common questions we hear along with a response to them:
Do the logs need to be treated?
Yes they do. Any wood product, no matter what species it is, when exposed to the elements of nature will have to be taken care of to insure long life and to maintain the beauty of the wood.
Applewood Log Homes utilizes a Sashco product called Transformation with excellent results. Homeowners report that their home is just as beautiful as when it was constructed due to the periodic application of Tranformation.
Transformation is a very user-friendly pre-mixed product and can be applied professionally or by a homeowner with a sprayer or with a brush. It has a proven long life span and mainteneance is minimal with years of beauty between applications.
What about termites or other pests?
Pests must be addressed with any home. If you are building in an area that has a strong termite population it will be advantageous to provide termite shields on the foundation wall. This may be required by code. If not, it is an inexpensive deterrent to these pests. We also recommend that the ground be treated when your home is constructed.
The dreaded carpenter bee has been a pain in the side for wood structures for many years. In recent years we have found that they can be effectively assaulted by the use of a powdered insecticide. It is applied into their holes and then the holes are plugged. This method breaks the life cycle of the bee and their population will be drastically reduced if not eliminated entirely.
Kiln drying is a very large factor in the prevention of bug and pest infiltration. During the kiln drying process any resident bugs within a log will be killed along with their larvae. This is good news for the log home purchaser, as it will save the cost of possible treatment later on for pests. It is said that some larvae can actually live dormant for up to seven years prior to becoming active. Kiln drying is an investment that kills these larvae.
Will I have to deal with settlement of my Log Home?
There is a lot of time and effort that goes into the kiln drying process. The cost involved with this process is a substantial value to you, the homeowner. When an “air dried” home is built it must be constructed according to special methods to allow for the great amount of settlement that can be expected to occur.
As a log dries it shrinks. With many courses of logs being stacked one above another to build a log wall, this shrinkage can add up quickly. Allowance for the shrinkage must be taken. These allowances include spaces left above windows and doors, floating window jambs (a possible sealing problem), slip joints in plumbing drain lines, feed lines and vents, screw jacks in interior walls to be adjusted as the exterior wall become lower (up to three inches in some cases), kitchen cabinets not being able to be mounted on exterior log walls and various other building system requirements that will propagate more maintenance as the home settles.
None of these special systems are required with a Applewood Log Home due to proper kiln drying of the logs. This translates into far less maintenance for you, the homeowner. Again it is a value -versus- cost situation.
Is there a lot involved in maintaining the interior finish?
Interior finish maintenance is minimal and is typically a non-issue. The reason such a statement can be made is closely related to the kiln-dried factor of the log walls. The most common interior finish product utilized is polyurethane. (Oil finishes are also fairly common). Since the logs are kiln dried the interior finish can be applied as soon as the home structure is completed. Note that a minimal amount of moisture can be present in the logs from the exposure to the elements during the construction process. This must be allowed to dry out for a short period of time.
With many of the air dried products on the market applying an interior finish is discouraged for up to a year after the completion of the home due to the concern of trapping excessive moisture within the logs. Bottom line on this as related to an Applewood log home is that by being able to apply the finish before moving into the home the maintenance factor is greatly reduced. A log wall after it is prepped for a finish is subject to all kinds of stains and normal abuse, which will have to be addressed prior to the final finish being applied. The good news is that this is not a consideration with a properly kiln dried log wall. There is very little maintenance involved once a wall has a polyurethane finish applied to it.
This is a very durable finish and is easily cleaned with common non-abrasive household cleaners. It would not be fair to avoid mentioning that logs and all wood products will naturally age in time. The almost white finish of a new log wall will tend to assume more of a honey color over time. This is thought of as being a good thing as with time it enhances the warm feeling that log homes are known for. It does not come without some concern though. When pictures, or other decorations, are hung on a wall the area behind the picture will not age at the same rate as the rest of the wall. If after time the location of a picture is to be moved or if the picture is to be removed a light spot will remain on the wall in the shape of the picture. To prevent this from occurring it is advisable to relocate pictures or other decorations from time to time.
Should we be concerned with humidity in our Log Home?
The answer is yes, which is true with any tightly constructed home. Typically humidity should be kept as high as possible without creating condensation problems. The range is typically between 35 and 50 percent although the ideal setting may vary from summer to winter.
Low humidity can be the reason for additional checking (cracks) in logs and beams. Some additional checking is to be expected, but can be minimized by monitoring and maintaining a higher humidity within the home. Low humidity can also be the reason for loose joints in wooden furniture, static electricity and even various heath problems.
In most cases within a new home, the humidity levels will be high for a period of time. This can be the result of masonry within the home or the basement releasing moisture into the air as it cures. Other sources within a new structure may create humidity as well. After a period of time the masonry products will cure and the humidity levels will tend to drop. It is important to monitor the humidity, as we do not want it to drop without our knowledge and allow the above-mentioned concern to surface.
A humidifier may be required within the home to release water back into the air. (There are cases where a dehumidifier may be required). Either, or both, ‘tools’ are critical to monitoring humidity and then maintaining proper humidity levels.