Among the many joys of owing a log cabin, longevity is one of the most prized. Stacked, solid wood walls exude a sense of enduring protection and permanence. A log home’s durability and long-lasting good looks don’t just happen, they are the result of careful homeowner stewardship. When it comes to the exterior walls, that means using a well-formulated pigmented finish, preferably from the get-go. 

As you’re making decisions regarding the right stain for your log home, consider the many advantages of using a specialized pigmented stain. 

Log Stains Have a Job

All log home stains have a fundamental purpose. They must look attractive and perform well for the wood to last a long time. If a finish looks gorgeous for a few months then degenerates and appears messy, that is not a solution . . . that’s a problem. 

A specialized stain can do two things quite well: adhere tightly to the wood and be able to move. Remember, heavy timbers and logs are always shifting, expanding, and contracting every day and night and across the seasons in response to cold, heat, and moisture. Without a high level of adherence and flexibility, a stain can develop micro-fissures and fail to protect the wood from moisture, which leads to discoloration and decay.  

What’s Wrong with a Clear Stain?

It’s not uncommon for a new log homeowner to fall head over heels in love with the look of fresh, clean wood in its natural form. After all, that is likely one of the reasons you chose a log home. Out of a desire to keep that pure beauty, you may be wondering if you can use a clear stain. Yes, you can, but it won’t perform for more than one to two years.

A clear finish allows the sun’s ultraviolet rays through, where they react with the wood causing it to turn gray and decay underneath the finish. For a log home to remain beautiful year after year, the stain must have appropriate UV inhibitors. The most effective UV inhibitor is a tint. Think of sun exposure and your skin. Bare skin is more susceptible to sunburn than covered skin. It’s the same with your home’s logs and timbers. 

Truly Protected, Truly Stained

Even among pigmented stains, not all are equal. Conventional oil-based stains appear pretty in the beginning. Oil sheds water, after all. However, with nothing to bind the oil to the wood, the oil eventually evaporates, and your logs are left with nothing but a layer of powdery tint to protect them. Another consideration: Oil-based stains are not environmentally friendly and can even be quite toxic. 

On the other end of the pigmentation continuum are coverings that are saturated with tints to the point of being opaque. There’s another word for this. Paint. A true stain has a translucent, semi-transparent quality that allows the wood’s unique patterns to stay visible so it can uphold its reputation of natural beauty and allow its personality to shine.  

At Perma-Chink Systems, we have formulated a series of stains to overcome many of the challenges outlined above. All our stains are waterborne with highly specialized acrylic polymers designed to remain stable, even when attacked with constant, brutal sunlight and deluges of water. These stains adhere tightly to the wood and are both flexible and breathable, which gives the natural moisture inside wood a way to escape. 

The Perma-Chink stain series includes Lifeline Ultra-7 (a one-coat system designed for commercial applications), Lifeline Ultra-2 (a convenient two-coat system), Lifeline Exterior and Lifeline Accents. Each of these are a high-performance stain and all come with tints. 

We believe that long-lasting, devastating good looks are also part of a stain’s job. To accomplish this, we borrowed technology from the auto industry and added a clear top coat to enrich our stains with a deep shine, luster, and additional protection to the color coat beneath. This topcoat comes in a matte or glossy finish. 

There’s one more tremendous advantage to using our clear coat. When you need to renew your stain, you just apply Log Wash, and then apply the clear coat to extend the life of the stain for an entire cycle. Easy. 

Stained for Success

Older, oil-based pigmented stains without an engineered, glossy overcoat have a typical life cycle that demands the log home be treated about every two years. With each application, the tint begins to saturate the wood while the logs become dried out and gray. It’s a story of maintenance, expense, and headache.

In contrast, consider this case study, a Perma-Chink stained log home in Colorado. Stained 12 years ago with Ultra 2 plus the clear coat, the 8,000-foot-elevation log home still looks lovely in its original application. That’s many years of vacation enjoyment without the headache of exterior home hassles.

Perma-Chink’s specialized stains ensure you continue to fall in love with your log home for years. You get peace of mind, gorgeous looks, and color consistency that will saturate your log home through the years, ensuring the longevity you desire. 

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