How to Apply Log Home Stain Samples

Your dream log home isn't that far off. Proper application of log stain samples is the only way to make sure you get the color you want the first time. Case in point, this beautiful log home in Washington state stained with Sashco's Transformation Log & Timber stain. Shopping from a log stain color chart is a bit like shopping from a catalog. What if it doesn't look like the picture? Can I return it if I don't like it?


How-To Apply Stain Samples Blog 

Different Types of Wood

With log home stains, the same stain can look vastly different on various species and ages of wood. Most likely, the color chart you used showed stain that was applied to new white pine. But, when applied to 50-year-old oak, the stain looks completely different.

Take a look at Images A, B, and C below. Would you believe that each image shows the same color of stain? All three pieces of wood are stained with Sashco's Transformation Siding & Trim in Brown Tone Medium. The only difference is the wood: Image A is Redwood, Image B is Pressure Treated Wood, and Image C is Pine.


A. Redwood B. Pressure Treated Wood C. Pine
Transformation Stain Brown Tone Medium on Redwood Transformation Stain Brown Tone Medium on Pressure Treated Wood Transformation Stain Brow Tone Medium on Pine


Different Wood Prep Methods

Not only does the type of wood affect how the stain will appear, different preparation and application methods will affect the final result. Power washed logs, hand-sanded logs, and media blasted logs will all soak up the stain differently.

The image below illustrates how wood prep affects the final stain. From the top:

  1. Media blasted logs (no finish sanding)
  2. Media blasted logs, finish sanded with Buffy Pads
  3. Power washed logs, finish sanded with Osborn® brushes
  4. Power washed logs (no finish sanding)

Different wood prep types affect the final stain color. 

Wood prep types 


So, we're shouting it from the rafters: put the paint brush down and sample first!


How to Apply Stain Samples the Right Way

Pick a spot on your home
Listen up: a scrap of wood won't do. Your home's unique texture and color will affect the final outcome, so do this sample on the home itself. In a small, inconspicuous test area, perform each step the way you will on the entire home. We recommend a space that is, at a minimum, 2 square feet. This way, you get a good idea of what the stain will look like on the whole home.

Prepare the wood
Do you plan to power wash? Power wash your sample area. Do you plan to media blast? Media blast your sample area. (Yes, it's extra work, but it will be worth it when the sample and the home turn out the same.)

Mix the stain sample
Sorry, folks, but a stir stick just won't do the trick. The pigments in semi-transparent stains sink to the bottom of the container and settle. It's important to scrape all of those pigments off of the bottom and thoroughly mix them in to see the true color. It might be helpful to pour the sample into a spare container (metal or glass for Transformation Log and Timber samples; plastic, metal, or glass for Capture® and Transformation Siding and Trim), scrape all of the pigments in, and mix away for a couple of minutes. A kitchen whisk is a great tool for mixing. 

Apply the stain
When applying your sample, make sure whatever method you use is the same method you use when you do the actual project. We recommend spraying on and back-brushing all of Sashco's stains. If you're brushing on the stain, don't skimp! Really drench wood with stain when applying. 

Let the stain dry
Both between coats and after all coats have been applied. Wet stain always looks different than dry stain, so it's important to let stain fully dry between coats and after.

Don't forget a top coat!
With Sashco's Capture®, you must use the Cascade® clear top coat. The final look will be very different with the top coat, so apply everything in order to get the real scoop.

Pro Tips

  • If you're working with a contractor, he or she will likely do this sampling for you. Make sure you're both on the same page when it comes to the final look you want to achieve. Don’t allow the contractor to stain until you have thoroughly discussed and demonstrated the look you want. This means it's best if you can be on-site during the staining process (at least at the beginning).

So there you have it! You're well on your way to making sure the beautiful, dream log home picture in your mind's eye becomes reality.

For more staining tips (and FREE stain samples!) schedule a call with experts at Sashco, or visit your local Sashco retailer.

Schedule a Call


Other Resources

Keeping the Dream Alive: Sashco's Complete Guide to Log Home Finishing

Restoring the Dream: Sashco's Guide to Log Home Restoration

Sashco's Capture Log Stain

Sashco's Transformation Log & Timber Stain

Sashco's Transformation Siding & Trim Stain

Request Transformation Log & Timber Samples

Request Capture & Cascade Samples


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