Staining Your Log Home

Staining your home is multi-advantageous. Most choose the type and color of stain based on aesthetic appearance. Other advantages are protection from water, bugs, UV rays, mildew and mold. Generally speaking, the more pigment in a stain, the more protection you’ll have. Darker stains don’t always mean more pigment, but this is usually the case.

before   after

Log homeowners traditionally prefer stains that are specially designed for log homes; not what’s on sale at your local hardware store. Just because a label has a picture of a log home on it, or its called “log oil” doesn’t mean its designed for logs. This also doesn’t mean the manufacturer is a specialist in the log home industry.

I only use products designed for log homes as well as those stains which have a longer lifespan than generic hardware store stains. I use Chinese natural bristle brushes. They have much more body, are thicker and hold the stain much better than synthetic brushes, which are more likely to leave drips and brush marks.

I use non-toxic, environmentally friendly semi-transparent stains which are the most popular used in the industry. These stains not only highlight the grain of the wood but they are breathable so they don’t lock in the moisture which is a critical characteristic when choosing a log stain. There are two basic different types of stains: oil-based and latex-based. For a more detailed description of these products, please see the FAQ section of this site.

environmentally friendly stain

Log preparation is of major importance, even more so than when chinking. Cutting corners and taking shortcuts is a guaranteed way to cut the life of the stain. Just like you wouldn’t wax your car before washing it, you wouldn’t want your home stained until it’s clean. see photo below Every home is different as far as what cleaning techniques are required to properly prepare it to be stained. For more details, please see the preparation section of this site.

Regarding application, the two most popular methods are spray and brush. 90% of my work is using a brush. Sure, this takes a little longer but I’ve learned the penetration and color consistencies are MUCH better than simply spraying. Spraying is quick (not necessarily less expensive) but my brushing techniques pay extra attention to detail. Proper application is one of four major components in determining how long your stain will last.

The others are the stain you use, the prep that is invested prior to staining and the care that is provided to your home after it’s stained. Obviously the exposure your logs have to the sun also play a major role. UV protection provided to your home is directly related to the amount and type of pigments. I also use a UV additive (UV Boost) which is poured in the stain to give it even longer life (interior and exterior).


A clear coat finish, while optional, is very heavily recommended. The above photo shows you how easily dirt and dust can be wiped clean off a log that’s been stained and clear coated. Without the clear coat finish a lot more effort would be necessary to clean logs. Just as important, the clear coat is the major source of moisture protection.

I’ve spoken to many homeowners who insist upon just a clear sealer instead of a stain. This is fine as long as you understand there is basically no UV protection in a clear sealer and if you don’t go with a pigment, you’re logs will definitely darken and/or grey much quicker. Even the lightest colored stain has much, much more UV protection than a clear…any clear.

You don’t need to go with a “dark” stain to give your home adequate UV protection. If you choose a stain close to the color of your wood, you’ll get the protection and you’ll be left with logs that may not even appear they’ve been stained. Log End Seal is also heavily recommended. LES is designed specifically for the exposed ends of the logs to block moisture from wicking in. Usually, one gallon will do an entire home.

log end seal

Please contact me if interested in a proposal to professionally stain and protect your home….interior or exterior. References provided upon request.