What is the Best Selling Log Home Stain?
We talk with log home owners every day, 40 hours a week! Some insight is learned.
One thing you learn after many years of consulting and selling products to log home owners is what works and what seemingly does not, and why! This year was no different than any other year, but it was surprising which product seemed to be head and shoulders above the rest for satisfied customers and contractors, but not for the reasons you might think.
Long Game, now that's a term we hear often in life, but how does it relate to log home care? A lot! In fact, when deciding on an initial stain for your log home you may be heading down a road that may be hard (and expensive) to return from. Let me explain:
Road 1 is to stick with traditional philosophy of using a penetrating stain that slowly wears over the next 2-3 years, then requires maintenance on areas that wear from the sun or water. These types of products come in 2 forms, oil-based (alkyd oils and resins, mineral spirits, tolulene, ect.) which usually carries a higher V.O.C. level over 250 and can be illegal to use in some states with restrictions, and modified-oil stains which uses natural oils and acrylic technology advances but have very low VOC's. Both of these types of products leaves a light sheen on the surface to repel water and UV tinting to provide shelter from the sun. They are considered to be penetrating stains and can have a silky or even "wet" finished look.
Road 2 is to use a water based stain for color, followed by an acrylic clear coat or series of clear coats to protect from the water and sun. These types of stain do not penetrate the wood cells deep and focus on building a "film" on the surface. There are many popular stains on the market that use this technology, but there are hidden truths behind the longevity of these stains over time and the high cost of keeping them up.
These stains are usually low VOC, which is good for the environment, but sometimes can dry too fast during application in warmer temps and leave lap marks or drips that can be difficult to remove. They are not known for easy application with our contractors, plus they take multiple days to apply the base and clear coats driving up the cost of the project.
After application, they tend to peel the acrylic topcoat in areas where the sun hits hard, like southern exposed walls and can damage the underlying color stain resulting in a blotchy finished look when trying to recoat during maintenance. the main problem is that the color stain will bead up on the areas of clear coat that are still intact, creating tiny fisheyes in those areas.
Most contractors we talk to faced with maintenance projects on these types of coatings end up stripping entire walls or even the whole log home (when only a few lower logs or smaller areas are showing signs of weathering) due to the fact they can't match the look and they usually have to use media blasting or heavy sanding methods to remove the coatings.
These are commonly referred to as film-forming coatings, meaning they form a heavy film on the surface of the wood and usually are very shiny or have a plastic look.
There are some great Wood Cleaner and Brightener products that can clean the surface good, but not remove these types of finishes completely from the wood, they are designed for removing penetrating stains and can be a great partner in keeping up your log home.
Looking for a 3rd Road? Well, sorry there is no magic bullet for log homes or any exterior wood for that matter! Mother nature is the queen so she will break down any type of coating over time, so think about the ease of maintenance and upkeep over time when choosing which of the 2 roads you will go down.
Now, for the big question everybody is asking, which stain is the best for log homes? Well, all we can say is that all stains can be great depending on the environmental factors that affect the log home, meaning, does this log home sit at 3000 ft elevation with no trees to protect from sun? The obvious answer is that this log home will need more attention than a log home that sits in an east wall location in a deep canyon that doesn't get much sun and is shaded by the trees.
All we can go by is what our long time contractors and log home owners tell us while we are consulting with them on the phones all over the country. Once again, we do this for a living 40 hours a day, 5 days a week and we offer all the top brands of log home stains on our site.
The top selling product for 2022 is Lovitt's Emerald Gold log home stain and here's the reasons why:
Our contractors and log home owners tell us that they love working with this product, it is easy to apply as a 2 coat application in the same day, doesn't leave lap marks, looks amazing, and cleans up with soap and water. When they time comes to do maintenance, the wood is not darkened at all. The slow wear of Lovitt's Emerald Gold will begin to lighten over time, to the point of looking dry.
If you let the sun and weather completely wear off the Emerald Gold (would take many years) the wood underneath is blonde, it does not darken with wear like a true oil base coating will do over an extended period of time (7-10 years) This is a great attribute to wear to the point of looking dry, sometimes a rinse with water in between applications with no use for chemicals to restore the color of the wood. This is a big time saver for contractors who offer maintenance and a huge savings of time and money for the log home owner.