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 and 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?


Log home stained with Transformation Log & Timber 

 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.


Transformation Stain Brown Tone Medium on Redwood A) Redwood



Transformation Stain Brown Tone Medium on Pressure Treated Wood B) Pressure Treated Wood



Transformation Stain Brow Tone Medium on Pine C) 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!

Sampling is easy: on a small, inconspicuous test area, simply do 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.

How to Apply Stain Samples the Right Way

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.)

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 apply the stain.Let the stain dry (both between coats and after all coats have been applied).

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

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. Don’t stain all of the logs before you verify that you’re achieving the look you want. It is best if you can be on-site during the staining process.
  • Keep in mind: it's wise to verify that you’re achieving the look you want from the start. 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 tipes (and FREE stain samples!), contact the experts at Sashco, or visit your local Sashco retailer.

See also:

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

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

Log Home Maintenance 101

Staining 101

Sashco's Capture Log Stain

Sashco's Transformation Log & Timber Stain

Sashco's Transformation Siding & Trim Stain


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