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The Oak Leaf – June 2012

By June 1, 2012May 10th, 2024Newsletter

Welcome to the June 2012 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new readers, this is a monthly newsletter that is sent by e-mail to those that have expressed an interest in Gastineau Log Homes. We use this as a way of communicating technical, design and industry information. For more information, check out our web site at

Trivia Question: Spring/summer is upon us and that means Spring Projects around the house. Do you know what the latest 2012 Spring Home Improvement Study shows is the #1 spring project of homeowners? (See the answer below.)

This GLH Oak log home is in Wasilla, Alaska. It is a modified Cumberland design. To see more photos of the interior of this design, click on the photo for a link.

This issue of the Oak Leaf focuses on ideas for Summer projects and tips on how to get them done. How to build an inground fire pit, how to clean your deck (or log home), and what to do about that messy garage! And the reason why a log garage is easier to keep clean!

Want to build an in-ground fire pit? Now is the time of year to do it! First, find a location that is clear of tree limbs overhead, structures, or anything that could catch fire. Avoid areas where there could be wires, cables, pipes, etc underground. Choose your design: round or square? An inside diameter of 36″ to 44″ is a good size. The pit should be set into the ground at least 12″ deep with the walls extending 12″ above the ground as well. Build the pit walls using rocks, brick, landscaping pavers, or other decorative stone. Line the pit with a layer of fire brick (find them at stone centers or at home improvement centers) or a steel ring. Put a thick layer of gravel in the bottom of the pit for drainage plus a layer of sand on top of the gravel. This is a project that most anyone can successfully tackle. And if doesn’t turn out the way you want, just fill it back in with the dirt you took out! No risk!

Log homes can have most of the design options as conventional homes. This home, which is in Japan, has an off center ridge line and an unusual “white” gable end. Not your typical log home but very appealing.

Cleaning and restaining your deck or log home! First: stain formulated for log homes can be used on decks, but deck stain cannot necessarily be used on log homes. Before you buy stain/sealer for a log home, check with the log home manufacturer for their recommendations. Also, find out what stain was applied to the wood previously as some products are not compatible.
Now… how to do it! 1. Mix 4 ounces of TSP or dishwasher detergent into 1 gallon of hot water in a sprayer. Shake/stir until dissolved. (TSP can be purchased as liquid also.) 2. Add 1/3 to 1 1/2 gallons of bleach, depending on the severity of the mold or finish. (FYI: The more sunlight, the better bleach will work.) Top off the sprayer with regular water. 3. For log homes, wet the wall before spraying to prevent streaks. (Not as important for decks.) 4. Now spray your cleaning mixture on your wall/deck. Let it sit for 5 to 15 minutes. Don’t let it get dry. 5. Wash off with good sprayer on the end of a garden hose. A power washer is probably not needed and should be used sparingly with low pressure to prevent damage. Repeat if necessary to remove all mold, dirt, etc. 6. After it is clean, let it sit for 24 to 48 hours to thoroughly dry. 7. Apply stain with either a sprayer or roller/brush as per the manufacturers recommendations.
Want to prevent bugs from living on your logs/deck? Consider adding Bug Juice to your stain. It is is an insecticide paint additive that is designed to kill flying and crawling insects that alight on most interior and all exterior surfaces.

A darker stain, like the one shown above, will last longer without restaining than a clear or lighter color.

  • This is a 25 year old GLH Oak log home in southern FL that had absolutely no stain or sealer put on EVER! The logs were all fine but the appearance was unsightly.

  • This is the same house after it had been cleaned and restained. Amazing before and after shots! Looks good as new!

Spruce up your garage: If you are like me, your garage tends to become a dump for everything. That big open space is just so handy! Cleaning my garage was my Memorial Day project. I read up on some tips before I started. These are the ones that helped me the most!

This photo is of a 20 year old Oak log interior wall. No painting necessary! Wipe it down with water once in a while and it’s good! Sometimes I will go all out and put some Liquid Gold on the logs. Sure is easier than painting!

First, take everything out. Throw out as much as possible. Donate anything valuable. Divide up items you keep according to their use, i.e. gardening, paint, tool, coolers, etc. Now clean the garage very well! Walls, ceilings, shelves. Now look at your space like a clean slate. Forget where you had things in the past. Put some of those “groupings” into plastic tubs. LABEL them. Think vertical as much as possible. Get everything up off the floor so it is easier to keep the floor clean later. (If you have a log garage, it’s easy to add shelves because you don’t have to worry about hitting studs!) I had some built in wooden shelves that were very hard to keep clean. So I painted them and now they wipe off very easily. And look much better! After putting everything back into the garage, it looks so good that I have decided to Epoxy the garage floor. That is THIS weekends project!

  • No painting necessary in a room like this… or ever a need to replace the flooring! Wood may cost a little more when it is installed, but there is NO maintenance to it as the years fly by!

  • By contrast, in this room the ceiling will have to be painted at some point as well as the two framed walls (that you cannot see in this picture) that have painted drywall. The carpet will have to be replaced also.

Upcoming Log Raising: We will be having a log raising at a home to be built on Perry Lake in Perry, KS the first part of July. A final date has not been set. If you wish to be notified of the date, location and time, call 800-654-9253 or email

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2012:

July 14 Sept 22 Oct 13

The one day construction seminars are held at our model home center on I70 on the southwest outer road of Exit 144 in Central Missouri. Call to register!

See GLH at these log home shows:

Dallas, Texas Log & Timber Home Show: September 22 and 23rd, 2012 at the Irving Convention Center. Call for more info.

Oley Fair, Oley, PA on Sept 20 too 22 from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Open Houses:
Fleetwood, PA October 20, 2012 from 11;00 AM to 4:00 PM Contact Dennis and Colleen Gabel for more information at 610-790-7479 or email:

Answer to the Trivia Question: The 2012 survey says… 70% of Americans will paint at least one room in their home! Of those, 30% plan to paint their bedroom and bathroom. (If you have a log home, at least you don’t have as many walls to paint! The interior finish of a log home should last at least 30 years!) The second most popular project is improvement to the yard. A whopping 45% of the people want to make improvements to the front or backyards.

Quote of the Month: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson