Which log home stain is the best?


Log Home Stain Porch

I get the question all the time, "which log home stain is the best?". Well I don't really think its quite that easy. It depends on what you are trying to achieve aesthetically and where you live geographically. Some of the oil stains that people swear by up north, will grow mold within a year in the south. Most of the water based giants have a very limited color pallet and the coatings are not very transparent. In my professional opinion I would say if durability is the only factor that is important, the water based stains have everything beat on the current market. Most of the old oil based giants are regulated to the point that they can not live up to their old reputation.

This is an awesome article( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_finishing ), if you really want to know about the nuts and bolts of wood finishes and stains. Once you understand the science and chemistry behind stain labels, then you can really make an informed decision on what is best for you. This is also a good article similar but more specific on wood stain composition.( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_stain )

Additives are a big factor in making any stain, including the top performers. I always mix a mildewcide or Krudd Kutter additive. Even the best stains have to have additives to live up to their full potential. Most of these additives will mix into oil or water base. Usually the stain company's will also stock additives you can buy that are endorsed by the brand. I will make a blog entry soon specifically on mold removal and prevention, where I cover this in more detail.

I worked in a big log home subdivision for a few years. So I went around to every homeowner (even ones that I had not worked with) and documented their experience with their log cabin stain. I collected the data and put it into a short slide show. This is a good unfiltered sample of log home stain performance. Keep in mind this sample was taken in the south east Texas. The conditions here favor water base for sure.

Listed below are the stains I am familiar with, also their positives/negatives and my personal opinion of them.

Permachink ( https://www.permachink.com )

+ very durable

+ good maintenance program and process

+ fairly easy to apply

+ very good caulks and sealants

- expensive

- expensive to refinish if you don't keep the maintenance schedule

- additives are needed for full performance

Sashco ( http://www.sashco.com/ )

+Durable

+ very good caulks and sealants (Some of the best caulks chinks and sealants) (Sashco has really invented some great products for the log home market like More-Flex for imitating mortar among others.)

- expensive

- additives are needed to get full performance

Sansin ( http://www.sansin.com/ )

+ durable

+ lots of color and finish options

+ durable oil base

+ can be applied in colder temps

- can be more difficult to apply

- expensive

- additives needed for full performance


Woodscapes/Sherwin Williams

+ very good durability ( updated 08/05/2022 this brand in solid stain is shown to be the most durable of all stains) (It was tested along side Permachink and Sashco for 5 years on a large lake front log perimeter fence) *Downside is solid has no transparency too it. Some people don't mind and actually prefer it.

+ cheaper than some top shelf

+ very durable so far in tests

+ easy to match and purchase locally

-check back for updated points- (Updated 2021 have had good results on longevity with new formulations)

Sikkens ( http://www.sikkens.com/ )

- not very durable in a wet southern climate

- darkens with maintenance

- expensive

- very poor customer support

- fails without additives

- grows mold easily after it ages

TWP ( https://www.twpstain.com/ )

+ cheaper initial purchase price

- not very durable in a wet climate

- darkens with maintenance

- very poor customer support

- fails without additives


Home depot and Lowes shelf brands

I grouped these together.

+ cheap initial purchase price

- not very durable

- very prone to mold growth

- very additive dependent

- poor customer support


Guild Log and Timber offers all facets of log home repair in Texas. Visit our Restoration page. Subscribe to my blog post for the upcoming blog on all types of log home issues. Guild log and Timber also offers detailed consulting for General Contractors, Real estate agencies, Architects, homeowners and do-it-your-selfers. We can help give some insight on a broad range of in depth issues with existing log home construction problems and the planning of new log homes and historic cabin restoration. Let our two generations, of log home hard knock experience, be an advantage to you. Contact me for pricing and availability.

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