All across the United States, rustic and natural old log cabins stand as a tribute to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of woodworkers of the past. Many of these cabins have been loving preserved and maintained and are used as family homes today. However, many noble log structures have suffered neglect, termite infestation and decay. Salvaging an injured log structure is a work of love, patience and applied restoration techniques. Following basic guidelines, you can restore a damaged log home to its original glory.
Things You'll Need
- Replacement logs
- Chain saw
- Saber saw with metal-cutting blade
- Wrecking bar
- Log oil
Evaluate the condition of the structure. Look for evidence of insect infestation, rotted logs or timbers and foundation settling. Enlist the services of a log home restoration professional to determine if the home is salvageable, and to provide a cost analysis for the project. Many of the steps in disassembling and restoring the structure may require the services of a professional. However, much of the work can be accomplished by the experienced do-it-yourself homeowner.
Acquire suitable replacement logs from a log home builder that supplies the same log type as found in your log cabin or home. The majority of damage to older log homes is in bottom logs which have been exposed to excessive moisture from snow build-up or from moisture trapped against the logs by foundation shrub plantings.
Use a hammer and chisel to chip away rotted material until solid wood is evidenced. Treat the wood with wood preservative and fill in the area with wood epoxy, following the manufacturer's application instructions. This method will work on small areas of wood rot.
Remove logs that are rotted through by cutting out the damaged area with a saber saw equipped with a metal cutting blade. The blade will cut through nails, screws or wood spikes that may be holding the log in place. Repair any damaged areas on the adjoining logs. Cut a replace log to fit the space from which the damaged log was removed. Fit the replacement log and secure with steel plates.
Chink the log in place with a chinking material that matches the remainder of the chinking materials used on your log home.
If the entire base logs are rotted away, a professional log home restoration company can jack up the entire structure and remove the damaged logs. A new foundation can be built of timbers or logs. The new foundation may then be faced with stone or brick which will hide the "newness" and blend the repairs into the facade of the home.
Clean all the logs on the home with a pressure washer. If logs are severely stained with mold or mildew or UV damage is evident, the logs can be restored to their original luster by using a blaster, which uses walnut husks, ground corn cobs or sand under pressure to "blast" away the surface damage. You can rent log-blasting machines from home building supply stores, or you can enlist the services of a log home restoration professional. Reseal the logs with a petroleum-based log oil.
Tips & Warnings
- Wear a hard hat, ear and eye protection throughout the restoration process. Apply all safety procedures when using power tools.
- Photo Credit The window and rock chimney of and old log cabin. image by dvest from Fotolia.com
About Companies Looking for Lumber
Reclaimed wood from old farm buildings and other structures can be used to build gorgeous new homes, flooring and furniture. Several companies...
How to Build a Log Jack
A log jack is a manual log-handling tool that lifts a log off the ground so it can be split or crosscut...
How to Salvage Old Barn Wood
Old barns abandoned long ago dot the landscapes across America. The wood looks weathered and of little use, but people discover the...
How to Restore Log Cabins
Time, weather and lack of care can diminish the appearance and value of a log home. If logs are beginning to dry...
How to Replace a Log in a Log Cabin
Log cabins and homes have a certain rustic appearance that many people appreciate but often have poor construction that can leave the...
Do it Yourself: Log Home Repair
Yearly inspection of your log home is essential to maintain its beauty and structural integrity. Regular maintenance will avoid costly repairs later...
How to Dismantle a House
Dismantling a house allows the recovery of some of the building materials used in the original construction. Dismantling, sometimes called deconstruction, largely...
How to Build a One-Room Rustic Cabin
City-dwellers can use a one-room rustic cabin for a weekend getaway or for an extended camping trip in the woods. The advantages...
How to Level a House With Jacks
If your house is sagging or uneven due to sinking foundations then you can use a jack to raise the house back...