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The Best Resource For Your Log Home Care and Maintenance  
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       Log Home Resource Center P.O. Box 242776 Little Rock, Arkansas 72223 Phone 1 (800) 441-1564
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1. What is chinking? Where do I chink instead of caulk?

2. Why do I have to use Backer Rod when chinking or caulking?

3. What is the difference between Log Jam, Log Builder and Conceal?

4. Can I apply Log Jam, Log Builder or Conceal in cold weather?

5. What do I use to tool Log Jam, Log Builder and Conceal?

6. What can I use to clean up if I get messy with the Log Jam, Log Builder, or Conceal?

7. Should I caulk my new log home now or in a year or two?

8. How do I figure lineal feet?

9. Can I stain over Log Jam, Log Builder and Conceal?

10. What do I do to my chink when it is time to re-stain?

11. Which product should I use when stacking my logs?

 

 


 
 


1. What is chinking? Where do I chink instead of caulk?
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“Chinking” is now commonly thought of as a water-based, synthetic polymer sealant that is textured like mortar and has considerable elasticity and flexibility. Twenty years ago “chinking” was generally thought of as Portland cement-based grout that was applied to the joints between logs, reinforced with metal lath. The new chinking products, such as Log Jam, far outperform the old type of chinking.

Chinking can be used in most places where caulk would be used, but chinking is more commonly used in large joints between logs and when the building owner wants the nostalgic look of old-fashioned, textured cement grout.

2. Why do I have to use Backer Rod when chinking or caulking?
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You do not “have” to use backer rod (which is a type of “bond breaker”). But, if backer rod is not used wherever it is appropriate to do so, then the chances of experiencing a premature sealant failure are very greatly increased. Backer rod allows any sealant applied over it to perform much better than without it. Here are the reasons:

1) Backer rod insures that the sealant is adhered only to the two opposite sides of the joint being sealed – delivering what is called in the industry “two-point adhesion”.

2) Two-point adhesion permits elastic sealants to much more easily stretch – without any concentrated points of stress developing across the full width of the sealant bead – as the joint moves, over time, in response to temperature and humidity changes in the wood (or other material).

3) Backer rod prevents what is called “three-point adhesion” which occurs when the sealant is adhered to the opposite sides of the joint and to rigid material in the rear of the joint. When this occurs, concentrated forces are applied to the back of the sealant bead, usually leading to very early failure (with tearing of the sealant or the substrate).

4) Backer rod greatly helps control the depth of the sealant as it is being installed to insure that the optimum amount of material is put into place. If too little material is installed, premature “cohesive failure” can occur. If too much is installed, premature “adhesive failure” is usually the result, and much sealant can be wasted.

5) Backer rod (especially the round types) greatly favors the development of “cohesive failure” – if failure is inevitable (due to extreme movement or very rapid movement that occasionally – but routinely – occurs with “maverick” logs or the interior surfaces of logs as they go through their first winter with warm, dry air from a furnace). When such “cohesive failure” does occur, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to repair by just cleaning the exposed surfaces that have torn down the middle of the joint and applying additional sealant (and most sealants do adhere well to themselves – but not all, which makes it important that you investigate this aspect of any sealants you may be considering using). Without backer rod, “adhesive failure” is typically the result, and usually the entire bead of sealant needs to be removed, with the applicator simply starting over.

6) Backer rod usually adds additional insulation to the surface of the wall to help reduce heat loss or gain.

7) Round types of backer rod should be used when the logs are relatively “green” and are subject to significant shrinkage and movement. Round backer rod provides the most ideal sealant geometry for allowing the greatest overall movement capability of all sealants and it also favors cohesive failure if the movement becomes so extreme that failure is inevitable.

8) Backer rod can also act as a “back-up” sealant, providing some sealing ability even if the primary sealant – the caulk or chinking – gets torn or cut. [Note: Sometimes caulking or chinking is applied without backer rod and little or no failure occurs over time. This only means that the stresses that developed in the joint were not sufficient to cause failure. In other words, “You got lucky.”]


3. What is the difference between Log Jam, Log Builder and Conceal?
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Log Jam, Log Builder and Conceal are very similar in their chemical composition. The primary difference is the type of filler used in each respective product.

Log Jam uses a system of granular particles that imparts a relatively rough surface texture. It is designed to simulate old-fashioned cement mortar.

Log Builder uses very fine particles of ground limestone as its main filler. With such a fine filler in the product, Log Builder gives a relatively smooth finish when dried.

