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ZAR®’s Step-by-Step Guide to Having a Log Home Finished

As the old saying goes, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Never is that more applicable than when it comes to log home maintenance. Every log homeowner can relate: protecting against the elements and preserving the home’s curb appeal are top concerns. So, when it comes time to apply the finish, a little care goes a long way. Jeff Brooks, sales development manager for United Gilson Laboratories (UGL), which makes ZAR® Platinum Pro Translucent and Clear Coat finishes, advocates for a practical approach. In short:

First, determine the condition of the logs. This will define the steps that are needed for initial preparation to receive stain. Second, choose a look you want for your home. This will guide you in the direction of the type of stain you should utilize. Third, pick a color. Always sample the color on the actual logs themselves. Fourth, utilize our coverage calculator to determine the amount of material needed. Fifth, get on a yearly maintenance check schedule.”

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#1: Taking stock in the condition of a home’s log construction is the first step in the process. A visual inspection will clue you in to log-home red flags: Watch for fading, peeling, flaking, or chipping of the surface. When it appears that the coating is no longer able to provide the optimal protection necessary, it’s time to re-stain. Some homeowners may feel confident in their own ability to detect and assess the condition of their log home exterior, while others feel more comfortable engaging a professional.

Knowing how to assess the condition of the logs and the coating on those logs will help determine the best course of action to take moving forward with staining or re-staining,” explains Jeff. Generally, a professional will be able to detect and determine the best course of action because they see it every day. They know what works and what does not. So, it’s never a bad idea to seek the advice of a professional.”

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#2 and #3: Time to choose the right finish. Knowing what you want for your home’s look and color is key. Jeff explains: Many homeowners will exercise the option to use just a clear coat by itself on certain types of wood in new construction to preserve the natural beauty of the wood. If the homeowner is looking for longevity and durability, I recommend a pigmented product for extra protection. It really comes down to weighing aesthetics, functionality, and maintenance.”

Generally, coatings with lower levels of pigment will require more maintenance. That being said, the aesthetic of a clear and/​or translucent stain with less pigment than a solid color may be worth the additional maintenance needed.

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Certain wood species behave differently over time, and knowing the characteristics of one’s exterior wood will help homeowners predict the finishing needs. According to Jeff, the porosity of the species is a key characteristic. Dense exotic hardwoods, such as Brazilian cherry, teak, ipe, or garapa, present a unique set of challenges for coatings to penetrate the fibers adequately enough to provide good protection,” he advised. Woods that have more open grain, such as rough-sawn cedar and cypress, will accept stains much better. When you increase the porosity of wood, you increase the surface area. When you increase the surface area, you are able to apply more material due to better penetration, thus rendering better protection.”

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#4: Assess how much you’ll need. Armed with the knowledge of your home’s current needs and an idea for its final look, you can now assess the best product(s) for the job and how much you’ll need.

ZAR® Platinum Pro Translucent Urethane Finish and its companion, ZAR® Platinum Pro Clear Coat, provide the customization necessary to achieve your desired look but with the simplicity of a two-product system. We’ll even make it easy to figure out the right amount for your specific project with the ZAR® Coverage Area Calculator. From there, it’s time to decide again: DIY or call in the pros.

Log homes take special care and maintenance. As long as the homeowner follows the manufacturer’s stated instructions in terms of prep work and application recommendations, they can achieve success by doing the job themselves. Just do not skip on the prep work needed in order to re-stain,” says Jeff. However, in certain cases, it is best to let a professional log home restoration company do the job, like when the coating is in such bad shape that it needs to be taken down to the bare wood.”

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#5: Keep it up. After it’s all said and done, a regular maintenance check – even if nothing is found – is a small price to pay in cost or time in order to ensure your finish is working to protect your home over the long run.

With a partner like ZAR® by your side, you can rest easy knowing your home will be protected for years to come. Learn more and try the calculator here!

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