If you have purchased or inherited a very old cabin or log home, you most likely have just inherited a project. Chinking has changed drastically from what it used to be. Old chinking used to be made of different mixes like mortar. Check: Different Types Of Chinking. Today chinking is much easier to apply, last longer, easier to fix, and just as affordable. If you have an old cabin that needs new chinking here is the guide.
Guide to chinking an old cabin or log home:
Determine if the chinking needs to be replaced.
The first step is to determine if the chinking needs to be replaced. If it is mortar and is cracked all over and chipping, then it is time to upgrade. If the chinking is synthetic, and is coming unsealed at the top and bottom all over the log home, then it is time to replace it.
Remove all chinking and debris.
Remove all chinking and debris. Now if you are removing mortar chinking, it is important to note that there might be metal lath with nails. Be careful when removing these as it could damage the logs. As you remove the chinking, you want to scrap, sand, and then clean the logs so that no debris is left.
Choose your chinking.
Since this is an old log home or cabin, you might be thinking about doing mortar. Here is Our Guide On Mortar (With recipes). If you are thinking about upgrading your chinking it will most likely be a much easier process. Synthetic chinking is what we recommend for the ease of use and longevity. Here is Our Guide on Chinking.
Choose your backer rod.
Backer rod is what you will use if you choose modern chinking. The problem that most people run into with older log homes is that the spaces might be much larger. This can be difficult to chink. Our recommendation is to use Grip Strip Backer Rod. Grip strip backer rod is great for older log homes as it is flat, wider, and easier to fill larger uneven gaps. You can read about the different types of Backer Rod Here In This Guide.
Stain before you chink your old log home.
Before you chink your old log home, it is important to chink the entire home first. Staining the space where you will add the chinking will add an extra layer of protections. This is especially important for older cabins. You want to seal your logs as well as you can.
Problems when chinking an old log home.
Problems that you will run into when chinking an old log home are:
- Rotten logs
As you begin to take the old chinking off, you may notice that some logs are rotten. These logs will have to be repaired before you can chink. Here is Our Guide On Rot.
- Taking out mortar chinking
Mortar chinking can be very difficult to remove without damaging the logs. This could be a problem. Take your time with it and try not to damage the logs.
- Uneven log and big spaces
It can be harder to chink old log homes because of the spaces and uneven log spaces. It is very important to get a good seal on your chinking. Often if it is an older log home, we would recommend hiring a professional. If you are doing it yourself, make sure you leave yourself plenty of days with good weather.
- Not knowing what was used
This can apply to stain and chinking. If you don’t know what was used, it can create compatibility issues. Here is Our Guide On Stain.
- Structural issues
Old log homes might have structural issues. It is important to fix these issue first! If you chink and then fix the log home’s structural issues, the home will move and could unseal your chinking.