What is log home chinking? Why should one use chinking in a log home?
Log home chinking is the material that is used between horizontal logs to seal the space that exists between them. The space or gap between the logs is called chinks and the material used to fill these gaps is called chinking or caulking.
Log home chinking during the colonial times was made of materials such as sticks, horsehair, moss, stones, grass, paper, wood, clay, sand and mud.
Today, more sophisticated homes are sealed with mortar or caulking between the wood. Over time, when the logs settle and the mortar falls out, this becomes a major problem for your home and your comfort.
Log home chinking or caulking stops drafts and moisture infiltration and the payoff will be savings on your heating costs and there will be some movement between your logs that is possible.
Without chinking, your log home would be drafty and cold. Bugs and mosquitoes could get inside your home and it would be a lot more dusty!
Today, you should find synthetic flexible chinking for your home and this material is pliant and elastic. You can find chinking in a variety of colors to match or contrast with your other materials in your home.
Many of the handcrafted log homes or cabins not built in a scribe-fit style are referred to as chinkers or chink style log homes.
Several milled manufacturers also offer packages that require chinking. For example, the Swedish cope will require only a couple of thin beads of caulking applied with a caulking gun.
On the other hand, some handcrafted log homes may have 4" spaces between the logs, thus requiring much more chinking. The amount of caulking or chinking that you need depends on the amount of space there is between the wood.
Some of these synthetic compounds are more elastic and durable than others. These materials are a big improvement over the materials used earlier. Make sure you check the warranty of the log home chinking product you are using.
When preparing for chinking, you must have a clean working surface and proper backing material. The backing material must allow you to apply chinking to the proper width and depth.
There are several choices of permanent type chinking. One solution is to nail 6" wide strips of wire mesh to the logs and fill the gap with a regular cement-sand mix.
Another solution is to purchase a manufactured elastic log home chinking material called Log Jam by SASHCO. This product expands and contracts 100% and can span gaps up to 2" wide.
You can find this product in 5 gallon containers or regular caulking tubes which require a bulk caulking gun and this product can safely be used for sealing large joints.
You will also need plastic foam backer rods, which come in 1/4" to 2" diameter sizes to place between the logs before applying the caulking material.
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