Preserving Your Log Home: Understanding Borate Treatments
There are many aspects to Log Home Restoration. Stains, sealers, caulking and chinking are all related to the preservation of your log home. Stains and sealers cover the surface of the logs and other wood to form a barrier from the harsh elements of rain, wind and UV damage. Caulking is used to make the home weather tight by filling gaps, checks, butt joints, window and door trim. Chinking is used to fill the large spaces between the logs themselves. All of these products are used in your log home restoration as a means to help preserve the wood from the elements.
Another means of log home preservation is applying a “Borate” treatment to the wood. This method of preservation not only protects the wood from weather related issues, but also fungal decay and probably more importantly, it is an excellent insecticide. Borate combined with zinc is also used as a flame retardant
Little known to most log home owners, “Borate” is one of the most effective means of persevering the log home.
Borate is a chemical compound that contains Boron, a mixture of inorganic salts and other minerals. Mined from the earth, Borate comes in a crystallized / powder form. While it can be used as a dust for treating cracks and crevices, mixed with water, it is applied to larger areas by spray or brushing.
Borate has the ability to diffuse into the wood to various depths depending on the density of the wood and moisture content. While dry wood will accept more Borate, it will penetrate deeper into wet wood and in general, with soft woods, this can be as much as a half inch. It must be applied to bare wood, meaning any existing stains or sealers must be removed. Two spray applications are recommended with the first being allowed to dry before applying the second. After the solution has had ample drying time, a good quality sealer should be applied to prevent the borate from leaching back out of the wood. Therefore, during the log home restoration process; after the house has been stripped and neutralized to prepare for sealing, but before the actual sealing, the Borate is applied. Although, not necessarily a hard process, an experienced professional should be hired. They will have the knowledge to properly mix the solution and apply it according to industry standards as well as the application equipment to perform the job safely.
Although this process has been used for many years for commercial applications, (most notable with creosote in railroad ties.) Borate is becoming more popular as a safe and long-lasting method of protecting log homes and other wood structures by preventing fungal decay, wood rot and wood destroying Termites, Carpenter Ants, Old House Borers, Subterranean and Powder Post Beatles and other insects detrimental to wood.
While not a necessity, Borate treatments should be considered as an option to combat the constant attack from fungal decay, wood rot and insects preventing costly repairs. Used as another preventative maintenance tool, it provides another layer of protection in the preservation and restoration of your log home.
When choosing a log home restoration company, consider all the many options related to the maintenance of your home. An experienced and knowledgeable contractor can answer your questions, address any concerns and suggest ideas and options that can make your restoration project exciting. At Taskmasters Wood Maintenance, we consider you, our next customer, and our newest reference. We know wood, know what you expect and take our work seriously.