Log home chinking repair installation caulking energy sealing to fix drafts MD VA WV PA

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Log Home Chinking, Fix Drafts Around Doors, Windows, Energy Seal, Caulk Installation & Repair Log Homes & Cabins MD VA WV


Log  home chinking is the gritty, mortar-like material seen between courses of logs on many log homes and log cabins. Modern log home chinking is a flexible, mortar textured sealant. Log home chinking can be a necessity or simply an aesthetic addition to a log home’s or log cabin’s appearance. Log home chinking stops air and moisture infiltration into your home, making the home more energy efficient and reducing entry points for insects. You may also use log home chinking or caulking to energy seal any gaps between logs and notches that have settled and formed gaps overtime. A special material should be used on log checking and log home chinking, since standard caulks are not appropriate to fill log home and log cabin checking.

Traditionally log home chinking and log cabin chinking were once a mixture of clay, lime, and sand with variations based on what was locally available. Typically, old fashioned log home chinking often fails by pulling away from logs and cracks, allowing water, organic debris and insects to enter the logs. Sometimes even pests and rodents will get behind chinking and make nests. Gaps between the logs can also be a source of air intrusion, or drafts that need to be fixed. Today’s materials are flexible and made of acrylic elastomeric compounds that adhere to the logs and can stretch and flex as the logs settle and move during seasonal expansion and contraction, and during the freeze and thaw cycles. Depending on the severity, chinking can be repaired, or may need to be replaced. Proper chinking repair or chinking replacement using a backer rod or bond breaker to create the proper two point adhesion is critical. Likewise, when installing energy seal and removing old caulk a proper two point adhesion is needed.

The same rule also apply to check filling. If the checking was improperly filled with caulk with no backer rod and not a check mate material and has since failed is should be replaced with the proper checking material. Upward facing checks on exterior logs represent a problem area. Standing water and debris enter the checks and become the ground for fungus and rot to set in. Checking also represents a way in for air, water, and insects. Contact our office to have the checking on your log home properly taken care of.

Many contractors will take the cheap way out and use mortar instead of the latest elastomeric products available today. This is a bad idea for several reasons. One of the most common problems associated with mortar chinking is log rot. Because the mortar is NOT flexible, normal expansion and contraction will quickly create small gaps and fissures that will allow water behind it. Since mortar contains water, when it is drying the water will be absorbed into your logs, and that can create rot issues, especially in older log homes.

Many hand-crafted log homes and log cabins not built in a scribe-fit style are referred to as chink style log homes or chinked. Several milled log home manufacturers also offer log home packages that require chinking. These homes are built leaving gaps between the courses of logs where the chinking may be installed. The gaps are typically created with small spacer blocks that help hold the logs apart. At the corners the logs are held apart by the notches (usually round or dovetailed notches). When the log shell is constructed generally a backer rod (or equivalent) is pushed between the courses of logs and then a chinking compound is applied both inside and outside of the home.

It is important to make sure that any log home chinking or caulk that is installed on your log home is compatible with the finish on your logs in order to avoid incompatibility issues. For more information about chinking or caulking (energy sealing) your home please contact our office. We offer a full range of services from historic chinking repair and replacement to new chinking installation or repair of elastomeric chinking, to energy sealing, and also check filling. If you want to change the color of your chinking without the expense of total replacement, let us know. We also offer log home chinking painting services.

Newer homes are often more energy efficient than older homes and have fewer drafts, but over time as the home settles and the logs shrink, drafts can occur and your log home can become drafty. If you are experiencing problems with drafts, consider having a thermal energy audit conducted to pinpoint where the areas are that need to be fixed.

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