Log Home Maintenance: Expectations vs. Reality

If you’ve been in the log home market for a while, you’re likely no stranger to some less-than-flattering opinions surrounding log home maintenance:

“Maintaining a log home is time consuming and expensive.”

“Log homes may look good at first, but that won’t last long.”

“Log homes are prone to pests.”

So let’s dig in with Mythbusters… Confederation style.

However you’ve heard it phrased, it’s a common idea that log homes are harder to keep up than other types of homes, and while you may expect us to respond with a resounding “False!” to these statements, we actually agree all of these things can be true about log homes.

They’re just not true about Confederation log homes.

The fact is, not all log homes are created equal.

Many log homes of yesteryear — and, more importantly, low quality log homes of today — suffer from poor design and construction methods that lead to costly, near-constant maintenance. This is why it’s essential to carefully vet and choose a log home company that builds log homes the right way.

Confederation has been building log homes that allow owners to spend more time enjoying their homes and less time maintaining them for over 40 years.

Our log homes are built smart and tough, able to withstand the worst assailants that Mother Nature can bring, from wind, rain and sun to pests, like termites and carpenter ants.

So what’s the Confederation difference? The thing that makes our log homes the easiest to maintain on the market?

It boils down to three things: quality materials, smart design considerations and tried-and-true construction techniques. Together, this low-maintenance trifecta results in a log home that will last a lifetime — naturally repelling pests and reducing the need to apply protective products, like stain.

Case in point: The staining schedule on a Confederation home far surpasses the typical 2-5 years, extending upwards of 8-10 years. Yes, you read that right. Confederation homes double or even quadruple the maintenance cycle of other log homes.

Material Matters

It may surprise you to know your low-maintenance log home starts long before you ever begin construction on your home or even customize your floor plan.

How a company grows and harvests its logs impacts the amount of work you’ll need to do to keep your log home looking good.

The key to having low-maintenance logs in the long run is starting with low-moisture logs up front.

Here’s how we ensure our logs are dry, naturally-resistant to pests and the best at grabbing and holding onto stain:

  1. First, Confederation trees are grown in the frigid northern Ontario climate, which produces trees with naturally tighter rings, resulting in minimal warping, shrinkage and checking.
  2. Our trees are only harvested in the winter when the sap is in the tree roots.
  3. Only a single log is taken from the center of each tree. And importantly…
  4. The logs are air dried for two years before going through the mill where they get their characteristic rough-sawn exterior.

It’s not the easiest way to harvest logs, but we believe it’s the best way.

“Okay — so what does that have to do with hungry bugs?,” you ask.

Because we only use the center of the tree for our logs (the naturally driest part) and then allow them to air-dry for two years, there is simply nothing in our trees that insects are attracted to.

Additionally, our prep process and the wood’s textured surface allow the top-of-the-line stain we use on all Confederation homes to grip the log, promoting a long-lasting bond.

Beyond the wood itself, the shape of the logs and corner systems also influence hands-on care time. We offer both square logs with flat exterior surfaces and rounded D-log, which are round on the outside.

While we believe it’s most important to choose the look you love, if reducing upkeep is at the very top of your building list, our design team will point you towards flat logs.

Here’s why: The sun’s rays will hit the top of a rounded log more directly, causing stain to wear down a bit faster than on the underside of the log.

Additionally, choosing a corner style that sheds water more effectively will serve as another line of defense against upkeep. For example, butt-and-pass styles allow moisture to settle on the log surface, compromising sealants prematurely, while Confederation’s dovetail corners are self draining.

Design Defense

Strategic design is the next piece of our fail-proof plan for minimal maintenance. While surface protectants, like stain, eventually need to be refreshed, good design lasts forever.

Our design team will mesh the look you want to achieve for your home with exterior features that will reduce the amount of hands-on effort your home needs after building.

Because rain and UV-rays contribute to stain breaking down prematurely, our designers are pros at keeping your logs protected from the elements.

For starters, all of our homes feature 3-foot minimum overhangs, but there are plenty of other tricks in our preventative maintenance playbook. Here are a few:

  • Stone skirting around the base of your home prevents logs from sitting directly on the ground where rain can splash up against them. Properly placed gutters and downspouts also direct water away from your home.
  • Deep overhangs, wraparound porches and covered patios shield logs against rain, snow or sun exposure. These elements are crucial because stain that’s never directly exposed to the elements never need to be reapplied.
  • Maintenance-free products, like stone or polymer shakes, placed on the highest portions of your home, such as the gable ends, will make caring for your home much easier — no need to ever balance precariously on a tall ladder with a bucket in hand to complete a staining job.
  • Roofing, windows and doors with a low-maintenance track record cost a little more upfront but pay off in the long run. Architectural shingles offer double the thickness — and life expectancy — of traditional asphalt shingles, while metal roofing needs virtually no maintenance and can last for upwards of 50 years. Aluminum-clad, fiberglass and vinyl windows are long-lasting and versatile, while metal doors (made of steel surrounding a core of polyurethane foam) stand up well against the elements.
  • Other exterior materials like aluminum soffit and fascia and maintenance-free decking and railing require little to no care and add architectural flair.

These are just a small sampling of the features we can implement to ensure your Confederation home will last a lifetime with minimal effort.

Find out more about what we offer, by contacting us today. We’re ready to help every step of the way, from dreaming and designing to building and beyond.

Got a question about maintenance? (Or anything else?)

Go ahead and record your question here and we’ll answer it on our YouTube Channel.