In our process, we have ceased using any form of blasting. We have used most of the blasting techniques, sand, corn cob, glass bead and walnut shell, as well as soda blasting. Each and every one of these types of media, the soft grain is chewed out leaving the hard grain raised. The blasting also chews the insulation out of the corners, as well as forcing the media and trapped dust everywhere inside your home, that you would be cleaning up for weeks. This is a quicker way to remove the old finish and brighten the logs, but we feel the negative aspects of the process outweigh the positive. Also, you are left with a rough product, that if not sanded properly, will trap dirt and mildew, and weather much quicker.
Our technique is the “old school” way! We will use many different types of sanders to reach all areas of the structure always making sure to protect the integrity of the log work. When the sanding process is complete the logs will look better than when the building was brand new. Then we will make sure that all corners and around windows and doors are re-insulated. Then backer rod is installed in all seams. The backer rod allows the chinking to stretch to maintain the seal between the logs. Chinking will only work properly, if installed properly. Also, there is no manufacturer warranty on chinking if it is not installed to their exact specifications. Once all of the sanding and chinking is complete we will pick the finish that you want. There are so many products on the market, and we have tried most of them. I found a water-base stain available in Calgary, that is the best product I have ever come across.
Chinking is a love-hate situation and it generates a lot of controversy with log home builders. Ask most builders in western Canada and they will say “of course our homes don’t need to be chinked.” There are a couple of fantastic builders in Alberta and BC that I will be happy to pass on to you. I feel that, done correctly, chinking will add to the appearance of a log home. I think that color matching the chinking to the finish is critical to make the log wall look finished. If a wall is not chinked properly the wind can drive the rain to the center of a wall where it can rot the log from the center down. It can go undetected for years from the inside and the outside until it is too late and major repair or replacement is necessary. The chinking around the windows and doors is also a must. This is where you will find many insects that will nest and live in the warmth of the insulation. Once the chinking is done around the doors and windows the molding is replaced and you have the peace of mind knowing that there will be no more energy loss or insect infiltration.