Log Staining, what not to do

No disrespect to the contractor in this video, but this is a classic example of how NOT TO APPLY STAIN!


Example of poor log staining.

Poor log staining example

Notice how he is NOT pushing stain into the corners. He is relying on the back brushing to get into the ends.

My experience tells me, he has developed bad habits to avoid runs. He is afraid it will run and drip, which happens when you do not know how to attack those ends, spend time doing so. You must flood coat deep into those areas and yes, it takes a bit more time to keep an eye on them as the stain soaks in, but its the only way to stain logs that look stellar for years!

The reason most stains fail, is because of how poorly (too thin) people apply stains, primers, clear coatings etc. You can tell painters who have never learned this because their finishes always look thirsty and dull and fail prematurely in comparison to those who prepare and apply a product more aggressively. They also are the kind of painters who move slowly. An Airless high pressure application, flood coating and very good physical condition are the requirements for top level log home staining and finishing.

Now, this particular product used in this video could be similar to Sikkens, which is another horribly dated stain. It does not soak into wood like the now preferred, hybrid stains ( example: Timber Pro Coating).

Is it durable?

This eco friendly wood finish is remarkably durable. It is not necessary to subject yourself or the environment to the fumes, and pollutants of a hazardous wood preservative or a flammable oil wood finish to achieve long term results. The patented sunscreens and tints in Timber Pro UV finishes prevent graying and reduce color fading. We’ve combined the best properties of renewable alkyd oils and water based micro polymer acrylic resins to create our own unique proprietary “oil based water borne” finish. With our technology, oil and water do mix without separating. Our finish penetrates into the wood with water as the carrier. As the water evaporates, the finish dries and bonds within the wood pores which is imperative for durability. It does not leave an oily or sticky film that will attract dirt and spores (a common problem with many a waxy wood sealer or oily stain). Nor do you smell it for weeks and months afterwards.

When applied correctly, each coat penetrates thus avoiding the possibility of a thick film being created on the wood surface which can cause problems down the road should that film crack or get damaged. Timber Pro is used by many of the top log home companies, timber frame home builders, and cedar home companies in the world. Many stores selling green building materials tell us Timber Pro is the best wood stain they carry due to its natural appearance, durability, allowable LEED credits, and because its truly ‘green and sustainable” with very low VOC’s (odor) of only 86 grams per liter minus water. See our Green Policy and Specs.

Dated Oil Stains

I never use the older oil based products on logs anymore, especially newly built log homes built in most geo area's of the world where there is moisture. That would include everywhere but the Death Valley. Damp logs (all logs have some moisture).  Most oil stains do not soak into natural wood like the new hybrid  product. That is the first clue to what stain you choose for log home finishing.

Flood Coating

All good stains allows the applicator time to flood coat the product on. Regardless of what product you use , the same principles apply, flood it on!

You must get enough stain into the wood per pass (deeper than the surface shown in this video) until it absorb deep deep deep into wood ( especially on the first coat!). This is how you preserve bonding, durability deep and get that rich looking finish that lasts for years.

This surface painting like this is sure to fail in no time , it will look thirsty and dry looking in comparison to flood coating.

The first coat is the one the seals the surface. If you seal a thin coat on the logs, that's about all you get. A thin base coat that is sure to look pretty old in a few years.

You flood coat, you do not spray it so lightly like this. You flood coat deep into the corners and continue the flooding to the end of the log (left to right). You can do this in stages, as he is doing but not so lightly and not missing the flood between the passes shown here.

Staining, priming, its all the same. The best finishes are the ones that have a high pressured, well penetrated stain  into the log/ siding/wood until everything is full (flood) of the product. Once the wood is full (when it will no longer absorb more stain per coat, per section, which can take additional passes per section, only then do you wipe or back-brush the remaining. You do this to every coat including the clear coat. How many coats you choose is subjective, but the original first flood coating is paramount from the beginning of the staining process.

The reason people get lap lines is because the stain is too lightly applied.

Below, he is leaving a large (BAD) area in the middle of these sections and back brushing to blend in the stain. If he flood coated aggressively, a lap area will not occur because the passes will not absorb any more stain per section.

He is his worst own enemy here.

Example on how not to stain a log home

example of poor staining on log homes. Lap lines from thin coats

The log is thirsty and the next pass sucks into the log. If the stain was flooded on, and will not absorb more, the next pass overlapping will not absorb and create this issue the video describes.

You FLOOD STAIN ON until it the logs are saturated and dripping. You push stain into the log every coat until will not hold another drop.

You need to be in exceptional physical condition in order to spray and continue flooding stain on the entire side of each section of a building, then back brushing. Working and working the stain into the wood.

The video is full of good tips but all of them are based around thin stain application, which is not how I would ever finish logs today.