Chinking Repair—There’s Nothing Difficult About It

Published on | Log Home Chinking |Leroy Walker

So, it's time for some chinking repair.  Oh yes, chinking materials have definitely evolved from ‘primitive’ to ‘impressive’!  In days of old, virtually any material that could be found was used as chinking to fill the gaps to keep out insect invasions, rodents, moisture and the bitter cold.  Everything from horse-hair to moss to dung to mud to newspaper was utilized to create as much of a barrier from the elements, as possible.  If a portion of the chinking deteriorated, plugging the vacancy with another splat of mud or wad of moss was easy to do.

Today, however, chinking material is created with superior ingredients and qualities that are nothing short of impressive.  Elasticity is the name of the game with today’s chinking—it expands and contracts to accommodate expected log movement and shrinkage.  The durability, the seal and the adhesion of today’s technologically-advanced chinking products is a dream-come-true for log-home owners.  With that being said, however, even the best chinking will need some repair from time to time.

Chinking Repair - Removal

Just because old chinking might be deteriorating, it doesn’t mean it has to be completely eliminated.  Advanced chinking products can be applied over existing chinking but you need to make sure the new chink joint is wider than the existing chinking.  This will offer optimal adhesion on clean, bare surfaces.   Any loose pieces of old material must be removed and spaces must be filled.  Before the spaces are filled, however, the areas where old chinking was located must be sanded or washed.

Backing Rods Serve Multiple Purposes

During new chinking application, using foam backing rods is vital for several reasons: 1:  they allow the applicator to form adhesion on the top and bottom log—this translates into increased elasticity. 2:  they ensure more uniform application of chinking 3:  they provide cost-effectiveness by allowing less chinking material to be used

Chinking Repair - Applying the Chinking

There are several tools that can be used for chink application:  1) a bulk chink gun and 2) applicator bags.  When using the bulk chink gun, the follow plate is placed in the open pail which will prevent any cleaning of the gun after each load.  Applying chinking material is very easy via the gun.

Applicator bags, as a second application tool, look, somewhat, like cake-icing bags, only larger.  Smaller tubes, also, are used for chink application, which resemble traditional caulk guns.  These smaller devices are handy for smaller areas of repair.

During the tooling phase, use adequate pressure to create a uniform thickness as well as making sure sufficient contact with the logs is in place to ensure permanent adhesion after the curing time is over.  Prior to tooling, a gentle mist of water can be applied to the chinking which will offer a slicker surface for ease of movement.

If the project will resume the following day, chinking material will remain fresh and workable as long as the containers remain air tight; and that includes still-filled chink guns with caps and nozzles that are tightly closed.

As a general rule, if the gap between log courses is ¾ inch or less, you can use caulk.  Anything larger than ¾ inch should be repaired with chink.

Owning a log-home is a truly unique experience that provides a sense of rustic luxury no other type of residence can offer.  Making sure the chinking remains in pristine condition will ensure the very long-life of your treasured home-sweet-home.