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Best Wood Stains for a Log Cabin

Log Cabin Stain

Log Cabin Stain

Best Exterior Wood Stains for a Log Cabin and Wood Framed Homes

There is no doubt that a log cabin is a thing of beauty in most any type of landscape. To keep a log cabin looking good and lasting for many years, maintenance is key. Log cabins can be very high maintenance and homeowners know all to well the tedious task of keeping it in good condition.Like any other wood structure, a log cabin needs to have a protective finish. This keeps water and UV damage from rotting the logs and causing damage to the structure. Determining the best wood stain for a log cabin takes many factors into account. Texture of the wood, age, log moisture content, and climate are just a few. So while there may be many wood stains best for a log cabin there are a few that stand out.

Considering that most log cabins are constructed with rough textured porous wood that eliminates using any type of stain made for dense smooth woods. A wood stain that is uniquely designed for rough sawn and porous wood is ideal.

Wood stains such as TWP 1500 Series and Defy Epoxy are two good examples of log cabin stains. These penetrating stains help prevent the damage caused by water, fungi, and UV radiation. They will allow the natural beauty of the wood to show through while providing maximum protection.

For extra dry logs a stain like Armstrong Oil Based Stain can be a great choice. In addition to enhanced beauty and weather protection, Armstrong utilizes nondrying conditioning oils to replace the wood’s natural oils that have since evaporated. The nondrying oils separate from the drying side of the formula that remain at the surface to lock in the conditioning oils providing a dry to the touch barrier.

Try to stay away from wood stains designed for smooth hardwoods and also film forming or acrylic based stains. These types of stains are not best used on the rough sawn cut texture of log cabins and can cause a whole host of problems.

If you Have Questions on Staining Your Home, Please Ask Below


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32 responses to “Best Wood Stains for a Log Cabin”

  1. Tennessee Cedar says:

    I do not have a log home but I am about to install a considerable amount of number 1 red cedar board and batten. I live in Tennessee so humidity is definitely a problem. I was looking at the Olympic oil Elite stain at Lowes but found your website and did not see a review of this stain. The wood looks beautiful and I want to preserve the natural look for as long as possible. What do you recommend?

  2. Sandy W. says:

    Love this website. We are building a cabin in Idaho using pine log siding. Just wondering exactly how to prep the wood. It was installed last October. I am planning on using your top rated prep and brightner. Would I just spray that on or do I have to scrub it with a brush like you would a deck?

  3. M.S. says:

    we are looking for stain for new log siding ( Wisconsin area). Found the TWP 100 brand locally in MN, would that be okay to use or is the 1500 series better?. It is Rough cut not smooth log.

  4. JackY says:

    I've been doing my homework on the internet preparing to strip and stain my cabin. I ordered up a sample of the TWP 1500 series dark oak and absolutely love the color. I've been talking to a few paint/stain professionals and I'm concerned about the color years down the road. After a couple of initial coats, does the "maintenance" coat every 4-5 years down the road darken the color with each application. I don't want my cabin to eventually look black. Thanx for your time!

    • TWP does not turn black through the years. It fades through the years so when adding more product it basically revives the color.

    • Yvonne Harris says:

      I noticed that you said "strip and stain". If you are doing the exterior sanding is the best method. You get down to the original wood and when restaining it looks like brand new. You will love it . A bit labor intensive but well worth it. AND….much cheaper than paying for stripper.

  5. John Campbell says:

    I own a log home that was previously stained with a solid stain and I want to stain it again. Two questions:
    1. I assume that additional staining must be with a solid stain?
    2. What are the best stains for an additional coat(s)?

  6. Dara says:

    I stained my cedar shingles with the Cabot 3000 natural stain in 2000 but am now in a low VOC state. Is there a recommended product to restain these shingles?

  7. mike says:

    Hi I am about to install pine log siding on my house it is rough cut what would you recommend to prepare siding and what stain to use

  8. Be the one says:

    Love this website. We are building a cabin in Idaho using pine log siding. Just wondering exactly how to prep the wood. It was installed last October. I am planning on using your top rated prep and brightner. Would I just spray that on or do I have to scrub it with a brush like you would a deck?

  9. Be the one says:

    For extra dry logs a stain like Armstrong Oil Based Stain can be a great choice. In addition to enhanced beauty and weather protection, Armstrong utilizes nondrying conditioning oils to replace the wood’s natural oils that have since evaporated.

  10. Isy Scarola says:

    I have a log sided cabin. that was last treated wit CWF UV 20 years ago. It has turned grey and dark over the years, it still looks good. but the carpenter bees are drilling into it causing the wood peckers to go and chop up my siding to get to them. I have filled the damaged areas, and I need to re stain it to seal it. I am told by all that have log sided buildings that the stain will keep bees and other insects out. I want to stain it dark so that the various shades will sort of blend as well as the filled areas. I want to use the best possible epoxy stain available. I need a really good suggestion on this. Thanks Isy Scarola

    • Wood or log stains will not keep the bees out. There are additives that you can add that may help with this. Big Juice is one we have used. If you used wood filler on the holes, it will not blend when using the wood stain. Meaning the wood filler does not \”stain\” to match the wood stain. It will continue to look white in color after applying the wood stain. Not sure what you mean about epoxy as wood stains and log stains are not epoxy based. A dark colored stain will help to blend the imperfections of the wood but not the wood filler. Make sure to prep well. Clean and brighten the wood while pressure washing. We would suggest the Armstrong Clark in Oxford Brown or the TWP 1503 Dark Oak.

  11. jay Rodabaugh says:

    I have a pine log home that I sanded down 10 years ago and stained with Wolmans redwood stain. It seems to need a new application every year. We live in upstate NY high up on top of a hill with no trees to stop the sun or winters wind. What do you suggest?

  12. Paula says:

    I have Ash log siding and unfortunately I pressure washed one side and now I can't find the stain I used before. I have repeatedly tried to contact the company hoping they would have it on record, to no avail.
    Can I stain over the existing stain with a color close to what I have? I'm doing this myself as I cannot afford to hire a professional.
    I could really use some advice. I am at my wits end as what to do.

  13. Be the one says:

    In addition to enhanced beauty and weather protection, Armstrong utilizes nondrying conditioning oils to replace the wood’s natural oils that have since evaporated. The nondrying oils separate from the drying side of the formula that remain at the surface to lock in the conditioning oils providing a dry to the touch barrier.

  14. Marc says:

    Hi there,

    Thank you for this website. So i have torrefied poplar on the front of my house that started to worn out. Since the wood is torrefied, will the stain like armstrong semi-solid will be effective?

    For this project.
    1 sand to remove the old stain
    2. Wash and brighten with restore a deck kit. Then pressure wash and let dry 24-48 hours
    3. Apply Armstrong semi solid

    I live in Montreal Canada and its full sun

    Im worried because the wood is torrefied

    Thank you

  15. Steve Sands says:

    I would like to install hand-hewed, white pine, 1" x 12" siding on my new stick-built cabin in East Tennessee. After spending hours researching stains, I am more confused than when I started. What is the best, two application, semi-trasparent product on the market today that has the longest "life-span" ? Thanks,
    Steve S.

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*This is first and foremost a help site from our experience as wood restoration contractors. All stain and prepping manufacturer directions were followed with our reviews and ratings. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.

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