Does Wood Log Siding Withstand The Elements?

We begin with the question, “Does wood log siding withstand the elements?” With proper installation and maintenance, the effects of Mother Nature can be minimized to keep your log home or cabin in fabulous condition.

Any wood product that stays outdoors for any length of time will show some weathering. Whether it’s softwood or hardwood, neglect is the greatest enemy to wood log siding. Build your log home with professional standards, stain, seal, and maintain it, and you will be pleased with the results for decades to come. So, the answer to our original question is, “Yes”, and let’s see why.

What Is Wood Log Siding?

Wood log siding is a product used to cover the exterior and interior walls of homes and cabins. It is real wood and not a composite, synthetic, metal, or alternate product. The two most popular types of wood are northern pine and cedar. Pine is less expensive while cedar is more moisture resistant.

Real log siding is made by sawing off two sides of a tree that has its limbs removed, debarked, and milled to a consistent diameter from end to end. The two “D” shaped pieces are 2” or 3” thick and become the siding while the centerpiece of the log is used for other purposes. The best siding has tongues and grooves milled into both the sides and ends of each piece.

Log corners are attached to the wall framing first followed by log trim around the windows and doors. The log siding is screwed to the exterior OSB board or plywood that has been secured to the wall framing. Caulk it where needed, stain and seal it, and you have log home walls.

How The Elements May Affect Wood Log Siding

Mother Nature is wonderful but she can cause harm to logs that are installed incorrectly or poorly maintained over the years. Here are some of her possible effects that occur much more often to full logs than log siding:


  • Wood can warp and swell
  • Logs that can settle
  • Joints can loosen and weaken
  • Caulking and chinking can fall out
  • Gaps let in moisture and insects
  • Gaps reduce insulation’s benefits
  • Snow pileups can prevent siding from breathing
  • The sun’s UV rays can cause harm

High humidity levels can also affect the structural integrity of log siding and excessive dry climates can crack the wood. The solution is to minimize all these effects with smart construction, staining/sealing, and maintenance.

“Build your log home with professional standards, stain, seal, and maintain it, and you will be pleased with the results for decades to come.”

Minimizing The Elements’ Effects On Wood Log Siding

To start, install siding that has about 14% to 15% moisture content to prevent mildew, mold, blistering, instability, and any log rot. Be sure to apply stain and sealants in warm weather instead of cold weather. Here are some other helpful recommendations:


  • When sealing, staining, and weatherproofing your log home, consider the natural climate, home size, and your budget
  • Protect against moisture damage by adding some below-grade insulation
  • Waterproof the foundation walls by coating them with a permeable membrane to move water from the soil down to a drainage board and away from the foundation
  • Build sufficient roof overhangs to divert rain and melting snow from the walls
  • Plant some trees on the south and west sides to ease sun damage

Real wood log siding is adaptable to any climate when properly installed and maintained

How To Professionally Maintain Log Siding For Longevity

If you have installed and prepped your wood log siding correctly, there are some things you need to do over the years. Start by following your contractor’s advice and the manufacturer’s directions on any stain, sealant, clear coat, caulking, or chinking products you use.

  • Make sure the wood is dry with moisture level below 16%
  • Apply any fungicide or pesticide boosters
  • Choose a high-quality stain/sealant
  • Apply the stain with a brush to get into hard-to-reach places
  • Next work from small areas into larger areas and maintain a wet edge
  • You can continue with the brush or use a sprayer
  • Wait for the stain to dry and apply a second coat if you want a richer color


To maintain your log siding over the years, apply maintenance coats recommended by the stain manufacturer. How often you do this may also be dictated by your weather conditions.

Log Corners And Log Trims For Siding

A log siding home needs corner logs, trims, and siding for the outside and logs, trims, and baseboards for the inside. They are available in sizes to match the size/profile of your choice of log siding. Order them from the same log siding supplier for convenience and cost savings.

Don’t worry for a minute about your log home withstanding the elements. It will if your home is professionally constructed and well-maintained.

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