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Your logs need to be protected from the elements, so staining them is a good idea. Logs are made from wood. Without staining, the rain, dust, wind, and hail will slowly decay your logs, causing them to rot as dampness settles in.

If you want to enjoy the beauty of your log home for many years to come, you should stain the logs for optimal endurance.

This article explains the details behind staining your home, such as what affects logs, which type of stain you should use, and how often you should stain your log home.

What Affects Logs?

Logs protect your interior from rain, sunlight, snow, and wind and form the perfect barrier against insects and humidity. Unfortunately, they are exposed to natural elements, which affect them in various ways.


If your log home is exposed to consistent and constant winds, the external logs will show the effect pretty soon. The wind picks up dust and shoots it against the logs. This mimics the effects of a sandblaster, slowly peeling off the stain and protection of the logs, and leaving the underlying wood exposed to the elements.

Rain and Snow

Rain and snow affect logs because they expose the wood to humidity and dampness. Wood absorbs water. Once humidity has been absorbed, the wood expands. That’s when the log cracks and opens up. The wood will slowly rot away and develop mold, which manifests as black and dark patterns on your wood, thus alerting you to the problem.


Sunlight feels great on your skin, especially after a long winter. Unfortunately, the sun’s UV rays break down the stain and make it peel away, leaving the wood underneath unprotected. That is why you will often notice that logs exposed to strong sunlight have a lighter color than logs sheltered from the sun.

How Often Should I Stain My Logs?

You won’t need to stain your log home every year. The frequency of staining depends on the quality of the logs, the type of stain, and the exposure of your logs to the various elements.

The first coat will be applied when your log home is built. Because the logs are new, they will soak up the first coat very fast. We suggest you renew the stain within 2 years.

After that, we advise our customers to renew the stain on their logs every 3 to 7 years. Water-based stains last less than oil-based stains, so we suggest a new coat every 3 to 5 years for water-based stains. For oil-based stains, every 5 to 7 years should be enough.

If your log home is highly exposed to the elements, the lower end of the bracket is preferable.

How Do I Know It’s Time to Renew the Stain on My Logs?

The easiest way to check the health of your logs is to spray some water on them. If the stain is still intact, the water will bead and drip alongside the log, eventually falling onto the ground.

If, however, the stain has worn off, the wood will absorb the water because there will be nothing standing between the outer layer of wood and the water. In this case, you should consider staining your logs.

How Do I Prepare My Logs for Staining?

If the time has come to stain your logs, prepare them accordingly first.

Wash the logs with a hose or pressure washer. This will sweep away all dust, spider webs, and tiny debris from the logs. Let the logs dry well before you start coating them. If the logs are wet when you stain them, you will trap humidity between the stain and the wood, which will eat away at the log.

Once you have finished staining your log home, let it dry properly. If you want to apply two coats of stain, let the first coat dry well before applying the next layer. It usually takes up to 3 days for the stain to dry completely, depending on weather conditions.

How Should I Choose the Perfect Stain for My Logs?

You will find various log stains in the market. Water-based stains are easier to clean and are odorless. However, because they are more liquid, they can be harder and messier to apply. They also tend to last less than oil-based stains.

Oil-based stains last longer than water-based stains and are thicker, thus easier to apply. However, they require a solvent to clean and usually carry a strong odor that takes some time to evaporate.

Whichever stain you choose, it should display three specific properties: it should offer great protection, let the wood breathe, and be flexible.

While the stain should insulate the wood from the elements, it should also let the wood breathe. In a sense, wood remains alive even after it’s cut. Wood breathes in and out. A little moisture that still resides in the wood logs will need to evaporate. If the stain seals the wood completely, the humidity will be trapped and will cause the wood to rot from the inside.

Additionally, wood bends, expands, and contracts with temperature changes and humidity variations. Log stains should be flexible enough to follow the movements of the wood. When your logs expand or contract, the stain should keep up with these flows. If it doesn’t, it will start breaking and cracking, thus exposing the wood underneath.

Trust Frontier Log Homes for Your Dream House

For all the reasons stated above, logs should be stained. Stain is what keeps your logs healthy and strong against all the elements and tiny intruders like carpenter bees.

You have always dreamt of a beautiful log home. Trust Frontier Log Homes to deliver your dream. We are the industry leaders in award-winning log cabin kits and handcraft log home cabin kits in many designs, shapes, and footage. Contact Frontier Log Homes online, visit us at 60813 Maple Grove Road, Montrose, CO 81403, or call now 970-249-7130 to start working on your dream home!

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