The Rot Doctor


Subject: Our Log Home (borer holes)
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2003

Your website is so informational!

We moved into our log home 6 months ago and have been alerted to old and new old house borer holes. The previous owner painted the home with a solid stain (I call it paint!).
We called in a log home restoration professional and a home inspector.
The log person says that the log rot is from water and condensation getting into the logs via the insect exit holes. The inspector says that the log rot is caused by the paint.
Now...I would like your opinion.

Appreciative in advance,
The Britchers

Paint will not cause or promote rot. It actually serves to to give the wood protection. Paint will "breathe"...that is, it will allow moisture to pass through.

Water entering the log through insect holes is a more likely cause, although there are so many ways for water to get into a log (upward-facing cracks, joints, absorption through log ends, etc.) that it would be unrealistic to assign the cause entirely to the insect holes.

There are various chemistries that will stop insects and fungi and bacteria, which include the borates. However, none of these chemistries will remain in the wood indefinitely, and none of them will actually harden any soft wood. This is why we sell the CPES™ (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer™), which will basically stop the rot, harden the wood, and remain in/on the wood indefinitely. We strongly recommend that log home owners inspect the home exterior regularly and apply CPES™ into insect holes, upward facing cracks, or any area where soft wood can be detected. CPES™ may be expensive (difficult to manufacturer and handle -- HazMat classified), but it's permanent and it's a lot less expensive than replacing logs.

As to paints/stains, Consumers Report recently came out with an article on "deck stains" (which means wood stains, really), and they said the same thing we have been saying for years: The stains that work the best and last the longest are the highly pigmented stains. You might get a copy and take a look at what they have to say.

Hope this is some help, and feel free to come back if you have additional questions.