Chinking is an very important part of your log home. Chinking is what seals the spaces between the logs and prevents moisture and air from sneaking in. In this guide we will give you all of the steps and tips on how to install chinking in your log home.
What exactly is chinking for a log home?
Chinking is the synthetic sealant that is similar to mortar and goes between the logs. Chinking is used to seal the space between the logs in a log home and prevent moisture from getting between the logs. Chinking used to be made of clay, lime, salt, sand, ash, and dirt. Old chinking was very hard and would need to be repaired often as it did not flex. Modern chinking is much more flexible similar to caulk and will stretch and move with the log home.
Here are the steps to chinking your log home:
1. Gather your materials.
For this chinking guide we will use the most common chinking method which is to use a bulk loading gun. We will also use the most common type of chinking which is synthetic chinking mix. Here are the materials you will need for your chinking project:
- Backer Rod
- Chinking or Caulking
- Bulk Loading Gun and Nozzle
- Spatulas or Putty Knifes
- Misting Bottle (Any spray bottle)
- Foam Brushes – Slightly smaller than your chinking width
- Empty Buckets For Storing and Cleaning Brushes
- Ladder or Scaffolding (Depending on your project)
2. Prepare your log home.
Before you apply chinking to your log home it is important to stain your log home first. Staining your log home before you apply chinking will add an extra layer of protection to the logs incase of chinking failure. Stain must be completely dry, which typically takes at least 5 days of good weather. Here is how to treat your log home. Once you have your logs stained it is important to wash away any debris that may be on your logs. Here is a guide on how to wash your log home. You do not want to use a pressure washer as it will damage your stain. Simply scrub with a cleaner and then let it dry well.
3. Apply Backer Rod
Before you apply chinking, you will need to apply backer rod. Backer rod is a foam that you place between the logs. The purpose of backer rod is to make sure that your chinking only seals to the top and bottom log. As your log home contracts and expands this prevents it from coming unsealed. Choose the backer rod that has a tight fit between your logs. You will want to have room for about 1 inch of chinking to be spread evenly. You can either use staples or spray adhesive to secure your backer rod. We recommend using staples. If you opt for spray adhesive… spay only on the backer rod and not on the logs. You can cut your backer rod to make it even as you go over knots.
4. Apply Chinking
Now that you are fully prepared, it is time to apply your chinking. The most most important part when using a bulk loading gun is to make sure that you have the correct nozzle. You’ll find a guide to this in your instructions. To fill your bulk loading gun, place the nozzle end in your bucket of chinking. Pull the rod and fill your gun. Be sure to check your chinking for the recommend thickness as it does vary. Apply the chinking to the recommended thickness (typically between 1/4 inch and 1 inch).
5. Smooth and Seal Chinking.
As you apply the chinking, you need to smooth it out and seal it to the top and bottom. Go over your chinking with a spatula or foam brush. Your goal is to keep it the proper thickness and make sure that is sealed along the top and bottom seals. You will most likely want to use your spray bottle of water to help keep it pliable and smooth. Be careful not to use to much water as it will make it to pliable.
6. Clean Up As You Go.
Once chinking dries it will be stuck to your logs and very difficult to remove without damaging your finish. As you go use a rag and water to remove any excess chinking on your logs. Take your time and do small stretches at a time to make sure that you can easily clean as you go.
A few tips for chinking your log home.
A few tips that will help you succeed when chinking is to:
- Make sure you have good weather:
You do not want it to be to cold out, raining, windy, or to hot. Having a few nice moderate days will be the best for your chinking. Even wind can blow debris onto your chinking causing problems.
- Have everything ready first:
You want to have all of your chinking and tools ready. Have extra rags, water available, enough backer rod. This may seem obvious but all to often people dive in and suddenly are scrambling to get more supplies. This can lead to problems and a mess.
- Have extra brushes:
To keep moving quickly, most people will buy a box of foam brushes up to 50. This allows you to keep moving without stopping to clean your brushes. You can just throw your dirty brushes in a bucket of water as you go and clean them later. This makes it so that you can keep going and rinse less.
- Apply backer rod to only what you can do that day:
You don’t want to have your backer rod getting wet or damaged while it waits for you to apply chinking. If you have a team of people you can most likely do the entire house. If it is just you or a small team, then one wall at a time is best. Especially in areas where the weather might not holdout for you.
Chinking is an essential part of your log home’s health. Make sure that your chinking is applies properly and take your times. If you have questions, check with a contractor. How To Repair Chinking.