Causes of Interior Water Stains
Water stains are the result of water contacting unprotected log surfaces. Before you begin to remove the stains on your interior log wall, you need to determine where the water originated. This may have occurred during the building process, gaps between the log courses due to settling or broken gaskets / caulking that have failed. Water stains can also be the result of a previous plumbing problem or just windows left open repeatedly allowing water to enter. Once you are certain the situation has been corrected, you can begin to repair the water marks.
Repairing Water Stains on Interior Log Walls
There are several methods used to remove water stains from an interior log wall. The best method may depend on the depth and severity of the staining. If they were caused during the building process and the staining is severe, you may want to consider hiring a log home professional to have the walls media blasted with corn cob, glass or walnut shells. Although this can be messy and will involve removing all objects from inside the room, it is very effective. Most log professionals will do their best to seal the area and help minimize dust from traveling into other areas of the home.
Usually water stains are in a more confined area and not too severe. If you decide to tackle the project yourself, start by using regular sand paper (fine to medium grit, depending on the log species) and a traditional palm sander. Begin sanding at the edge of the water mark. If they can not be easily removed it may be necessary to use an orbital sander or belt sander. Concentrate on blending the darker edges. It takes patience and care to remove the water stained area without removing too much of the log fibers. You can easily damage your log wall creating an uneven and undesirable look. You may be able to achieve good results by sanding the water stained area only and applying a pigmented stain. However for best results, once the water mark has been removed, lightly sand the entire log wall to allow for even absorption of stain and avoid color variations.
Staining Interior Log Walls
Interior log walls are exposed to areas of indirect or direct UV rays through skylights, windows and doors. Even if your interior log wall was not previous stained, chances are that over time the characteristic of the log wall will appear different.
Most log home coatings companies have developed products designed specifically for interior log walls. These products are typically water based and available in different finishes. Depending on your personal preference, you can choose a clear (non-yellowing) finish in a gloss or satin. If you prefer a pigmented stain, most offer different shades. Whether you are trying to match an existing log wall or deciding what color would best blend with your existing finish, most manufacturers are happy to mail color samples of their products. Applying a finish to interior walls will not only offer protection but also make cleaning the log surface easier.
In most situations water stains can be effectively removed without leaving obvious signs of water damage however, there are no quick and easy solutions. Your patience will pay off once you expose the new bright wood fibers just beneath the surface.