Chinking is a necessity for any and all log cabins. It is a material placed between the logs of your log home that protects your home from insects, moisture and air from getting into the interior of the home. It also works as an additional layer of insulation, providing additional warmth in the colder winter months. Generally, you apply the chinking to your log home after the shell has been assembled and before you do any interior work in your log home, if it is a newly built home, although for older homes, you can apply chinking whenever it is convenient or it needs to be done.
Chinking used to be made from limestone, sand and clay. But today, it is far more common to find chinking made from an acrylic elastic compound that is easy to apply. We now use this type of chinking material not only because these materials are readily available in mass quantities, but also because they stretch and contract with the natural movements of your home. Older chinking materials are not adaptable. Thus, you often see gaps in older log homes.
Before you begin chinking your log home, make sure that any finish you intend on using on your logs is compatible with the chinking compound you have chosen. There are a number of different colors and finishes of chinking materials, so it will be relatively simple to find one to blend in well with the finished look of your log home. Application of the chinking is relatively easy and there are many options to work with.
To apply chinking to your home, you can put some of the compound from the purchased container into a second container and use a metal or plastic spatula to apply it, or you can put some chinking material into a pastry bag with a nozzle and squeeze the bag to apply the material between your logs. You can also purchase a chinking/caulking gun that is used specifically for these purposes. There is no one correct method of applying the chinking, and it really comes down to user preference and affordability. The chinking should be applied ¼ to ½ inch thick.
After the application of chinking, any drips or incorrect placement of the compound is fairly easy to remedy. Simply keep a dish of water and a sponge handy to correct any mistakes and to ensure that you fix any problems before the chinking sets and dries.
So, if you are planning on building a new log cabin, or even if you have an old one that could use some new chinking to keep it better insulated, go on and chink your log cabin with the new type of chinking material. The spaces and cracks in the cabin should be remedied quickly and easily. You will not only wind up with a beautiful home when you do so, but you will also make your home well insulated for a better and more efficient log cabin atmosphere.