Conceal can best be described as a cross between Log Jam and Log Builder. It exhibits a medium texture that is designed to blend in with the surface of the wood.

All products establish high adhesion to various surfaces, including, of course, clean wood and wood coated with compatible stains or paints. All products are very elastic, accommodating a great deal of underlying movement without cracking or pulling away. Conceal exhibits a little higher performance than Log Builder and Log Jam in terms of adhesion and movement capability. Log Jam exhibits higher performance than Conceal and Log Builder in terms of insulation value and fire resistance.

4. Can I apply Log Jam, Log Builder or Conceal in cold weather?
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Yes, but the following rules must be followed:
1) Tent out the walls to be chinked with clear plastic.
2) Keep the tent intact throughout the entire chinking process. (Day & Night)
3) Keep them logs warm with propane heaters.
4) Keep the material stored at room temperature until used.
5) Make certain the logs are above 40 degrees F and are free of frost.
6) Make certain there is air circulation so moisture doesn’t form on the logs causing a washout. Some venting up high will help with this problem.
7) When finished chinking remove the plastic. This should be sufficient to let the material skin over and slowly cure.


5. What do I use to tool Log Jam, Log Builder and Conceal?
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A variety of tools and techniques can be used in apply chinking or caulking. Most applicators use foam brushes, steel trowels or plastic trowels. In any case, it helps to lightly spray water on the surface of the material immediately before brushing or troweling.

6. What can I use to clean up if I get messy with the Log Jam, Log Builder, or Conceal?
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While still wet, all three products can be cleaned with water while on hands, tools or surfaces. Once the material completely dries it is much harder to remove, and often needs to be cut or scraped off. If the material dries on your hands, you can usually remove it by just rubbing your hands together and it will roll up and off the skin.

7. Should I caulk my new log home now or in a year or two?
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If not for the impracticality of it, it would be great to allow the logs to completely acclimate themselves to their new environment and undergo the majority of their likely movement before sealing the building. But, moisture and air leaks need to be controlled as much as possible right from the get-go. So, apply the necessary caulking now – in accord with all appropriate methods – and plan on performing a little repair work over the next year or two as the foundation, roof system and walls settle into place.

8. How do I figure lineal feet?
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“Linear feet” is simply the length, in feet, of the joints (i.e., the gaps) between the logs or the length, in feet, of the checks on the house that need to be caulked or chinked. You can measure or develop from blue-prints what the perimeter length is of your house (sometimes including the log tails at the corners if these projections will be caulked or chinked). You then determine how many courses of logs you have and multiply the number of courses by the length of the exterior perimeter of the house. If there are large areas with windows that will significantly reduce the lineal footage of joints, then this – and other similar circumstances – will have to be taken into account as well.

9. Can I stain over Log Jam, Log Builder and Conceal?
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Yes, most stains can be successfully applied over Log Jam, Log Builder and Conceal. However, it must be noted that the appearance of stain applied over chinking or caulking will almost always be different than the appearance of the same stain applied over wood. This is because of the differences in color and surface texture between such sealants and wood. So, before applying a stain to a large area where the stain is being applied to both sealants and wood, be sure you test a small area to confirm whether or not the appearance will be acceptable.

Also, it is important to note that many (but not all) stains are based on resins or polymers that, when dry, are quite rigid and hard – far harder and far more rigid than either Log Jam, Log Builder or Conceal. This can lead to problems later as the chinking or caulking tries stretch to accommodate the inevitable movement that continually occurs between logs due to changes in temperature and moisture. Because the rigid coating cannot move nearly as easily as the sealant, it builds up localized areas of stress and can cause the surface of the sealant to develop shallow surface cracks, which, while not normally affecting the overall sealant performance, can lead to an unappealing appearance.

10. What do I do to my chink when it is time to re-stain?
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It is difficult to keep maintenance coats of stain off chink lines. You can brush on the stain and attempt to keep it off the chinking, but that is a time consuming effort. Another option is to spray the stain, back brush it into the wood, and then come back over the chinking with a product like Brushover. Brushover is our textured, elastomeric coating matched to our Log Jam colors that you simply paint over the chink line to restore the original color of the chinking.

11.
Which product should I use when stacking my logs?
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Log Builder is the leading caulking product in the log home industry. It has tremendous adhesion to all types of wood and is extremely elastic. While Sashco’s Stacker caulk can be used for this application, Log Builder will perform even better.

 
 

Log Home Resource Center
P.O. Box 242776
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

1 (800) 441-1564


 
 

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