Modern construction terminology commonly defines the phrase “log chinking” as a method of sealing the walls of log buildings to protect the interior space from adverse environmental conditions. Although the materials used to fill the narrow spaces between logs can vary greatly, it is advantageous to understand specific concepts and universal qualities of the log chinking process.
By procedural means very similar to caulking, the goal of structural log chinking is to weatherproof log walls. The term “chink” is of Old English origin and related to the word “crack." To “chink” something essentially means to fill in a narrow space. The ingredients used in ancient log chinking construction often included dung, earth, hair, pine sap and rice. Although some restorative and traditional log chinking utilizes cement mortar, universal building code standards usually require polystyrene foam backing rods and flexible acrylic materials.
Log chinking in contemporary construction is sometimes used for dramatic aesthetic effect more than for weatherproofing. For many stately log homes and finer lodges, state-of-the-art technology in log joinery integrates automated moisture control systems with airtight, laser-guided precision. Nevertheless, DIY enthusiasts and traditional builders of unimproved log cabins appreciate and respect the significance of good log chinking.
Although the basics of log chinking call for no more experience than the ability to fill in a crack with mud, specific chemical compositions of modern products require special environmental attention. As a general rule, all log chinking materials require a great degree of pliability that cannot be achieved in freezing temperatures. Excessive precipitation during the application process, as from monsoons or other seasonal downpours, may likewise cause much aggravation. Mechanically pressurized delivery systems for dispensing modern acrylic sealants save a lot of time on large-scale production operations. However, minimal DIY requisites for smaller log cabins can suffice with as little as a bucket, rags and a few sticks.
Modern acrylic and foam substances for log chinking will almost certainly outlast all natural materials. Although it may seem absurd to compare the cost effectiveness of mud to polystyrene, factoring in the labor of high maintenance required for using most natural materials must be considered.
Log chinking material may cost nothing more than the time it takes for a wilderness DIY builder to obtain the material from nearby surroundings. However, most log home construction projects require lawful compliance with building codes and serious investment of capital. Nevertheless, log chinking for many is essential for superior energy efficiency and civilized comfort.
- “The Wilderness Cabin”; Calvin Rutstrum; 1972.
- Log Home Builders Association: Learn to Build a Log Home
- Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.: Chinking and Sealants for Log Homes
- Photo Credit log cabin resort image by Joy Prescott from Fotolia.com
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