Staining, Sealing, Caulking, And Chinking A Log Siding Cabin

Log siding cabins will last for generations and maintain their beauty and charm when properly cared for. The outside will need sealing, staining, and caulking materials applied, and the interior will also need sealing and staining. Chinking is an optional process for log siding walls.

The key to getting the best short-term and long-term results is using the best quality materials you can afford. As experts will say, “You cannot afford not to use the best.” The following tips will help you create excellent results for your log siding cabin.

Staining and Sealing

Staining is coloring the wood log siding, corners, and trims the shade or hue you desire from clear to light to dark. Most of today’s staining products have a sealer ingredient mixed in with it to eliminate a separate step. The process of staining/sealing wood log siding includes:


  • Thoroughly clean the siding and any other wood surfaces before staining
  • Apply the first coat generously with a brush or sprayer and allow to dry thoroughly
  • Apply the first coats with smooth and even strokes in the direction of the grain
  • Apply the second coat and let it dry thoroughly
  • TIP: Stain the log siding in the shade and warm weather


Caulking Seals Joints and Gaps

The purpose of caulking is to seal up gaps and cracks to prevent air movement, moisture entrance, and insect inhabitation. Some caulking products are amazing because they simulate the natural roughness of tongue and groove (T&G) wood log siding. They are also available in assorted colors to blend in with the most popular stains used on today’s log homes. Use caulking in these areas:


  • Where log corners meet log siding
  • Around log window and door trim
  • Around butt joints that are not T&G
  • Cracks, gaps, and crevices
  • Where log siding meets the foundation
  • Around soffits

In general, caulk should be applied before staining and allowed to dry for at least an hour before staining. Tongue and groove/end-matching siding eliminates 80% of caulking.

“Log siding cabins will last for generations and maintain their beauty and charm when properly cared for.”

Chinking Is Optional With Log Siding

Chinking was always necessary in our ancestors’ houses because large gaps were typically present between the logs on all four sides of the houses. It is still needed in some full log houses and a variety of materials can be used.

Today’s log siding cabins don’t need chinking because the logs are milled to tight tolerances. It is an optional process used primarily for appearance sake. Chinking adds a bit of old-fashioned flair that takes us back to simpler times. The best chinking advice from Sashco Company is:


  • Apply to clean and dry stained wood
  • Apply in dry, warm, and out of direct sunlight conditions
  • Apply a bond breaker before chinking
  • Fill in the spaces with the chinking product in a caulking gun
  • Tool the chinking flat so water will run off the siding


Applying Clear Coat Finishes

Stains for log siding are available as water-based and oil-based products. Some of them appear shiny when they dry and do not need a clear coat top finish. Others need a clear top coat applied after the stain dries to provide additional protection.

Semi-transparent, semi-solid, and solid stains are all good options. The main differences are how much of the natural wood and color you want to see through the stain and clear coat. The ideal temperature for staining and applying clear coats is between 50 and 90 degrees on days that are not too humid.


Do It Yourself Or Hire A Pro

If you have the skills, desire, and time to seal, stain, caulk, and perhaps chink your log siding cabin, then proceed. If not, hire a professional for the job for the best results. The national cost for hiring an exterior house painter is between $1.50 and $4 per square foot depending on:


  • Size of the home
  • Material to be painted
  • Condition of the wall material
  • Number of coats needed
  • Size of roof overhang
  • Decks or patios


Reapply These Materials As Needed

For the best long-term results, do it right the first time so you don’t have to worry about the siding becoming discolored or cracking. The staining/sealant manufacturer’s directions are found on the label and should be followed.

Keep your log siding cabin looking great for generations by using high-quality stain, sealant, caulking, and chinking products. Clean the siding and reapply these materials over the years as needed and you will be well pleased.

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