The most critical Step!
Prepare your surface
Preparation is the most important part!
The most critical part to any project is the prep that goes into it. It can be tempting to take shortcuts here, but that usually results in regret. There are several different ways to prep a log home depending on the condition of the logs and if we are going over another coating or working with a raw log. Speak with one of our specialists and they will help you determine the best method for your particular project.
Very Important! Sound wood means:
- It is free of any stains that have failed and any loose wood fibres.
- Free of yellow or grey wood
- If you stain over top of unsound wood, you should expect that it will sluff off taking the stain with it at some point.
- Methods of Prep
- Crushed recycled glass blasting. (feels like sand). Other media is still used but glass is by far the most common.
- Power Washing deep enough to get felting (wood fuzz)
- Hand sanding with Osborn brush, Buffy Pad Systems, random orbital sander or sanding discs.
- Light Powerwash is good if your home is still in the maintenance phase and not the restoration phase.
Take the time, it’s worth it
- Most log stains are transparent or semi-transparent to see the beauty of the wood grain. Making sure the surface is clean before starting is important so you don’t see things you don’t want to see after staining happens and its too late.
- Clean means free of dust, pollen, pencil marks, bird poo mill glaze ( very important). You get the picture. A log cleaner/brightener is great for this
- Contaminants caught under the stain can result in:
- Peeling or flaking stain
- Mold, Mildew and/or algae growth under the stain
- Eye Sores- You didn’t do all this work to have it not look great
More texture= More surface area
More surface area= More stain
More stain= More Protection
- Sanding too smooth closes the wood pores preventing stain penetration.
- How to get more texture? Media blasting, Pressure Washing, Hand Sanding
Most stains call for a 60-80 grit finish as best to receive stain. We usually recommend starting with the least aggressive method first and only use what you need to remove the coating. This will help avoid excess secondary prep if your initial one was too agressive.
Often missed, but very important
- Too high of moisture content in the logs or wood when staining can interfere with stain absorption and result in :
- Peeling or flaking stain
- Mold, mildew, algae growth
- Divorce ( it’s pretty frustrating)
- Most stains recommend 19% moisture content and under to avoid problems. * Check the application instructions
We typically choose a dry prep method over a wet one as then we don’t require several days for it to dry out. If you are pressure washing, make sure someone stands on the inside when you start a wall as often you will see water coming through the joints if not sealed well.
Watch the sun!
- Stains typically can be applied from about 4-32 degrees Celsius. This does vary by manufacture and even by product so check the application instructions.
- Too Hot? The upper curvature of a log can get up over 70 degrees Celsius even though the outside temperature is only 32. These temperatures will result in heat flashing the stain before it even has a chance to absorb.
- Too Cold? Temperatures typically need to say above the minimums for a few days after application to cure properly. Also, when the logs are cold the pores of the wood are closed and stain will not penetrate as well.
If you do not have a laser thermometer to check the surface temperature of a log, a good rule of thumb is “Don’t work with the sun at your back”. That helps to ensure you are not staining logs under direct sunlight and too warm.