To keep your log home in the best condition, once the weather becomes warmer, take about an hour to inspect the exterior of your home for signs of potential problems.
Here are a few pre-steps before you start the inspection process:
- Create a diagram or simple plan of your home that you can carry with you while you conduct your inspection to note where something needs to be done.
- Take a digital camera with you during your inspection. Something you see may disappear when you go back to look for it.
- Use a checklist of things that are relevant to your home. By the time you get to the third or fourth wall, it’s easy to forget what to look for.
- Wash down your log home with Log Wash before you start your inspection. The condition of a finish is hard to figure out when it’s covered with a layer of winter dirt.
Begin at one corner of your log home and go all the way around. Inspect each wall individually and do not inspect too much at one time. Start by standing back away from the wall and look for the more obvious problems such as:
- Blocked down spouts and filled gutters. Use a garden hose to check that they are in good working order.
- Inspect the dormers and upper story windows for signs of water damage. Use binoculars to inspect the higher areas, if you have trouble seeing that far.
- Turn on your sprinkler system (if you have one) to make sure that no water is hitting the log or foundation walls.
- Shrubs and plants should not be any closer than 24 inches to any log wall. If necessary, trim your shrubs and plants back or move them. Tree limbs should not be any closer than three feet from your walls or roof.
- If you have any piles of firewood, move them at least two feet away from the foundation. Do not ever store firewood on your porch.
- Search for any wood (even pressure-treated wood) that is in contact with the ground. All wood should be at least 12 to 18 inches above the soil line to protect it against termites and rot.
- You can better see general patterns of wear and fading of your finish when you stand back from a wall, especially on the south and west walls.
Now it’s time to get up close to see what’s going on:
- Look closely at the finish. The upper half of a log is more exposed to the sun and rain than the lower half so may be more weathered.
- Check for any new upward facing checks that have opened up since your last inspection. Checks on the lower half of the log probably do not need to be filled.
- For logs showing signs of decay, lightly tap the logs every few feet with a small hammer. If a log sounds hollow or you hear a dull thud, you may have a pocket of rot that needs to be addressed.
- As you are inspecting the logs, look for signs of insect infestations. A few small beetle holes here and there are no cause for alarm as most of the holes will probably be old and empty. (If you think that the holes are new, apply a strip of masking tape over them and check it a week or so later. If the infestation is active, holes will appear in the masking tape. Make a note of it and when it comes time to completely refinish the home.)
- Window and door frames are the source of many water related problems. Check to see if the caulk around the window and door frame is adhering to the adjoining surfaces.
- Pay close attention to all logs ends, especially if they extend out beyond roof overhangs. A lot of rot problems start at the ends as they really absorb water. Log ends need a little extra care to keep them in good condition.
If you have found any problems or have concerns with your log home, you don’t have to leave it to chance. Call us or fill out our online request form for a professional consultation!