Older log homes or log homes that have not been taken care of properly may have logs that are beyond repair. The most common problem is rot. Replacing a log is more of a custom job. Each log replacement will be different depending on how the log home was build, age of the cabin, how bad the rot is, and where the log is located. Here is a basic list for replacing a log in a log home.
1. Assess the damage.
Before you dive into replacing a log, it is important to make sure that it is necessary. Often people mistake checking for a log that needs to be replaced. Checks in a log are cracks that appear as the log dries. Checks typically do not damage the structure as they do not typically pierce the center of the log. Checks can be repaired using chinking or caulk. Rot which can be caused by moisture getting into the logs will lead to the need for replacement. Rot in a log home does create weak spots.
Once you have determine that you have rotten logs or logs damaged beyond repair. You then want to make sure that it is not the entire wall and find the source of the problem. if you have a moisture problem and replace the log, the next log may rot as well.
2. Remove the damaged log or section.
Once you have determined with log you have to replace, it is time to remove it. The most important part in removing the log is DO NOT USE A CHAINSAW! Many log homes have lag screws holding them together and some may have wires in them. A Reciprocating Saw or commonly called (sawzall) will work and an ax. Be careful as you cut the log.
If the log is on the bottom or you have to move more than one log, you might have to brace the log home before you remove the log.
Make sure that you remove the entire section that needs to be replaced.
3. Clean and dry the area.
It is important to keep the area dry and not let moisture get between the logs while you are changing the log. Scrape the chinking out and other debris. This is important as you don’t want to trap moisture in when you add the new log.
4. Cut a log to fit.
Once you have the old log cut out and debris removed, you can now find a replacement log. Before you go cut a tree down yourself there are some things to consider. The log will need to be dried out and the moisture content will have to be at a low level before being treated. The easiest way to get a replacement log is to buy one. Companies like Lok N Logs offer custom replacement logs that are already kiln dried and treated. Once you get the log you may need to use saws to make the log fit as tight as possible.
5. Add caulk and chinking.
Once your log is in place. Now you want to make sure that you properly caulk and chink. This will prevent the log from getting moisture again. This will typically be the perfect time to go over your entire log home and repair the rest of your chinking.
6. Match the stain.
In most cases if a log home has rot it was not stained regularly. We recommend staining the entire log home. By stripping down the logs and re-staining them all; It will help protect from further rot and is an easier method of matching stain.
7. Find and fix the cause.
Before you pat yourself on the back, it is important to note the cause of the bad log. Was there a leak? Is water running down the logs? Are plants to close? Did the log home not get maintained regularly? Log homes require frequent maintenance. Make sure that you know what caused the problem and take action to stop it from happening again.