You’ve decided to restore your logs but before you can apply the new stain you must remove the existing finish. There are several methods to remove the existing finish on your log home such as; chemical stripping, power washing, sand, glass, walnut shell and corn cob blasting. Each of these methods has both pros and cons. Although log home restoration professionals and coating manufacturers may have different views and opinions, in many situations the most popular choice is cob blasting. To help make your decision, you should understand the requirements needed for optimal stain performance.
Optimal Stain Performance
Having warm, dry, sound, textured and clean logs is the consensus from log home professionals for the best coating performance. Many failed finishes are a result of not following all five requirements.
Warm: Surface temperature generally between 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit
Dry: Moisture content of the wood below 20 percent
Sound: Free of decay and UV degradation
Textured: Enhances adhesion/increases amount of stain wood will take on
Clean: Logs free of dirt, pollen and mold
Positives of Corn Cob Blasting
Corn media is both non-toxic and biodegradable. This method prepares the log surface which is ideal for stain to achieve excellent penetration and adhesion. This method can be done at any temperature and removes up to 98% of any existing stain or paint off the logs. Logs are now clean, dry and textured. The original bare wood surface is ready to immediately accept a stain color of your choice with an end result of a new look.
A Corn Cob blasting machine uses high volume compressed air together with the ground up corn cob media. As the corn media is blasted through a long hose, the nozzle is moved back and forth as a bare layer of wood is exposed. The air pressure can be adjusted to remove only as much of the log surface necessary to remove the existing finish.
Since the bare wood is now exposed, it is the ideal condition for a borate treatment to penetrate into the logs. The borate will help prevent decay and repel most insects. After application, you will need to wait several days for your logs to completely dry. Keep in mind a textured surface takes on more stain than normal producing a darker look than advertised. However, the more stain that is absorbed, the more pigment and UV protection you will have and the longer your new finish will last. If you want to minimize this, lightly sand the logs and add a product such as After Blast by Perma Chink which helps to seal the logs allowing the stain to absorb more evenly.
Who Cob Blasts
Many log home restoration companies are now using this method to remove the existing finish from log homes. There are also “blasting” companies that will use corn cob media, just be sure they are trained and have experience working with wood surfaces. This requires much more than blowing corn media through a blaster. Proper training on the operation and technique is required. Depending on the type of wood and what coating you are removing, will determine the size nozzle, grit weight and distance the nozzle should be from the log surface.
Negatives of Corn Cob Blasting
Although Corn Cob Blasting achieves a positive result, there are a couple of negatives to keep in mind. The Corn Cob Grit can find its way into your home. This can be a nuisance as the media forms a “dusting” in parts of your home where the logs have broken seals. Also, light sanding may be required for those homeowners who prefer a smooth milled finish.
A Good Choice
When you decide to remove your existing log home finish, you may want to consider the widely used technique of Corn Cob Blasting. This method produces ideal conditions for stain performance which includes a dry, textured, and clean log. Once this process is complete, the bare wood is exposed ready to stain for the look of your choice. There are many reasons why Corn Cob blasting is a great way to remove a log home finish… start by choosing one that is environmentally friendly and have a blast!