The last house I bought was a traditional wood frame colonial that was about ten years old. We loved the house and location but over the first few years, the lack of proper maintenance by previous owners became expensively evident.
First, I re-stained the wood shingles that clearly hadn’t been re-done since original construction. The shingles on the southern exposure side were somewhat warped and eventually the stain began to peal. I’ve seen that happen with paint but not with stain. I concluded the shingles were shot. Rather than replace them, I installed vinyl siding to cover them up.
The original wood framed windows also started to malfunction and I replaced them with new vinyl energy efficient ones. I also discovered the hard way that the back deck had been built with non pressure treated wood. It began to disintegrate. The theme was clearly that not only do you need to install the right kind of wood, it requires ongoing maintenance as well.
A log cabin, as the ultimate ‘wood’ home, requires serious maintenance to protect its beauty and longevity. You might think that because I went ‘artificial’ with my previous home, that I would find vinyl windows and composite decking to be attractive low maintenance alternatives. No…I’ve chosen a log cabin and decided that ‘wood is good.’ Fortunately, this time, I will be starting from new. A log cabin is a rustic but gorgeous looking structure and I intend to keep mine that way.
With a new cabin, you should get a warranty that specifies log maintenance requirements. The logs must be treated with a preservative within a certain number of months of delivery and every few years on an ongoing basis for the warranty to remain valid. (Don’t forget to save your receipts to prove you completed the required applications.) To me, it makes sense to treat all the external wood including window frames, soffits, decks etc. on the same log maintenance schedule.
I will also be cleaning the wood before the stain/preservative retreatment. In fact, I intend to clean the wood on an annual basis. I would recommend using a brush and a regular hose rather than a power washer to clean the wood. There is no need to test the integrity of your seals with something other than what nature already provides.