Warm Weather Checkups

by | Jul 9, 2021 | Exteriors, How-To, Maintaining

While warm temperatures and sunshine are the hallmarks of summer weather, the seasonal care and maintenance of a log or timber home is an ongoing effort.

“Your home shelters you and your family,” says Dena Taylor of Great South Log Home Services. “Plus, it was a huge investment. Protect your home and your investment. Don’t neglect it. It will only lead to problems that may be expensive to fix. Be familiar with the exterior of your home. If you notice any changes that appear not to be normal, follow your summer maintenance checklist.”

The recommended checklist is a key to success in heading off problems before they get out of hand. Taylor recommends beginning with the exterior stain. Make sure it is doing its job. Check all logs for checking and gaps. Then, clean up areas that don’t get much sun. These are potential breeding grounds for mold and water damage since moisture can collect there.

“The stain and top coat are the lifeline of the logs,” Taylor warns. “When UV (ultraviolet) rays break it down, it allows moisture to get into the wood. Inspect the logs for discoloration or any spots that have flaked off. Also, checks that are facing upward need to be caulked to keep water out. Look for log protrusions, particularly corners. These are vulnerable. Vegetation may hold moisture against a wall or prevent proper ventilation. Make sure to cut that vegetation back.”

Tony Huddleston of Perma-Chink Systems, Inc., recommends taking a general walk around the property and notes that the most common mistake log and timber home owners make is simply procrastination. “In today’s busy times and fast-paced schedules it becomes easy to overlook maintenance as minor issues go unnoticed or become one of those ‘I’ll get around to it’ things,” he says. “Before you know it, months and maybe even years go by before anybody does get around to it. By then it may have changed from minor maintenance to major maintenance, and what could have been accomplished in a weekend may take considerably longer.”

Photo by Franklin & Esther Schmidt

In addition to the basics, Huddleston advises log and timber home owners to take advantage of summer weather to evaluate the health and growth of landscaping. “Make sure to keep gutters and downspouts clean and in good working order to keep water away from the house,” he advises. “Trim back branches and limbs from the roof to lessen the possibility of roof damage. Remove leftover firewood from the porch, if that is where you choose to keep it, as it becomes a haven for insects and other vermin that you may not want visiting you! Generally speaking, however, you should not store firewood on the porch, winter or summer, for the same reason.”

Devote some time to inspecting the interior of the home during the summer as well. Note any areas of dampness or water seepage. Change air conditioning filters and smoke alarm batteries. Depending on the location of the log or timber home, summer may be the right time to have the chimney cleaned. Spruce up the finish on wood floors and walls, and take a look at any water heating and plumbing apparatus.

As homeowners progress down their checklists, the place to start, says Doug Terrell, vice president of manufacturing with Blue Ridge Log Cabins, is with a good exterior washing. “Homeowners should wash their home on a yearly basis,” he says, “to make sure they clean off debris that will wear against the surface if it isn’t removed annually. Refer to the log stain provider for recommendations on cleaning and care, or call a maintenance and restoration company that is trained in yearly maintenance. Once the home is washed, the stain and its condition can be better evaluated.”

Following the all-important checklist from an exterior wash to caulking chinks and applying stain as necessary, trimming trees and bushes, and even pointing the irrigation system away from directly spraying on the logs may take a little time, but it is time well spent. Identifying maintenance needs saves money in the long run, and preparing for the basic costs of upkeep helps log and timber home owners avoid pain in the pocketbook. Spend a little time to save a lot of money.

“Homeowners, regardless of the type of home, should budget around $3,000 to $4,000 bi-annually to maintenance,” suggests Terrell. “Failure to properly maintain the exterior of the home will shorten the life of the exterior finish and drastically increase costs of restoration.”

Surrounded by the beauty of nature in the good old summertime, log and timber home owners can add years to the beauty of their treasured residence with a bit of preparation, an investment in upkeep, and an eye on the areas that need attention.