The Rot Doctor


Subject: log home question
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999

Hi Doc

My name is Bob, and I am a log home chinker. I have a question.

I am down in Texas working on a new log house that was poorly designed for this climate. Their biggest problem is that they have a large deck with lots of logs, both for support and as part of the railing. The rails themselves are smaller logs. I have seen decks of this design totally rot in 3 years in this climate. Not a very good cost/life ratio if you ask me.

Unfortunately, the wood already has an oil based stain/finish on it. I don't know what brand. But with all the usual checks (it's lodgepole pine) and the fact that all the logs are vertical with exposed end-grain pointed up, I am wondering if it is possible to apply your material to prevent rot?

Your products look interesting. If they can be used to prevent rot as an economical alternative to tearing out $25-30,000 dollars worth of wood, that will be great. If not, maybe in a few years...

Anyway, let me know.

Thank You.

Bob H.


I do understand your questions, and your concern.

Oil based stains do inhibit the penetration of epoxies, but they do not prevent the penetration. In any case, over time the stain/oil oxidizes away and you are back to bare wood. The other thing about stains is that they are generally pretty much just slapped on and their penetration into crevices and cracks is limited.

In any case, rot rarely starts on the surface of wood. It almost always begins at joints, cracks, crevices, and in log homes on the end-grain areas. These are what need the protection. If it were my house I would seriously consider using our CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer) as preventive measure. Rot fungi and bacteria will not eat wood that has been epoxy-soaked. Further, by applying the CPES you are in effect getting at hidden rot that is not yet visible. The CPES goes where the water goes, and the rot fungi need the moisture to survive.

CPES should be applied in dry weather. The drier the wood the better the penetration. Then when the water comes back it is leaking in on epoxy-saturated wood, and there's no home there for the critters that eat wood. As much CPES should be applied as the wood will accept, and on end-grain in dry weather this can be a considerable amount. Sometimes homeowners complain that it is taking so much expensive epoxy, but they have to remember that where the epoxy goes the wood is highly resistant to future decay. Other substances that prevent rot -- the borates and CCA -- leach out over time if exposed to water.

Hope this has been of some help. Come back if you have additional questions.