Log cabins have a rustic and cozy quality, which is why they're commonly used for vacation destinations and camping sites. However, you can have the general appearance of logs without the logs. Vinyl siding is highly adaptable, but making it look like the wood of a log cabin requires a little effort.
Things You'll Need
Liquid dish soap
Brown and black exterior latex paint with urethane
Paintbrush (standard size and a thin detail version)
Clean the siding by spraying it down with a hose and then scrubbing it with a soft brush dipped in hot water and several drops of liquid dish soap. This removes dirt and dust and improves your siding's appearance. Wait for the siding to dry before continuing.
Apply a primer to the siding with a paint sprayer to allow you to paint over the existing color more effectively. Apply a second coat after the first coat dries for best results.
Paint the siding a dark brown using a paint brush and an exterior latex paint with urethane. Coat each board of siding lengthwise so the brush strokes resemble wood grain. The sprayer doesn't give you this option. Use two coats for a thicker and more durable finish.
Detail the siding to resemble logs by painting on wood knots and imperfections using a darker brown or black paint and a thin detail brush. A small amount of green here and there helps to simulate the mold that sometimes forms on logs.
A vinyl log siding is available that gives the siding the shape of the logs as well as the color and texture, if you don't mind replacing your existing siding. It attaches in much the same way as your previous siding did.
Vinyl siding retains heat and painting it a darker color can cause it to overheat and warp in warmer climates. If you live in a warm spot and want the appearance of a log cabin, consider replacing the existing panels with vinyl log siding that is designed not to overheat. Do not pressure-wash vinyl siding when cleaning it. This forces water under and behind the panels and leads to maintenance problems.