How much does it cost to maintain a log home?
As with conventional homes, log homes require routine maintenance to protect against weathering and wear and tear. By applying a little elbow grease to your cherished log home, you’ll help to prevent costly restorations and ensure that your home stays in as pristine condition as the nature surrounding it. Here are six must-dos for maintaining your log home. (Cost estimates are for a 2000-square-foot home.)
- Inspect your log home
(twice a year)
In the spring and fall, walk slowly around the perimeter, carefully observing for evidence of damage due to water, freezing and intense heat — especially on the southern-facing exterior which undergoes more extreme temperature variance. Though not an exhaustive list, here are several things to look out for:
- Cracks in the logs that are 2 cm or wider
- Sections where the wood stain is fading more quickly
- Small gaps around window or door frames
- Missing shingles on the roof
- Warped flashing (the metal strips used to weather-proof homes)
- Leaks in the gutters
- Debris accumulated in the gutters
- Signs of insect colonization
Jot down your observations on a pad of paper so you don’t forget.
Estimated Cost: just your time.
- Wash your log home
Using a mild detergent and a soft-bristle brush, wash your log home in order to remove dirt, pollen, mold and other corrosive elements. This will protect the wood, increasing the life of your log beams.
Estimated Cost: $150
- Stain your log home
(every three years)
The first time your log home is stained, it should last two years. Subsequent applications should last three years if you apply two coats of a quality oil or latex-based product. Make sure to apply the stain more heavily in areas that have a lot of sun exposure.
Estimated Cost: $76
- Apply Chinking
Chinking is to logs what mortar is to bricks. It’s the sealant used to adhere the logs to each other. If done correctly, chinking should last a few decades. However, over time, the surface of timber naturally begins to crack and split. While this can enhance the rustic appearance of your log home, cracks wider than 2 cm and gaps between log joints need to be filled with chinking. This will prevent water, dirt, and insects from entering and causing damage.
Estimated Cost: $230
- Control Pests
Our log homes are built with treated logs that are already resistant to insect colonization, so if you as the homeowner wash and chink your log cabin annually as an extra precaution, insects should be kept in check. However, in the event of an infestation, you’ll need to apply chemical repellents or hire an exterminator.
Estimated Cost: usually negligible
- Do General Maintenance
Focus your efforts on two main areas. Firstly, make sure the gutters are cleaned, replaced where leaky and that the downspouts carry all the water away from the house. Secondly, fill in any cracks by window or door frames with spray-foam insulation.
Estimated Cost: $75
In total, maintaining your log home should cost approximately $1,350 annually — a reasonable investment to ensure your home keeps on providing comfort and relaxation to you, your friends and family.
Primary resource: Log cabin maintenance costs; the definitive guide to cabin maintenance.