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Home Improvement--General/Installing vinyl sideing on log home


We are owners of a log home, the first story is log (white pine 8"round tug and grove)and second story is stucko board. When we bought the home we were unaware that the previous owner had painted the logs with latex paint and sealed all log checks with silicone. This led to the rot of some of the logs. The rot was mostly on the north side of the home and log ends although I just found another log rotted on the south side and it happens to be the top log of the structure.
We had the north wall repaired, the contractor plained the logs down and installed furing strips and hard insulation. Then he installed wood log sideing. Now I'm thinking it best to just vinyl side the entire home to try to protect what is left of the home. What would be your take on this?
Thank you

Hi Jim,

I can only address the issues and options, the decision, I would hope, can only be made by you after considering these issues and options.

The first issue I would want to investigate is what is causing the rot to occur.  Obviously, if you can clearly identify the cause of the rot and can correct it the future of the log home would be far more predictable.

Depending on where the house is, how old it is, what species it is and how well it has been maintained, rot on a North wall is more likely because it is often the side that doesn't get much sun and faces the most severe adverse winter weather exposure.  Rot is not often associated with logs near the top of the wall and my first thought is something is wrong with the construction to allow that to happen.  Generally, the West and South facing walls are subject to the most weather related deterioration.  Checking of the logs (cracks that develop longitudinally along the length of the log) results from exposure to weather over time and can be especially severe if the exterior finish is not maintained properly.

Checking, in turn, allows water, snow and ice to accumulate resulting in a slow but steady deterioration of the logs.  Again, proper maintenance of the exterior finish does significantly prevent this deterioration.  For example, I am working with three customers right now, two of whom are requesting normal periodic maintenance; one is West of Nashville, TN and was built in 1988, is Western hemlock and has been meticulously maintained by the owner and looks like it was built yesterday; another is near the Eastern most tip of TN at the foot hills of the Appalachian Mts., built in 1981, is white pine and has been well maintained and this is the third time we have provided the owner with normal period maintenance since the house was built and, although it shows its 34 yr age, it is cosmetically acceptable; and, the third was built in the 1940s, in upstate NY, is Northern white cedar, has had reasonable maintenance but has some inherent flaws which need to be addressed to keep it from deteriorating, but the logs look fine and are generally sound and cosmetically acceptable.  So, the bottom line is they can last a long time and perform well if they are taken care of.

We have seen over the years a number of log homes that have been modified by cladding them in some form of siding, generally, to lessen the cost and hassle of doing periodic maintenance.  However, the cost of doing a quality siding job on a log home is fairly significant and no matter what siding is used it is not maintenance free either.  Your decision should consider the cost and hassle of arresting the deterioration because it won't stop just because you have covered the logs with siding and the future cost of periodic maintenance versus the cost of applying siding after you address arresting the deterioration.

Our experience with log home owners is that they have a love affair with their log home; if you fit that bill you need to consider how covering the exterior would affect that issue, if it exists.  Obviously, you still have the interior effect of living in a log home.

I would weigh my desire to live in an uncompromised wood or log home before I decided to cover it up. Second, I would weigh the cost of maintenance over the long term versus the cost of applying siding and maintaining it.  But, before embarking on those considerations I would want to conclusively determine what is causing the deterioration and can it be corrected and at what cost.  After 30 yrs and still counting, after completing over 3,000 log home projects world wide and over 650 restoration in the U.S. I am steeped in log home living, but I have made decisions concerning my own 23 yr. old home relating to maintenance and have compromised on some of the attributes that attract people to log home living that prevent deterioration and extend the time between periodic maintenance.  Good luck, if I can help you in any way don't hesitate to call.

Len Kroll
Wood House Log Homes LLC

Home Improvement--General

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Len Kroll


I can provide advice on the proper design, construction, maintenance, restoration, preservation, cleaning and waterproofing of log homes. Questions concerning proper cleaning, sealing, staining and waterproofing are within my area of expertise. My expertise includes new construction and existing log structures. Chinking application or restoration, log replacement and repair are also in my area of expertise.


40 years experience in the log home and construction industries, 10 years in specialty contracting, 30 years in the log home field. We have designed, produced, supplied and built over 3,000 log homes and restored/repaired over 600 log homes. See more information at our web site:

Authored a monthly column expressing the Vice President and General Manager's "Observations and Insights" distributed to 300 employees and management.

BS degree in accounting, University of Illinois, 1963. Master of Business Administration degree, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Numerous relevant seminars including an intense two week business administration seminar, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, 1978. National Home Builders Association Graduate Builders education program.

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society Student, Illinois State Academic Scholarship, Dean's List.

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References on request

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