Log cabin has water stains on interior walls

I inspected a “D”-log cabin this morning. The logs have double tongue and grooves. The logs are in good shape. On the interior of the west facing wall there are a number of older water stains. The roof is steel and in excellent shape. It appears that moisture is being wind driven between the logs. There were no signs of gaps in the logs. The stains are i various spots on the wall-not at the top as in a roof leak. Any ideas on possible causes and/or methods of preventing future moisture entry would be appreciated.

What was the condition of the chinking? Was it properly maintained? What is the maintenance history on the home?

No chinking. It is log on log The owners are out of town so no maintenance history plus they’ve only owned it two years. House built in 1999. It seems in excellent shape otherwise.image

Could be an improper installation of windows and doors by not allowing adequate room for log shrinkage leaving gaps in the logs

This is irrelevant. The home inspection is based upon the condition of the home the day of inspection. Homeowners can fabricate a history of maintenance all day long. If this is something a home inspector takes into consideration it is foolish.

I had a homeowner tell me they have had the furnace serviced (with receipts) in the attic every year for the last six years. Only problem is there was a broken wooden path to one of the furnaces. Nothing but undisturbed insulation. Homeowners are very unreliable when it comes to maintenance records when they go to sell their home.


It is actually a single tongue and groove not a double as I previously stated. Here is a close-up of the corner construction.

Was the interior leak/stains on this wall?
log home

Yes. No other stains were noted including on the ceiling. This is the west-facing wall and the one that would get the most weather.

Looks like lots of gaps in that wood plenty of places for moisture to get in.

Defiantly some checking. The gaps between logs didn’t appear to be significant up close. The buyer asked for some recommendation to prevent further moisture intrusion so I’m looking for ideas.

You obviously don’t know squat about log homes, as annual (minimum) maintenance is a critical part of their existence, and any knowledgeable log home owner will have these records available for the asking!

Stick to plumbing… you seem to know barely enough about that to ‘get by’… (depending what state you are in)!

The reason I asked is that I did inspection on one with the same build earlier this Summer. Stains all down the interior wall but nothing on the ceiling. Of course the ceiling sloped into the wall as with the pitch of the roof. Even though the roofing may look good, the flashing where the roof and deck covering intersects, needs to be looked at. That was the problem with the one I did.

LOL I guess I’m doing pretty damn good I don’t live in Minnesota. Don’t go away mad just go away. Democrats are so easy to trigger🤪

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No Chinking in this log home, It has a rubber gasket between the logs.

After reviewing all the pictures I took. I think the water is entering where the purlin tails stick through the wall and where the logs meet on the back right corner. Is there any kind of special sealant used on log homes at these junctures?

First, note what you see and don’t speculate the cause to the client. Recommend a log home specialist.

With that said, I do recommend to my clients to consider having a professional seal all checks and gaps and possibly look at CheckMate sealant which is used just for these situations.


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Thanks. Good advice. I appreciate the help.

I’ve never heard of a purlin tail. What are you referring to?

That’s a manufactured log home and they typically don’t shrink too much, but all log walls move some seasonally. There should have been some kind of gasket material installed between log courses and you can usually see it at exterior corners. I’d call no gasket out as a defect but gaskets won’t be installed after walls are assembled. I would not expect water to be blown between wall logs except in a very severe, long-lasting storm.

Any place the walls are penetrated are potential leaks. Specialized sealants for log walls are available from companies specializing in log home products:


Perma-Chink Systems

Phone (800) 433-8781

People at these companies are extremely knowledgeable about log homes having dealt with all sorts of homeowner problems over the years and if you send them good photos and some basic info they may be able to help pinpoint problems. It’s true, you don’t want to speculate and be wrong, but if you can identify the problem with confidence, you look like a champ.
Sashco has a yard full of various products they’ve had exposed to weather for years to see how durable they are and how they age and fail.

Good idea to take InterNACHI’s Log Home Inspection course if you’re going to do these.

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The purlins are the long beams running parallel to the ridge. On a log home they support the roof. Since they extend beyond the log walls I referred to them as the purlin tails. Perhaps I should have called them something different. Thank you for the information on the sealants.

Nope, got it, I understand. Purlins is the right term.