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4 Situations to choose hand grinding over alternatives

Our Team at BC Log Finishers (BC Log Homes) has used all the most effective methods to strip, stain, and restore log homes.

I have found that in the log restoration industry, companies have a preferred method of restoration when it comes to stripping old or failed stain in preparation for staining.

Just because a "Log Expert" recommends one method it does not necessarily mean that it is the correct one. Some companies are biased because of a significant investment in one method over another. Their staff might not be trained in all methods or the company might not be familiar of all the options.

You need to ensure you understand when you should listen to the "expert" or when you should be looking elsewhere.

The most common methods would be: 1. Media or Glass Blasting 2. Hand Grinding 3. Strippers

More on choosing the best method of stripper for your log home in our other posts.

Here are the 4 reasons to choose hand grinding over other common methods.

1. Rot or Damaged wood

2. Old Oil Stain

3. Softwood

4. Existing Stain in the covered area is intact.

1. When you have rot, soft or damaged wood.

It is common to have a log home where the stain failed years ago and the wood has been sunburned generally in a dry climate. The wood will be black and the first number of layers is extremely soft. In wet climates, the failed stain has left the wood exposed and the wood is soft due to rot. In both cases, you do not want to have someone "Media or Glass Blast" your home otherwise you will get a horrible and rough finish. You will want to have it hand ground and followed up with a buffer to endure that you have a premium finish. The grinder will get through the soft layers and often times make you pre-stained house better than when it was new.

I have seen a log home that had one side burned from a fire. They hired a company to come in and fix it. The company blasted the house and then stained it. The finished look was so bad the Home Owner needed it done from scratch again.

2. Old Oil Stains

Antiquated options for protecting your log home sometimes include staining your home with an oil stain that sinks deep into the wood and can be very difficult to draw out of the woods. In this case, using a stripper that draws the stain out might work. In difficult cases, you might have to follow this up with hand grinding. Media blasting will not generally get deep enough to fix this problem.

3. Soft Wood

Fir is one of the more common species that were used to build log homes, especially over the last 30 years. It has been more and more common to use some of the softer woods such as pine (denim pine) or spruce as fir has become more difficult to find premium fir. With some of the softer wood species, you can consider media blasting as a method but you should have a small area tested first. Media can be hard on the wood and the result can leave your log home looking muddled. It is sometimes necessary to follow up with a buffer to gain a premium finish. 4. If existing stain in the covered area is intact.

I am not trying to be negative about media blasting as we use this method often but rather giving information so that homeowners can make educated decisions.

That being said, in the case that you have a covered area where the stain has not failed but you need to have it removed along with the stain on sides of the house that have failed, you will want to consider hand grinding or media blasting. It can be difficult and costly to try to use strippers on certain stains. If you consider this option, make sure you test the stripper in a discrete area on the most difficult stain.

Contact the BC Log Finishers Team for more information or advise on best practices.

We operate all over the Province including Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, Interior BC, Okanagan, Northen BC & Kootenays and more.

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