Proper preparation of your log siding product before staining, as well as the staining procedure itself, can ensure that your finished log siding exceeds expectations. Heartwood Mills artisans are well versed in preparing log siding for the staining process. Here are their valuable tips for the proper preparation of the wood and application of wood staining products.

Quality is critical

The sap-ring in Pine log siding measures 2/3 the diameter of the tree trunk. Thus, most Pine siding will be made from sapwood and will bleed sap out of the wood for two to three years. Sap causes what is typically seen as black blotches on Pine siding— even with the very best of stain applications! However, there is no sap at all in the quality Northern White Cedar siding and paneling from Heartwood Mills because it is cut from the heartwood of the Cedar tree.

White Cedar tree sapwood typically measures only ½ to 1 inch of the diameter of the trunk and Heartwood Mills removes ALL the sapwood during the drying and milling process. Simply stated, using inferior log siding products milled from sapwood may be inexpensive to begin with but in the long run will cost more time and effort to maintain and will result in less satisfaction with the appearance of the home.

Prepare the log siding

Use a TSP wash (Tri Sodium Phosphate) to open up the cellular structure of the wood so the stain will penetrate further into the grain.

Stain quality

It’s always best to research the different stain qualities available at your local stain store. Check online to make sure you are getting the quality you want for the money you want to spend. There is a wide range of products and, of course, the best products are the most expensive. Even a quality stain will not wear well if preparation is inadequate or sun exposure is excessive. Look for guarantees and for stain life expectancies as published by the manufacturer. Follow all manufacturers’ recommendations for product preparation and stain application.

Stain application

Stain doesn’t go on like a coat of paint and doesn’t function like paint in the protection of your log siding product. Unlike paint, stain is designed to soak into the wood. Two healthy coats of stain back-brushed into the wood itself are much better than one heavy coat of stain that will sit on the surface. If you apply your stain like a thick coat of paint, the stain will ultimately chip, crack and peal.

Color choice

The predominant enemy of stain is the UV rays of the sun. Lighter stain colors will fail faster than darker stain colors because UV rays penetrate further into the lighter colored product.

Limit sun exposure

If you are still designing your home, you might want to position your home in relation to the sun in order to minimize sun exposure. It’s always good to have an 18-24 inch overhanging soffit on your roof to keep your log siding out of the sun as much as possible.

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