Log cabins can last for generations providing they have been properly maintained. A good finish on the exterior logs is essential if its going to last a lifetime. The wood needs to have a proper finish that can control moisture. A good quality product will repel water (rain and condensation) from the outside but will also ‘breathe’, allowing moisture that is inside the wood to make its way out.
The moisture content in the wood will vary during the seasons throughout the year. The current weather conditions and the age of the cabin will have a bearing on the content. Therefore it is extremely important that the finish on your log cabin is well maintained so that it repels water from the exterior surface of the wood and allows the wood to breathe.
Painting your log cabin with normal paint is therefore not a good idea and is definitely not recommended. Layers of paint build up and don’t allow the wood to breathe. Paints are not capable of ‘stretching’ and they fail. Its inflexibility does not allow the constant natural expansion and contraction of the wood and over time, the paint will crack and peel. Rain will get trapped between the log and the paint finish and the wood will no longer be protected. Moisture will make its way into the logs through the cracks and then be trapped by a finish that cannot breathe. These conditions if untreated will be the start of the rotting process.
So what should you use? Whichever product you choose it should satisfy four criteria –
- It must be a weather protector, not a paint
- It must be a waterproofer (many preservatives do not have waterproofing abilities. This is also true of many varnishes)
- It must have at least a small pigment of colour to provide UV protection and the damaging effects of sunlight. Without resistance to UV radiation the pine will fade to a grey/black colour.
- It must be of high quality, for joinery applications, e.g. front doors, windows, conservatories etc.
Get it right first time and enjoy your cabin for years to come!