DIY Your Log Home Restoration: Three Repairs You Can Do Yourself Easily

by Connor Pena

Log homes, while beautiful and charming, often require quite a bit of upkeep. If you recently purchased a log home but knew that it was a bit of a "fixer upper" you are in for a log home restoration treat. Here are three repairs you can do yourself on your log home to restore it to its near-original glory.

Waterproofing the Logs

Your "new" home is wrapped in dozens of old, harvested tree trunks. Because these tree trunks are no longer connected to their roots, they weather very quickly. Log cabin logs, even modern ones, can quickly turn from a warm brown hue to the color of driftwood if not cared for properly. To waterproof and weather-proof the logs on your home, use a deck or outdoor wood sealant. You can even use a spray paint gun to uniformly apply the sealant to the vertical walls of your home. Be sure to make more than one pass across the logs and let the sealant dry in between coats.

Pitching and Tarring

Log homes rely on two things to keep them together and keep them erect:

  1. Notched stacking, just like your set of toy wooden logs you probably had as a kid.
  2. Pitching and tarring, which is the use of tar and/or pitch to fill the gaps between the logs and secure them together like hot melt glue. The tar and/or pitch also acts as a termite deterrent, since termites are less likely to chew through something that tastes like asphalt just to get to the wood they enjoy.

You can buy buckets of tar/pitch at some of the larger hardware and home remodeling stores. In a tight pinch, you could also use asphalt crack sealer, which is made of some of the same stuff used to fill the cracks in between your home's logs.

Replacing Damaged Logs

If you have an exterior wall that has partially collapsed because of a natural disaster or because it is so old and damaged it could not maintain its position anymore, then it will probably need new logs. While you can certainly order fresh new logs for your home from a log home company, you could also find some on your property to use (if they are the right diameter and length as the logs you need to replace). You will also need extra supports to keep the other adjoining walls from toppling before you can replace the damaged logs, a small crane with a log claw, and probably a few extra helping hands too.