How To Remove Mold From Log Homes and Cabins.
Mold or as some might call it Mildew can be harmful to your log home and to your health. It is also a common problem for log homes that are not sealed properly or that are in humid areas with little sunlight. While mold may sound like a scary problem, it is an easy one to clean and prevent. Here are the steps on how to take care of mold in log homes and cabins:
1. Determine if it is mold or something else.
Not all dark or black marks are going to be mold. The first step before you start cleaning is to make sure that it is mold. It could very well be tannin or blue stain. The easiest way to tell if it is mold is to cut off a small piece (or you can do it on the log) and use a cotton swab with bleach to try and remove it. If the stain goes away, then it is most likely mold. Note: Bleach is only for testing and is not the proper way to clean mold on logs.
Other things that can be mistaken for mold are:
Blue Stain is discoloration in logs that can appear to be blue, green, or black caused by certain fungi. Blue stain does not affect the integrity of the logs but can be unattractive to certain people.
Tannin Stains are a type of stain that is caused by water-soluble chemicals rising to the surface of the log or wood. Tannin stains are another stain that is simply cosmetic and are not a cause of concern.
2. Determine the cause and fix it.
Once you have identified that it is mold, you will want to find out what is causing the mold and fix that before cleaning the mold. Mold can be caused by many things and if you do not fix the problem, then it will most likely come back. Mold in log homes can be caused by moisture/humidity, damaged chinking, worn or no stain, unsealed windows, dark and wet areas without proper ventilation (bathrooms), wet basements that raise humidity in the upper levels, and even the outdoor surroundings. Be sure to inspect the area and determine what caused the mold. Fix the problem and make sure that the mold is not deeper for example in the cracks around a window.
3. Use proper protection.
Mold can really cause some people to become sick or spike allergies. In order to be safe make sure that you have proper ventilation, wear gloves, goggles, mask or respirator, and long sleeves. Also wash everything thoroughly afterwards.
4. Wash the logs with a log cleaner.
Do Not Use Bleach! Bleach will damage your logs, stain, and if your logs are bare ruin the natural coloring. Instead use a log cleaner such as Log Wash or Wood ReNew. Follow the instructions on the container. Mist a section of the logs first and then apply the cleaner bottom up working on 2-4 logs at a time. Use a soft bristled brush to scrub the logs and be sure to let the cleaner set for the appropriate amount of time. When ready to rinse, rinse from the top to the bottom. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. If the logs still have residue of mold, let the logs dry completely and then repeat. Be sure that your logs are able to dry.
5. Prevent it from happening again.
If mold is a common problem, then you have a problem that can potentially cause rot and a lot of damage to your log home. It is important to make sure that your log home is sealed properly with chinking and that your stain is up to date and not damaged. Some other things that you can do to prevent mold on your log home are:
- Keep bushes and other plants at least a few feet from your log walls.
- Trim trees so that sunlight can come in.
- Prevent sprinklers from spraying or misting your cabin.
- Fix gutters and prevent rain splatter from drenching log walls.
- Ensure stain and chinking is not damaged.
- Fill in checks (cracks in the logs).
- Ventilate your cabin properly, especially bathrooms and moist places.
- Keep your cabin heated and humidity low.
- Make sure your interior is sealed and stained.
- Let sunlight into your cabin (be sure to use a UV protective stain).
6. Know if you need a professional.
Mold left untreated can really become a big problem and sometimes it is best to call a professional. A professional will know where to look for mold and what to do in order to fix the problem and stop it from happening again. It is probably a good idea to consult with a professional before attempting to clean the mold yourself. Most pros will be more than willing to give advice!