Log Home Maintenance

This summer we took on a log home exterior – a different kind of project for us but we enjoyed it and learned some important tips on log home maintenance in Montana.

Log homes have special needs because their structure is exposed to the elements – sun, wind, water, extreme temperature changes and even bugs. Ultraviolet exposure from the sun is the primary cause of log rot in places like Choteau, Montana, where it’s dry and sunny much of the time.

We found that all of these elements can be combated with the right kind of log finish. The best log finish will offer UV inhibitors, flexibility, breathability (some, but not too much), insect inhibitors and of course protection from rain and snow. We also learned that finishes with darker pigments offer better UV protection. If you own a log house, put this kind of armor on it.

We used a log and siding finish by Sikkens that we believe is outstanding. We’ll watch it perform over the next few years with great interest.

We consulted an excellent book for this project that log home owners should have in their libraries: The Log Home Maintenance Guide by Gary Schroeder.

The graying in these photos is ultraviolet damage:

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After two coats of Sikkens log finish and some trim paint:

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Exterior Renovation, Choteau, MT

Here’s a project currently under way:

Part of this home’s story is told here in rich evidence of past openings, building dimensions, roof lines, available building materials, insulation attempts and workmanship. There’s Dan’s signature above the old window – not sure who Dan was. Walls like this are pure art.


For a time, it looked like this:


Too bad the window’s gone but it is the north side, and it’s Choteau, Montana, wind and bad winters and all…

The next chapter in it’s history is being written now. Note the layer of rigid foam insulation wrapping the house under the new siding. Owner Dave (no relation to Dan) says it’s noticeably more comfortable inside already.