Log home siding has become a popular way to add a traditional look and feel to modern houses. New innovations have created several types of products that give your house a look of a log cabin, without using the traditional full logs. These include half log siding and imitation log vinyl siding.
Step 1. Preparation
The first order of business is to determine what type of log home siding is already on your home. The most common form of log siding is kiln dried half logs. They come in a variety of widths and lengths, so it is important to get accurate measurements for replacement materials. Ask your manufacturer about the species of wood they use and any warranty that might apply. It's recommended that you use kiln dried wood because it will shrink, crack and warp less than fresh cut wood.
Step 2. Determining the Damage
Logs can incur damage from water, insects and exposure to the elements. The same is true for half log siding. Examine the siding for deep cracks and splits, soft spongy places, water stains and mold, as well as insect holes. You can use a nail or screw driver to probe suspect areas. When you find damage, it will be soft and the nail or screw driver will penetrate into the surface of the wood more than a 1/2 inch.
Step 3. Repairing and Replacing Log Siding
Once you have determined the areas to be repaired, the next step is to remove any rotten or soft wood. Rotten wood can be dug out with a chisel, screwdriver and wire brush. Be careful not to damage the surrounding area. Repairing small areas of damage requires the use of a synthetic filler. Treat the areas that will be filled with a liquid wood hardener and let dry. Now, use a two-part epoxy-based wood filler to fill the holes. It is best to fill in two or three steps, rather than try to fill a deep hole in one pass. These epoxy fillers set up fast, so only mix what you can use within 15 minutes. After they dry, they can be sanded, molded, painted or stained to match your existing log siding.
Step 4. Removing Damaged Log Siding
If the damage is extensive, large sections of log siding must be completely removed and replaced. Starting at one end, cut any caulk and gently pry the board loose, working your way down the length. Protect adjoining boards by placing a scrap under your pride bar.
Step 5. Replacing a full half log
Check for any structural damage under the area while the wood siding is off. Before installing, coat the back of your replacement logs with a breathable wood sealer, recommended by the manufacturer of the logs. Cut to length and install with wood screws. Pre-drill and countersink wood screws for a seamless look.
You have now taken a large step to repair and protect your log sided home. Keep up the maintenance with regular inspections and weatherproofing, and you're sure to enjoy this timeless look for years to come.