GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

Recommendations for re-coating log cabin

mikeysp | Posted in General Questions on

Can anyone offer advice on how we can recoat a log cabin? It is one of those kit cabins in zone 4a. It is 15 years old. 

My friend owns it. It needs some care on the finish. He called for some quotes and the options he was offered included sand blasting it (using walnut shells rather than sand) and refinishing it on the high $ end and just spraying a coating over the previous coating on the budget end. Both options were very expensive; so, he is thinking to DIY spray over the old finish to buy himself some years of use and protection on a budget.

Any advice is welcome on how he/we can proceed.

Thank you.


GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. natesc | | #1

    Prep work will depend on what was put on there 15 years ago. If it was a penetrating stain, and is just fading away, you can likely just spray a mild bleach solution on there and then recoat with a new penetrating stain.

    Not enough bleach and it won't lighten the dark mold spots, too much bleach and it will degrade the wood making it fuzzy. "30 seconds" brand is a premix you hook up to a hose, works well.

    Water based stains are a nightmare, as they just sit on the surface and then peel off over time. This would require mechanical cleaning (blasting, sanding)

    Spraying on a penetrating stain is a no-no. You need to apply with a brush to really give maximum absorption. You coat, and within a couple minutes recoat, and you basically keep going over it until the logs will not accept any more stain, then watch for drips. They call that "wet on wet."

    I am a big fan of TWP stain. It is easily maintainable which also means high likelihood of taking care of it in the long term.

    Staining really isn't a bad job as long as you don't mind being on a ladder all day. Way better than painting because you don't have to be meticulous.

    1. mikeysp | | #2

      Nathan, since it is 3 story house, we will rent a 4wd lift to make it go easier.

      Hmm, how do I proceed since I do not know what was on it in the past? How do I tell which since it matters?

      Thank you.


      1. natesc | | #3

        It would be a judgment call. If the paint/stain is "sitting on top" of the wood, it is probably water based.

        Something else you could do, bleach a small area and apply your new stain. See if it soaks in well, if you have time wait a couple months see that it is performing appropriately. Ideally do it in an area that gets hammered by the sun and rain.

        Not trying to sell you on TWP but this guy gives the best overview of staining that I have seen summarized.

        Last thing, I am not a professional painter. I just made sure I knew enough to do it right when I was building my house.

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |