Spring maintenance can be a chore so let's narrow it down to the most important items.
Living in a log cabin is all about being close to nature, but when it comes to the care and longevity of your logs, it’s best not to be TOO close to nature.
Spring is a great time to step outside and look closely at your log home. Check for any obvious damage from the winter winds and freezing:
1. Spray or splash a bit of water on your logs and see what it does: if it beads up and rolls down you’re good for another year. But if it soaks in you should be considering a new coat of log stain on the outside for this spring maintenance season. It’s especially important to check the log ends as end grain tends to soak up moisture more.
2. Check that your plants and trees around the perimeter of the house haven’t grown and gotten too close to the wood. These can direct rain onto your logs and block the sun and air circulation from drying any moisture in the area. Proper log cabin landscaping maintains a good 2’ – 3’ space between your logs and any shrubbery -- so cut them back or re-plant.
3. Make sure that the earth around your log cabin isn’t too close to the wood as well. You want a minimum of 6” between the bottom log and the ground so that rain doesn’t splash back onto the logs, especially if you don’t have wide overhangs on your cabin roofing to direct the rain away. You should also be sure that there are no low spots in your property that catch the rain and keep it from draining away.
4. Re-caulk any gaps in your windows, butt joints of the logs and trim that you can see. This will help with air infiltration into the house and keep the moisture out as well. Latex log caulk is very easy to work with and cleans up with water, but because it is water-based it will shrink more than other caulk and may need re-doing more often. Use one of the colored caulks available and the cracks and checks will disappear.
5. By now it should be obvious that moisture control and water management are key in the long-term longevity of your log home. If you don’t have gutters already installed, they can be a great investment in caring for your larger investment in your log home. If you do have gutters, take the time to clean them out - there are special gutter cleaning tools that allow you to work from the ground. Ensure that the discharge is directed away from your house where it can drain away.
6. Termite damage can be indicated by droppings around small holes in your logs, mud tunnels or tubes, or even by spotting visible ant-like insects with white wings. Treat them with Spectracide foaming spray, a portable sprayer dispensing a termiticide like Termidor, or calling in a professional exterminator.
7. Finally check your HVAC system to ensure that leaves or dirt haven’t collected on the fan blades or grill. This will block the air flow necessary for efficient operation and cost you energy dollars.
These top 6 spring maintenance tips can help keep your log cabin in top condition. Once you've finished them you can open the doors, let the dogs run and enjoy the spring!