Chinking refers to the process of filling in the gaps that exist between logs in a log home, as a protective measure to prevent wind, rain and other elements from accessing the interior of the cabin. If you own a log home or log cabin, then this is a process that you will want to do or have done to keep your home better protected from the external elements and to keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Chinking log cabins requires patience and some degree of skill to get an even application of between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick of chinking material, using a caulking gun and foam brushes.
There are several guidelines to follow to make the chinking procedure go as smoothly and uniformly as possible. First, gather all the materials you will need for the project, including backer rod, good quality chinking material that has a high degree of elasticity, a caulking gun to apply the chinking material, a plentiful supply of foam brushes, bottles of water to mist the chinking as needed, one or two buckets of clean water, a putty knife or scraper to eliminate excess chink, along with a ladder or stepstool, depending upon the height of your work area. Some chinking guns come pre-filled with chinking material, or you can fill your own caulking gun from a 5-pound gallon tub of the material. It helps to have a gun that allows you to change to several different tip sizes.
Before filling the caulking gun with chinking material, coat the inside of the barrel with silicon spray to make the applicator work more smoothly. Keep a water mister handy as you work, in case the chinking material starts to dry out too quickly. Begin by applying an even line of no more than 1/2 inch thick between the logs, then brush over the line with a damp foam brush to smooth out the chinking and remove any excess that has slopped over the line.
As you apply each line, check your work to see that the chinking is adhering to the logs properly. Too thin lines will not provide adequate protection and too thick lines will take too long to properly cure. Clean up any spills or drips to log surfaces as soon as possible before the chinking sets.
Don’t take on too much chink for one chinking process until you get the hang of it. It’s a good idea to buy a small chinking gun as a test unit to perfect your chinking technique before you tackle the job of chinking an entire cabin.
Chinking is an important step in protecting your log home from the onslaught of outdoor elements. It keeps your home more energy efficient, cleaner and more comfortable, and it also makes your home look well cared for and finished. There are different varieties of chinking colors to choose from, so you can decide whether to have the chinking material blend into the logs on your home or compliment or contrast with the logs for a more dramatic effect. Whatever you decide, you will be happy you made the effort to add log home chinking for the benefits it offers.