Homeowners and concerned children are equally and acutely aware of the fact that houses creak and groan at night, and this phenomenon has a lot to do with the temperature shift that occurs during this time. These noises are caused by the lumber in your walls, ceiling, and other areas “breathing” with the temperature shift, which is an important part of your home’s health. The same is true in log cabins, and in fact, this phenomenon can be even more important than in a stick built home, especially during the extreme temperature differences that often come in springtime. Picking the right stain is crucial to allowing your log home to breathe with the temperature changes, so here are some tips on choosing a stain for your log cabin with this in mind. 

First Off, No Paint

When was the last time you saw a painted log cabin? Exactly, never. That’s because paint is the worst finish for letting your log cabin breathe the way it’s supposed to. Paint is very rigid and stiff, especially exterior paint designed for shingles and paneling, which is why it can chip after a few years. Apply this kind of paint to a large log that may grow or shrink by several percent over the course of a year, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster, and a shoddy staining job to boot. 

Oil-Based Stains Aren’t Much Better

Even if you know enough to pick a stain over a paint, you may still not be out of the woods yet. That’s because oil-based paints can be just as bad as paint, since they’re both made of essentially the same ingredients. Oil-based stains won’t let your home breathe, either, which can cause chips, cracks, and drafts if left unchecked. 

Latex-Based Stains

Now that you know which finishes to avoid, there’s really only one option left: latex-based stain. This type of stain is ideal for log homes because it is the most elastic and dynamic, meaning that a latex-based stain will be able to stretch and shrink with a log rather than providing the brittleness that comes with an oil-based stain. An added bonus to latex is that most latex stains can act as a somewhat protective barrier if you really need to bulk up your log home’s seal in a hurry, and since latex is so dynamic, this seal will form and stay tight for years. Click here for more information on log home staining.