Can Log Homes Be Painted?

Log Home Rot

If you have a log home that needs new life, you may be considering painting it. I’ve seen log homes with a dark red and even some painted white that actually look good. But is this a good idea? Sometimes something that may look good can cause other problems. It can also hurt your resale value.

Can log homes be painted?

The short answer is: only if the paint is designed for log homes and still you should be careful. Log homes are stained to allow the logs to breath, keep moisture out, and let moisture out. Most paints are not absorbed well and will actually keep moisture in. There are many shades of stains these days from dark reds to greys and whites. It may be worth sticking with stain.

Why painting log homes is a bad idea.

Moisture and rot.

Moisture is a log home’s main enemy. Log homes need to be able to breath. One of the main differences between paint and stain is breathability. Stain will absorb into your logs, protecting them from moisture on the outside and allowing moisture to escape. Paint only coats the outside of the logs and is meant to stop moisture from absorbing into the logs… this is the problem. Paint will also prevent moisture from escaping the logs. Leaving lots of room for moisture to expand and rot to happen.

Paint hides problems.

Paint is great at covering and hiding problems. The main problem is rot. While your paint may look perfectly intact, underneath, your logs can be rotting from the inside out. As discussed above, moisture not being able to escape can cause your logs to rot. The only way to fix this is to replace the entire section. Other problems that paint can hide are bugs, mold, and failing chinking. If you are buying a log home and it has been painted. You may want to think again or hire an expert to do a thorough inspection. Typically if a log home or cabin is painted, you will not know about problems until it is to late.

May hurt resale value.

Log homes are a special type of home. People who love them generally appreciate their natural wood look. Painting a log home takes away from the natural log look that most people like. It may also be a red flag to most buyers as it is a sign of improper maintenance or hidden problems. Even if your white paint looks great… it doesn’t mean it will add to the value. In fact in most cases it will hurt the value of your log home.

Makes it hard to go back to stain.

Once you paint a log home, it is going to be expensive and difficult to undo. You will have to use a cob blaster or sand blaster to take the paint off and get back down to a fresh layer of wood. By doing so, you will also have to fix chinking and other problems that are uncovered during the process. Once you have taken the top layer of wood off and repaired everything, you will then have to re-stain the log home.

With all of these potential problems, it is worth sticking to stain. Even if you have a small cabin and are thinking about painting it, the risk may not be worth it. There are plenty of stains that can give you reds, whites, greys, and other shades. If you are thinking about painting or purchasing a log home that has been painted. We recommend reaching out to a professional first. Do you have any experience with a painted cabin?

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