The different types of Chinking for Cabins

Chinking is what seals your cabin and keeps moisture out. Over the years chinking has changed drastically and mostly been made of what was locally available. Early pioneers that needed to build a quick cabin or fort used moss as chinking. Of course this didn’t last very long. Here are the different types of chinking for log homes and when to use them.

Different types of chinking:

Synthetic Chinking

Today most people use synthetic chinking. Synthetic chinking comes in five gallon buckets and is fairly easy to use. It has a life expectancy of about 20 years and is fairly easy to repair. Synthetic chinking has more of a flex to it and will be installed with backer rod, giving it even more flex. Log homes move a lot especially in the first few years. Synthetic chinking that is installed correctly will have less problems and is easier to install on larger log homes. It also is much cheaper than the cost of making your own. For pretty much all jobs you will want to use synthetic chinking. Here is our guide to applying chinking.

Mortar Chinking

mortar chinking mix and recipes

Mortar chinking is made out of different materials being mixed together such as clay, sand, cement, and others. This mix produces a hard chinking that will seal a cabin and let water run off of your logs. Mortar chinking is mostly used by hobbyist or to repair a cabin in the traditional way. It is not cost effective and will not flex as easily. If you are working on a project Here is Our Guide To Homemade Chinking and the best recipe we found. Mortar chinking will require metal lath that will hold it together and work as backer rod does for synthetic chinking.

Here are a few other recipes for mortar chinking:

Cement and Sand
1 Part Pre-Dyed Cement
1 Part Fine Sand

Clay, Sand, and Lime
1 Part Clay
1 Part Coarse Sand
1 Part Lime

Clay, Ash, and Salt
4 Part Clay
2 Part Wood Ashes
1 Part Salt

Cement, Sand, and Lime
6 Part Sand
2 Part Portland Cement
1 Part Lime

Clay + Stones, Corn, Cobs

Old pioneers used mostly anything that they could stick in the space such as stones, corn, and cobs mixed with clay. This is an example of using what was available. Clay is very abundant throughout the world and has been used as a “chinking” for thousands of years in someway. Without clay there was not much else that would seal very well, especially for places with winter.

Dung and straw.

For those who didn’t have access to clay, sh** was the next best thing. Dung from pigs, goats, horses, cows, (hopefully not human) was mixed with straw and packed tightly in the spaces between the logs. Dung chinking was not the best choice, and would need to be repaired often.

Moss Chinking

Moss chinking was made by pacing stones vertically in the spaces between the logs. They would then soak the moss and mix it until it becomes like soupy clay. They would then pack the moss in with the stones. This took time and would need to be packed in very well to work. Moss chinking require very nice dry warm days for it to dry well. This was often used for explorers or temporary cabins.

These are the main types of chinking that were used throughout history. If you are a hobbyist and plan on using one of these methods, we would love to here about your experience! Get in touch and share your experience with the log home community!

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