It’s finally happening. Your log home is near completion and the gorgeous timber exterior has you smitten with its fresh scent, luster and handsome appearance. Now it’s time to choose a log finish that will keep your dream home looking like perfection for years to come. 

Decision Drivers

As you consider your options, pay attention to what is driving your decision. In our extensive experience, log homeowners care about three critical factors: appearance, performance and maintenance. 


A pleasing appearance influences most consumer decisions, be it car, clothing, furniture, or log home finish. After all, you want a product that expresses your personal taste and style. With a log home, good looks are a multi-faceted matter. Many people love the look of their natural wood and wince at the thought of putting a tinted stain on it. Others may love the look of an oil stain. This brings us to performance. 


Beauty can be fleeting, which is not an attribute you want in a log home finish. Afterall, logs and timber beams give the home its structure and stability, so a finish must have the capacity to protect the logs and the home’s aesthetic as well. Low-quality waterborne finishes don’t allow a log to breathe or move, and the finish cracks or bubbles up from below. In contrast, our waterborne finishes (Lifeline Exterior, Lifeline Ultra-7 and Lifeline Ultra-2) are flexible and form a strong lattice network deep inside the wood, reinforcing and strengthening the system from the inside out. 

Uninformed homeowners may be tempted to use a clear finish. Clear finishes simply do not provide adequate UV protection. Think of sunglasses. Sunglasses are tinted because tint is the best UV blocker. Without tinted UV protection the wood will dry and develop micro-fissures–microscopic cracks that invite water and insects into the logs. Instead of clear, opt for a transparent, tinted finish.

Another mistake is to go with a pure oil-based stain. That first application may look mesmerizing, but how long will it stay that way? Oil evaporates and stains must be reapplied every year or two to protect the wood. Each application darkens the logs and within a few years you may as well use paint. 


Once you get the appearance and performance you like, it’s time to consider maintenance. A finish will only last as long as the material can protect the wood. Once a finish begins to fail, the impacts on the wood of that failure accelerate. 

Finishes demanding reapplication every 1-3 years come with significant time and financial burdens. Hiring a crew to take care of it for you will bite a chunk out of your pocketbook for the duration of your log home ownership. If you decide to do it yourself to save money, you sacrifice your leisure time. Unless your favorite hobby is performing labor-intensive, home-maintenance tasks, you need to factor the amount of effort required to keep your home’s exterior looking just the way you want it. Our clear coat finish, appropriately named LifeLine Advance, works with our stains for minimal upkeep effort and maximum performance that safeguards that first-time, fresh-coat appearance. 

How to Choose a Log Home Finish

Now that you know what is guiding your decision, you can narrow down your options even more. 

Color. Start by homing in on the shade. Log home finishes typically trend towards grays and browns. The browns can have notes of orange or red. Do you want darker or lighter? A natural, transparent look or a noticeable stain? Because everyone perceives the nuances of color differently, a sample applied to the same wood as your log home can ensure that you are getting the look you want. Look at it in the early morning, evening, and midday light as well as bright and overcast days to see how the natural light changes the color throughout the day. 

Personality. What you’re looking for here is the stain’s ability to showcase the dimensional beauty unique to wood. There should be a depth to the color and luster that stops you in your tracks, even after it dries. The wood’s natural grain should deepen and captivate you with its dynamic, organic flow. We developed a unique clear top coat (in glossy or matte) that enriches our stains with a charismatic luster, and additional protection to the color coat. So simple. So efficient.  Moreover, you get year after year of gorgeous color in the same exact transparency or saturation level as when you first started. 

Perma-Chink Systems log home finishes are formulated to let your log home be your haven, a dreamy sanctuary for relaxation and enjoyment, not a place that burdens you with time-consuming or expensive maintenance requirements. Which will you choose?

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