How Subpar Caulking & Chinking Affects Your Log Home

How Subpar Caulking & Chinking Affects Your Log HomeLog homes require a lot of special attention and maintenance to keep them in good condition. The amount of work to be done, especially in the beginning, can make cutting corners seem like an attractive alternative. However, the old saying that “anything worth doing is worth doing right” certainly applies to log homes, and chinking is a good example. A subpar caulking or chinking job, whether due to low-quality materials or incomplete coverage, defeats its own purpose. [Read more…]

Top 7 Ways to Protect Your Log Home from Pests

Top 7 Ways to Protect Your Log Home from PestsLog cabins are celebrated for their natural appearance and the rustic environment they create. Unfortunately, a wide variety of insects also appreciate this type of home, especially if it hasn’t been sealed well. There’s no need to let insects get the best of your house, though. From carpenter ants to termites to beetles, take a closer look at these seven effective ways to protect your home from pests. [Read more…]

The History of Chinking

History of ChinkingLog home ownership comes with a variety of issues that more conventional homes do not. One of those is chinking, the insulating substance placed between the logs. Here’s a concise history of the chinking tradition, and some discussion of the best ways to find chinking solutions that work for you. [Read more…]

A Guide to Chinking Repair: Removal and Reapplication

With its powerful ability to create water and air barriers, chinking keeps log homes intact and protects them from external issues. Since not all chinking products are created equal, however, choosing an inferior material can demand repair and replacement down the road. Follow this guide to chinking repair, removal, and reapplication, and learn how to perform log home maintenance that lasts. [Read more…]

Chinking Repair: How to Determine the Moisture Content of Wood

Chinking is the glue that holds many log homes together. This material doesn’t always last forever, though, especially when environmental conditions aren’t ideal. Before taking on a significant chinking repair project, it’s important to assess the moisture levels in the raw materials. Learn how, and why, it’s necessary to determine the moisture content of wood prior to applying chinking. [Read more…]

Dealing with Wood Shrinkage in Your Log Home

Wood shrinkage is an unavoidable issue for any log home owner and is not something to be overly worried about. Armed with the right information and fully understanding why your logs are shrinking is the first step to dealing with this issue. You can then take the necessary steps to deal with wood shrinkage and keep your log home properly maintained. [Read more…]

Three Chinking Myths Busted

When planning the finishing touches on a home or cabin, many people debate with themselves over whether chinking is a necessary option. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about chinking, and we put three of these myths to our boss, Jim McCain, the President of Weatherall. [Read more…]

Why is Chinking Important to Your Log Home?

It’s no wonder that so many people are drawn towards living in log homes. They are beautiful and have an adventurous, outdoor feel to them that is unlike any other home. However, with all of the perks, there is a host of maintenance and knowledge that goes hand in hand with living in a log home. Let’s look at what chinking is and why it is important to your log home. [Read more…]

Things to Know About Chinking Over Cement

Big wooden mansion in pine forest

Have you ever wondered if you can apply log home chinking materials over cement?  It’s a common question of log-home owners and the answer is “Yes, you can.”  However, it raises another question, which is:  “Would cement chinking over the original cement be the best choice?”    Cement is not the perfect chinking material since the weightiness of that type of product will contribute to predictable cracking.   If you add cement to older, cement-based chinking you’ll have to contend with having lower bond-strength and no elasticity.

It wasn’t until 1981 that the first polymer-based synthetic chinking hit the log-home market.  Synthetic chinking materials do not contain cement and are easily applied and can be trowelled to virtually any thickness or width.   Additionally, synthetics are available in multiple colors and textures and are known for their impressive elasticity and durability.

Chinking Over Cement:

If chinking over cement takes place, be sure to replace any old cement chinking that is showing signs of crumbling.   One’s best bet would be to use a synthetic chink instead of a mortar chink due to synthetic products possessing superior adhesion and elasticity properties as well as offering unsurpassed air-tight and moisture-tight barriers.

As stated, any loose or crumbling cement chinking needs to be eliminated; and a backing rod should be inserted into any gaps that result.  Make sure the backing rod’s surface is level with the old chinking material.  You may have been told that the chinking procedure doesn’t require the use of a backing rod; but there are several good reasons why you should use the rods.  Backing rods allow the chinking to adhere in two strategic places– to the logs above and below.  This is called “two-point adhesion” and this is crucial to enable the chinking to shift with any log movement.   Additionally, backing rods contribute to significant joint insulation–you don’t want chinking to work its way into the joint where the chinking will be subjected to the type of movement it isn’t designed for.  If you notice any joints that are too shallow for a backing rod, simply use caulking instead.

The next step will involve covering the joint with bond-breaker tape.  Though you may find this surprising, good-quality, clear packing tap or water-proof masking tape can be used instead of bond-breaker tape!

You’re now ready for the application of the new chinking.   The chinking material should extend 1/8 of an inch to no more than 3/8 of an inch beyond both edges of the tape and old cement.  Some stains and sealers contain waxes or silicone; and the wood that touches any of the chinking absolutely needs to be void of any waxes or silicone since these ingredients will minimize adhesion.  Once the chinking is applied and troweled over any existing cement, the goal will be to have a consistent layer of chinking that will possess at least ¼ inch of thickness, when cured.

Some Cement Insight:

As stated, regular cement would not be a good choice as a chinking option over old cement due to its density.   Cement’s density does not allow it to “breathe”.   If the ‘breathability’ factor is low or non-existent, logs that are exposed to a good deal of snow or rain will not be able to dry in a normal amount of time.  Any concrete that might be used as new chinking should contain a specialized water-proofer to prevent unprotected logs from developing rot and mildew.  If inadequate chinking products allow logs to hold moisture for too long, that moisture can make its way to the interior walls—not a good thing!  So bottom line, cement-based chinking materials can be used, but never without waterproofing additives!

In a nutshell, regular cement over old cement chinking does not have the ability to stretch and follow the movement of the logs, while technologically-advanced synthetic chinking materials over cement will provide the adhesion, breathability and elasticity that is required.  Logs will continually undergo cycles of shrinkage and expansion due to seasonal moisture variations so use a high-quality chinking product over any old cement chinking to ensure years of wear and dependability.   Let’s face it, re-chinking your log-home is something you don’t want to have to do again for a long, long time!