Restoring The Exterior Of Our Pocono Log Home Getaway
Log homes are very unique, each one, even those that come from kits out of a catalog are different. Every lot they’re built on usually requires some modification and every owner will want to put their own touch to the finished “look” of it.
Ours was no different! When we built it in the spring of 1988, it was spectacular! We chose to keep the logs “natural” with just a clear preservative applied. The Golden Yellow of the pine projected a warm welcome to everyone. We all felt safe and secure inside this solid structure….even during the worst storms Mother Nature would throw against it.
Just as other home exteriors need upkeep, so do log homes. Even with a UV blocking agent, weather and UV exposure from the sun changes the color from that original golden yellow. First, you’ll notice it looks a bit “dull” then eventually some graying to the logs. This is the time to apply a fresh coat of treatment. Ours was about 5 yrs. after construction, we used the same product the builder used and applied it with a garden sprayer. It's an oil based product with a sun activated additive that transforms the dull logs back to nearly the original golden yellow. The key word here is “nearly”.
We did this process for the next 2 cycles, every 4-5 years we’d hose off the exterior, let it dry and apply the same oil base product. Though it never really got back to that golden yellow it was when new, it still looked great. After each application there was just a bit less of that “golden warm tone”.
By the time the next cycle came for another application, the PC Police had taken control and oil-based products were no longer able to be purchased by the general public in PA nor in any other adjacent State. The manufactures sales rep. of the product we had been using all these years assured me, "you'll get the same results with the NEW & IMPROVED product.” Rule of life #1…don’t believe a salesman!
New & improved meant it was a water-based product, so water clean-up made it easy. My wife loved that idea, I had my doubts. After only 2 yrs. the logs were really graying up. A light power washing cleaned them off and I applied a coat of the new & improved product. But after each succeeding treatment they looked bit darker, still nice, but definitely darker. For the next few cycles I did the same thing, a light power washing then an application of the preservative.
Business obligations, bad weather, lazy bones and busy family stuff got in the way and before I knew it, nearly 9 years has lapsed since the last treatment. It’s 2018, the logs are as solid as they were in 1988, but very dark.
We all wanted, needed, the logs to be like they were when new. We had only 5 choices,
· Chemical cleaning and refinishing - $20,000.00 and probably not county approved
· Sandblasting and refinishing - $12,000.00 to sandblast - $3,000.00 refinishing $1,500.00 cleanup for removal of sandblasted material and disposal.
· Medium blasting (bio-degradable walnut shells) and refinishing $12,000.00
· Commerical Power Washing, re-sanding and refinishing $12,000.00
These were our choices from contractors….all were expensive!
Sooooo we (I) chose option #5. “we can do this ourselves!”
I contacted the manufacture of the preservative we had used and found out that they still make oil base clear wood preservative w/ UV protective additives. The only problem is that the nearest supplier was in Florida, but they don't ship to NJ or PA. We nearly planned a trip down to pick up the 12 gals. needed, then, by a fluke of another Google search I found a place in Ohio that would ship directly. Minimum requirement was 12 gals….Wala - that’s a done deal!
So last spring I started a long over due restoration of the logs. My scheduled plan was to complete it within 3 weeks working Monday to Thursday between our weekend guests.
This pic shows how far I got the 1st 3 days….then the rains began.
It was gonna be a long 3 weeks!
Plans come and plans go, a rainy spring with lots of other interruptions, I got as far as the whole back and front side completed….1 month after I started!
Mid-Summer and all that remains is the exterior logs on the chimney side.
After about 8 weeks time, (only 10 actual days of power washing) the logs are as they were in 1988.
These pics show the power washed logs before the application of the clear coat. It took another week of summer sun to dry before the clear coat could be applied. That only took 2 days.
$288.00 12 gals. oil based preservative
$ 85.00 (approx.) 30 gals. of gas for the power washer
$ 38.00 new power washer gun/wand and nozzles
For a fraction of the estimates, our logs look brand new. The golden yellow is back, and now that I know where to get the oil based preservative we’ll be good for another 35 years….well the logs will be, I’m still working out a lot of stiff joints and muscles!
So, if you want to experience a vacation in a real log home and feel the warmth and security it provides, them come to the Poconos to our Log Home Getaway anytime of the year.
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