How to Stain Log Cabin Siding

What You'll Need
Bleach or wood cleaner
Pressure washer (500 psi)
Wide-edge paint brush
Latex caulk
Caulk gun
Utility knife
Putty knife

To preserve the rustic appearance of your log cabin siding you will normally need to re-stain it each 3 to 4 year time period. This staining, except for your needing to also caulk this type of siding, is simple for the average homeowner to do. Just follow the directions below, including materials and tools you should use.

Step 1 – Applying Cleaner to Your Siding

Use a bleach or wood cleaner to apply to your log siding before applying stain. Following the directions from the manufacturer that you'll find on your product. Typically, you should apply the cleaner by spraying it on and using a sponge to work the cleaner into the wood. Using a wood cleaner or bleach, in addition to cleaning your log siding, will also create better porosity in your log surfaces, as well as conditioning them to better accept the stain you will apply after your cleaning.

Step 2 – Using a Pressure Washer

When using a pressure washer to apply your cleaner, be sure you limit the washer's pressure to 500 psa. A greater pressure can damage the siding. Use of a pressure washer will give you greater assurance of a thorough rinsing off of the wood cleaner, in addition to more efficiently removing mildew and stains that older homes acquire from water running down the siding. Also, it will give you a cleaner surface on which to apply your new stain. But, in using a pressure washer, be sure to test it before fully applying the cleaner. Begin your test by holding the nozzle about 24 inches from the siding while it is spraying. To make it a more effective cleaner, try moving the nozzle gradually closer to the siding. However, to avoid possible damage, never hold it closer to the wall surface than 12 inches.

Step 3 – Mixing Your Stain

In addition to your initial mixing of the stain to mix color pigment that has a tendency to remain at the bottom of its container, stop periodically in your application and routinely mix it.

Step 4 – Applying the First Stain Coat

Using a wide edge paint brush, begin applying the stain to the surface that is higher up on the cabin wall. To avoid making lines that overlap, Apply the stain to a few logs at one time—usually two or three logs. Apply in longer strokes. Work slowly to avoid splattering the stain. Keep edges wet.

Step 5 – Caulking Gaps and Holes

In staining older homes, examine areas such as windows and door around which you may have gaps and holes. Using a putty knife, clean out any older caulking that is cracked. Then, apply new caulking and give it time to dry before applying a second coat of stain.

Step 6 – Applying a Second Stain Coat

When the first stain coat and all freshly applied caulking has dried, apply a second stain coat to add longer protection. Use the same application technique as in Step 4 above.