Keeping your log cabin in tip-top condition is essential to maintaining both its curb appeal and structural integrity. While the interior of your cabin may be the main focus of your cleaning efforts, the exterior is just as important. Depending on the type of log cabin you have, there are a few different methods you can use if you want to know how to clean log cabin exterior walls.
Log Cabin Exterior Wall Types
We want to start by saying that not all log cabin exterior walls are created equal. The type of logs used to construct your cabin will have a big impact on how you should go about cleaning them. In general, there are three different types of log cabin exterior walls:
- Painted Logs
- Stained Logs
- Logs with a Natural Finish
While each type of log will require a slightly different cleaning approach, there are some general tips that apply to all three that we’ll cover in this post.
If you’re unsure which type of finish your logs have, the best way to find out is to consult with the manufacturer or the person who originally installed them. It may also be covered in a homeowners pack if you have one.
Alternatively, speak to your log home contractor who will be able to advise on what to do.
Equipment Needed To Clean Log Cabin Exterior Walls
Before you can get started cleaning your log cabin exterior walls, you’ll need to gather the right supplies. Depending on the type of finish on your logs, you may need some or all of the following items:
- A pressure washer
- A ladder
- A garden hose
- A bucket
- Soft rags or a sponge
- Wood filler
- Wood treatment
This is just a basic list of supplies but an essential one. You may need additional items depending on the condition of your logs and the type of finish they have.
A note on pressure washers – we recommend using a pressure washer with care. If you use too much pressure, you could damage your logs. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when using power washing equipment.
The CRAFTSMAN Compact 1700 PSI Pressure Washer is a great choice for anyone looking for a quality pressure washer that’s suitable for cleaning your log cabin exterior walls as well as other household tasks.
Prepping The Log Cabin Wall To Be Cleaned
Next comes the task of prepping the log cabin exterior walls for cleaning. This step is important regardless of the type of finish your logs have.
To prep your walls, you’ll need to remove any loose dirt, cobwebs and any other build-up like moss on your log cabin exterior walls using a brush. These dry, loose materials can also easily be blown away with a leaf blower. You’ll also need to get any dirt around log cabin shutters and doors.
Once you’ve removed the dry build-up, it’s time to focus on the tougher stains. If there are any mildew, mould or algae growths on your logs, mix up a solution of one part bleach to three parts water and apply it.
Don’t forget to clean any eaves, overhangs, and rooflines as these areas can be easily missed.
Then, check your gutters for build-ups. This might sound weird as we’re talking about walls but gutters play an important role in how well your log cabin exterior walls function. Clogged gutters can lead to leaks which, over time, can cause damage to your logs. So, it’s important to keep them clear.
If you don’t already have one, we recommend installing a gutter guard system to help reduce the amount of build-up in your gutters and make cleaning them a breeze.
A Note On Log Cabin Exterior Wall Maintenance
Prepping your log cabin walls for cleaning also provides a great opportunity to carry out some routine log cabin maintenance and spot any signs that your log cabin exterior walls need some extra TLC. For example, split logs and gaps in caulking should be repaired before you start cleaning.
We’ve written a great post on sealing log cabins that covers all the basics of log cabin exterior maintenance.
How To Clean Painted Log Cabin Exterior Walls
If your log cabin exterior walls are painted, you’ll be pleased to know that they’re the easiest type of wall to clean. A power washer is all you need to remove any dirt, grime or mildew that’s accumulated on the surface.
Start by using a low-pressure setting and working your way up if needed. Be careful not to use too much pressure as this can damage the paint job. Once you’ve finished cleaning, allow the logs to dry completely before applying any wood treatment or filler.
How To Clean Stained Log Cabin Exterior Walls
Stained log cabin exterior walls require a little more care than painted ones. You’ll need to be careful not to damage the stain as you clean.
The best way to clean stained log cabin exterior walls is to use a power washer set to a low-pressure setting and equipped with a soft-bristle brush attachment. Start from the bottom and work your way up, being careful not to use too much pressure.
Again, wood filler and caulking can be used to repair any cracks or gaps in the logs. Once you’ve finished cleaning, allow the logs to dry completely before applying any wood treatment.
How To Clean Log Cabin Exterior Walls with a Natural Finish
Logs with a natural finish are the most delicate type of log cabin exterior wall and require the utmost care when cleaning. The best way to clean these types of walls is to use a soft rag or sponge and a solution of mild soap and water.
Dip the rag or sponge into the soapy water and wipe down the logs, being careful not to scrub too hard. Once you’ve finished cleaning, rinse the logs with clean water to remove any soap residue. Allow the logs to dry completely before applying any wood treatment or filler.
Applying Wood Treatment and Filler
Once your log cabin exterior walls are clean and dry, you may want to apply a wood treatment or filler to protect them from the elements. This is especially important if your cabin is located in an area with a lot of sun or rain.
There are a variety of wood treatments and fillers on the market, so be sure to choose one that’s right for the type of finish on your logs. Follow the instructions on the product label carefully to ensure the best results.
With proper care and cleaning, your log cabin exterior walls will stay looking great for years to come!
How To Clean Log Cabin Exterior Walls: Key Takeaways
So, there you have it. Our guide on how to clean log cabin exterior walls. We hope you found it helpful! The key takeaways from this post are that putting the time into prepping your walls before cleaning (checking for any damage, removing debris, etc.) is important and that using the right cleaning method and products for your particular type of log cabin exterior wall is essential.
Take a look at this fantastic video that details the cleaning and staining of log cabin exterior walls!