Get Your Log Cabin Ready this Spring

With the snow melting and temperatures rising, it’s time to get your log cabin ready for the coming year. What will your Log Cabin be wearing this season?

Spring is a time of conflicting emotions. On the one hand, the weather is getting warmer, yeah! On the other hand, it’s probably time to take a good, long look at your cabin and decide what spring maintenance is needed, humph!

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ease the pain of spring maintenance each year. The secret is to spot any problems early, and take the proper steps to repair them.

1. First visually inspect the exterior

The quality and durability of a log cabin’s finish can take a big hit over the winter as well. Fortunately it’s easy to test. Splash some water on the wood in several different areas. If it beads up and runs off, you still have waterproofing in place. If it just sits there or soaks in, you are definitely ready to reapply the stain or paint. Also any wood that looks worn or grey is a sign that it’s time to clean and re-waterproof the wood.

2. Clean the exterior

If a cabin is finished properly, the finish should last you a few years. Still, we recommend cleaning wood annually. “After the trees have bloomed in your area, it’s a good time to give your cabin a ‘bath,'” Austin says. “Any dirt, mould, mildew and pollen that have accumulated over the past year should be cleaned off the wood to help maintain the life of the exterior finish.”

Typically, the process may only involve spraying the wood with a cleaning solution and rinsing with water. Pressure washing is not needed unless the waterproofing finish has broken down and you are ready to re-stain or paint. Using the right cleaner is critical. Never use chlorine bleach, because of its high alkaline content. All stains are formulated to work on wood, which is naturally slightly acidic. Bleach (and its residue) will remain in the wood, causing it to be hostile toward the stain. Instead, use an oxygenated cleaner with a low alkaline content to clean the wood, and even that needs to be rinsed very well to keep the pH low.

3. Apply the correct long-lasting stain or paint

If a stain or paint is needed, it’s important to clean the wood properly in preparation, then apply correctly to ensure a finish that will last for years. “I suggest that a quality timber paint or stain is used…if starting from bare timber use something with high concentrations of fungicides and UV blockers,” says Austin. “don’t just use a shed quality paint that will not give the protection your Log Cabin needs.”

4. Check your outdoor living spaces

Decks, patios and other outdoor living spaces are other areas that may need a touch of care in the spring. You might find mould or mildew on stone surfaces or paving slabs. Pressure-washing can do the trick.

Decks are often a problem area in the spring. “Decks are the hardest areas to maintain because water and snow just lay on top of them with no slope to create runoff, and they are also exposed to both sun and foot traffic,” says Austin. “A deck specific product is needed, the deck requires a deck finish that is very glossy to keep it sealed against water.” He recommends a darker deck stain, which has greater UV protection and lasts longer than lighter colours.

5. Manage vegetation

It’s good practice to keep trees, shrubs and other vegetation away from the cabin’s walls, roof and other wood surfaces. Any contact or overshadowing can promote decay and rot. Plus, the cold winds of winter may cause large tree limbs to sway and even come crashing down, leading to damage. So spring is a good time to assess your garden’s vegetation and trim things up as needed.

Checklist:

  1. Inspect the exterior &
  2. Test the durability of the finish
  3. Clean the exterior
  4. Apply long-lasting stains or paints
  5. Check your outdoor living spaces
  6. Manage vegetation
  7. Finally…get professional help, if needed

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