What is the best stain for my Log Home?

This is one of the most common questions I get. After all, wouldn’t everyone like to have that magic answer so they wouldn’t have the hassle of maintenance, the frustration of failing stain, the anxiety of wondering if they made a good decision or not?


Unfortunately, you probably already know that there is not just one simple answer to something like this. However, we can help you make a good decision for YOUR house.

Here are a few things to consider about your home and your personality, and then we’ll get to the stain.


1.) First, what do you want your log home to look like?

2.) Do you like a highly finished, high gloss, very protected look, like what you see in lots of log home magazines?

3.) Do you prefer a more “natural” look for your log home, with no or little sheen to the stain?

4.) Are you very commited to having annual maintenance done every year to keep the stain clean?


Penetrating stain on deck

This is a penetrating stain being applied to a deck surface.

A lot of people just swoon at the log homes in popular log home magazines, with the high gloss furniture type finish. Be careful, here, because while these stains look great, they are also the easiest to mess up with bad application and wrong maintenance! Isn’t that always how things work, though? If you don’t mind annual maintenance, and having either a clear coat or stain coat applied every 2-3 years on at least part of the house, you can safely use this type of stain.



If you commonly don’t follow through on all your ideas of home maintenance, like about 98% of the people I know, you might want to be careful of this type of stain. Film formers really are tough to fix when they are let go and start to fail. If you live in Ellijay or North Georgia, the really humid climate here during the summer really seems to take a toll on film forming stains.

Film forming stain

This cabin has film forming oil based stain on it.

If they get mold or mildew in, or behind the stain, they will need to be removed with abrasive blasting so that the mildew and mold can be removed. If the mold isn’t removed or killed, it will continue to grow behind what ever stain is applied on top of it. It will lead to the stain failing early with peeling, cracking, or flaking where the mold loosens it from the wood.


On the other hand, while some people might not like the “natural” look as much, non film forming stains can be easier to apply, easier to maintain, and look better at the 5 or 10 year mark.



So you can see from this post that the main difference in log home stains is whether or not the stain is a film former, or a penetrating stain. This is the single biggest difference in how stains look, apply, and endure. Which one should you have on your home?


I’ll answer this question more deeply in further posts. If you have a specific question for me, feel free to email me directly at rich@bearcreekloghomerestoration.com, and I’ll address it here.


If you are looking for a log home restoration company in the Ellijay, GA area, please call us today at 706-698-BEAR or complete our online request form.