We highly recommend that you treat your log cabin with wood preservatives as soon as possible after it has been built. The logs will be supplied ‘natural’ and untreated so it is extremely important that you protect the wood from the elements so that it lasts for years to come.
When you are ready to apply the protective finish, you must first make sure that the log surfaces are clean and dry. Make sure that you are not working in strong sunlight or rainy weather or in extreme temperatures (whichever product you choose, take note of the manufacturers guidelines).
Read thoroughly all of the directions for the particular product that you buy before applying. Usually more than one coat will be needed. Follow the instructions carefully, if it says to wait 24 hours between two coats then do not try to out guess. Make sure you wait the required time before adding an additional coat.
Our advice is to use Cuprinol Wood Preservative Clear as a pre treatment which will protect the wood before applying subsequent treatments. Cuprinol describe this as a colourless general-purpose preserver for interior or exterior use. It gives deep penetrating protection to sound wood against decay, mould and blue-staining fungi. This low odour formula has been specially developed with low aromatic solvents to make it more pleasant and convenient to use.
We recommend that you apply liberally with a brush (it can be sprayed, but spraying can lose some of the product to the atmosphere and it may be difficult to get into all the joins and nooks and crannies). Apply evenly, working it well in to the logs and paying particular attention to the joins and the open grain of the log ends.
After the Cuprinol base coat has dried sufficiently, typically 2 – 5 days, you are ready to apply the top wood treatment. We recommend either Sadolin or Sikkens. For more advice on what and what not to use, we suggest you read our article Choosing the right wood treatment for your log cabin.
A good tip is to paint the whole way along each log at a time, starting from the bottom and working up. This way any drips won’t show and you can break off at any time without leaving a drying line. If you paint in sections from top to bottom you will get a darker ‘overlap’ which will look patchy and unsightly. Don’t worry if after the first coat the colour looks a bit uneven, generally that will improve with the second coat. Make sure you leave window and door frames open to dry well before closing. You don’t want them getting stuck!
We sometimes get asked the question, “can I treat the logs with wood preservative before I construct the cabin?”. What happens when you do this, is the wood takes on moisture from the treatment and swells. The joints will be tight and difficult to assemble. Far better that you treat the cabin afterwards.
Afterwards, continue to maintain the cabin and inspect the exterior regularly. Sadolin and Sikkens products will typically last around 5 years before you need to re treat. If you keep up with the proper maintenance of your log cabin, you will prevent any unsightly peeling that can occur in the future.