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The Oak Leaf – September 2016 issue

By September 1, 2016March 18th, 2024Newsletter

Welcome to the September 2016 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

Please “Like” Gastineau Log Homes on Facebook! There are LOTS of photographs of our homes in the Photo section!

First I want to give a shout out to one of our log home owners that visited our offices today. Ken and Sharon Sutton of Sherrard, IL built their Gastineau log home in 1979 and still live in it today. They told me they “… still love their home and have never regretted building it!” Thanks for visiting Ken and Sharon and I look forward to the photos you promised!

Trivia Question

What newspaper incorrectly declared “Dewey Defeats Truman” in 1948? (See the answer at the end of the newsletter.)

Focus on Maintenance

All homes need maintenance. The maintenance for a log home is not that different from recommended practices for other types of construction. Learn more here in this months issue of the Oak Leaf. And don’t miss the Top Ten Ways to Minimize Maintenance of Your Log Home” in this issue!

What exterior maintenance is recommended for a home?

The first exterior maintenance recommended for any type of home is to hose down the exterior once or twice a year to remove dirt. This is important because the microorganisms in dust and dirt will eat away at any finish on the exterior material. The second exterior maintenance recommended for any home is to check around doors, windows, sill plates, vents in your roof, etc (any intrusions into your home) for leaks or cracks in the seals. The third item to inspect is downspouts, gutters and any place that rain or other sources of water can splash up onto your walls. This includes exterior railings or trim. Make sure your downspouts are running the water at least 5 feet away from your foundation.

What about Interior Maintenance?

Here you find some significant differences between log homes and homes that are all drywall inside. A log wall can usually be wiped down with rag to remove dust and that will be the only maintenance you will need for oh, say 50 years. Drywall will require repainting about every 7 – 10 years and if there are any “accidents” they require patching.

What type of exterior maintenance does a log home require that a conventional home does not?

New home being completed in Oklahoma.

All log homes do not require the same maintenance and all frame homes do not require the same maintenance so it is impossible to provide a simple answer to this question. A frame home that has wood siding on the exterior will require the same maintenance as a log home. If you choose to build a Gastineau Oak log home, the maintenance is more cosmetic because the wood is naturally resistant to insects and decay. If you choose to build a Gastineau Pine log home, we recommend that you apply Borates on the exterior of the logs every two years in addition to the cosmetic treatment. The exterior stain will maintain the fresh wood look to the exterior of the logs for many years.

The other aspect of exterior maintenance is caulking the horizontal joints. Gastineau Log Homes addressed that issue in our log redesign in 1994. We incorporated a caulk channel into our exterior joint which allows for placement of backer rod into the joint prior to caulking. Because of this caulk joint, our caulking supplier, Sashco, provides a life time warranty on the caulk.

The BEFORE picture. This is what an Oak log home looks like after 20 years in the Florida sun with no exterior treatment.

The AFTER picture.

Top Ten Ways to Minimize Maintenance for Your Log Home

It is pretty simple.

  1. And I do mean #1. Use the correct product on the exterior. Do NOT go to Home Depot and buy what is on sale or buy it because it says “…for log homes…” on the label. Buy from a company that has products specifically formulated for log homes. This can make a difference of 8 to 10 years in longevity.
  2. Add as many porches or big overhangs as you can afford or that fits your design. Less water, less sun, less maintenance. It’s that easy.
  3. Design your house so you can reach any exposed exterior wood. For example, if you have a walk out basement, add a deck or walk way so you can reach the log walls. The maintenance of the logs is easy. Being able to REACH the logs is can be the most difficult part.
  4. Use aluminum soffits and fascia. We offer this as a no charge option in our packages. These are heavily exposed surfaces that can also be very high off the ground. (As per #2 and #3 above.)
  5. Wash the dirt off the exterior of your home at least once a year.
  6. Plant trees or locate your home in the trees to minimize sun exposure.
  7. Use no-maintenance siding like LP’s Diamond Kote Smart Side for gable ends and dormers. We offer this in our “No-Maintenance” Option packages. You still have the log look on the interior of the gables but only 8′ of exterior log wall to maintain. Easy to reach = easy to maintain.
  8. Install gutters that can handle your water run off. If you have a very large roof, you may need industrial size gutters to adequately control the water running off your roof.
  9. Use a wood species for your home that is naturally resistant to decay and insects. This would include Oak, Cypress and Cedar. Pine can be treated to last as long but requires your attention more than the other species.
  10. Properly prepare your exterior wood surface prior to application. This will insure that you get the maximum longevity from the application of the stain.

Look like a new log home ready for stain? No, this is a 30 year old log home that had the stain removed and getting ready for a fresh new finish!

A further explanation of #3 above: making the wood easily accessible

Even though the roof pitch is not high at the ridge, the walk out basement adds 9′ to the height of the wall making this end of the house difficult to reach. Maintenance will require ladders and probably scaffolding for that reason.

Here are photos showing houses that are easy to maintain and some that are hard to maintain. I think the photos speak for themselves.

All the walls are close to the ground and the highest point has a porch. And the porch will make the exterior maintenance for that front wall virtually nonexistent as well. Very easy home to maintain.

Although this Seven Gables B has a walk out basement, the deck provides an adequate space for ladders to minimize the total height. Not perfect but not difficult to do.

The deck around the side will be a great asset when this end of the house is restained. Which is about the only part of the house that will require much maintenance as there is a front and rear porch. The balcony on the second floor makes that dormer easy to reach as well.

These log walls are 9′ tall and the exterior gables and dormers use a no-maintenance siding. Will be an easy home to maintain.

Getting access to this end of the home is going to be the biggest challenge in terms of maintenance. A walk out basement with a high pitched roof without a porch or deck is the most difficult and time consuming to maintain.

Design Considerations

Your choices and your design have a big influence on the maintenance that will be required for your home. Location, foundation, porches, etc are all factors. The good news is that we can help you through this process to ensure that you have a home that fits your needs and recognizes your maintenance concerns. We have solutions for each situation. The benefits you derive from the strength, ambiance, natural materials and energy efficiency of your log home far outweigh any unnecessary concerns about maintenance.

Home Shows

No more home shows until this Fall 2016! We have learned that the Log Home Show is returning to Kansas City the Spring of 2017.

Log Raising

We had a very successful but hot log raising on August 27th in St Louis. We hope to have another log raising this Fall near Columbia, MO. More information to come!

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2016

September 17, 2016
(Note: this is a week earlier than the Sept 24th date announced earlier!)

Click here for information on our one day construction seminars.

Open Houses

Remember that the GLH Model Home Center on I 70 in central MO is open 7 days a week! We have three houses there that you can tour! We will be closed on Sunday September 4th and Monday September 5th to observe Labor Day.

Answer to Trivia Question

The Chicago Daily Tribune. That night Harry Truman spent the night at The Elms in Excelsior Springs, MO. (Where I recently spent a wonderful weekend and highly recommend!) President Truman retired around 6:30 in the evening, arose around midnight when he was told that he had lost. He returned to sleep and did not know until the next morning that he had actually won.

Quote of the Month

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry Truman