How to Avoid Rotting Log Railing Hack

Outdoor hand rails and spindles, especially those not protected by overhangs, require specialized and more frequent care because of their extreme exposure to weather. 
 Typical log spindles and handrails are particularly vulnerable to rot and decay because they are often built and assembled with non-draining holes that easily and quickly accumulate water or melting snow that just sits for days, weeks, and sometimes months. This creates the perfect conditions for rot. (Boo.) If this sounds familiar, try this quick hack that will save you money and time down the road:
  • Using a 1/8" drill bit, drill a weep hole wherever the spindles meets the rail . Do this on the top and bottom rails. 
  • In addition, drill a weep hole at the bottom end of any cracks in the top curve of the railing, again, so water doesn’t just sit in that crack and soak into the wood. (Reference the handy illustrations below.)
Drilling these weep holes gives the water an escape route that doesn’t include the interior of the wood. Score!
As for staining and maintenance of this wood, the same prep and application methods used on your log home should be used on the railings, but expect more frequent (read: every 2 years) maintenance.
 Drill bit top cross section
Get out those power tools and get drilling!