Friday, March 17, 2017

Green Logs, Green Homes

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! It's a good time to remember that unless you specifically stained them to be that color... green logs aren't lucky!

What are green logs?

One way to define green logs is logs that are still wet from being recently cut and have a moisture content of over 18%. In new construction, green logs should be given appropriate settling consideration, such as space above the windows (a common rule of thumb is 1/2" for every foot of log wall). Green wood with moisture content over 18% should also be allowed to dry before applying a final stain/sealer finish. If the wood is too wet, not only could it potentially degrade the penetration and/or adhesion of the coating, but a finish applied to wet wood could also trap moisture behind it and lead to mildew growth or even decay.

Although not common to log homes, green logs could also be defined as green-treated wood, which is wood pressure-treated with a copper preservative that gives a greenish hue. Logs are more typically treated with a borate preservative, but green-treated wood might be seen in deck boards, railings, steps, or other additional features on a log or cedar home. Brand-new green-treated wood can be so saturated with the preservative that any wood stain may have trouble penetrating and/or adhering to it. For this reason, a general rule of thumb would be to let green-treated wood season for at least six months before applying any stain/sealer.

Green logs might also be defined as wet logs with moss or algae growth on them. This is a sign of big trouble and too much prolonged moisture. Whether it is a log at ground level getting too much rain splashback, or a north-facing wall with a leaky gutter, a green log is not a good sign and should be taken care of immediately. Cleaning, preserving, restoring, or possibly partially replacing, are all steps that might be taken after fixing the issue of water exposure.

And yet, while a green log isn't necessarily good, all log homes are green and that's great! In this respect, green means environmentally friendly. Logs are a completely renewable and often locally resourced building material. Even as they grow as trees, logs have taken carbon-dioxide out of the air through the process of photosynthesis. The waste product from building is completely biodegradable. Logs have thermal mass that absorb, retain, and radiate heat back into a home. So while logs may require some attention to resist the natural process of nature, there is no doubt that log homes are green in a good and environmentally friendly kind of way!

Questions on how to keep your log home 'green' in a good way while preventing your logs from going green in a bad way? Give us a call! 1-800-359-6614 or online through our website here.

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