• July 29, 2021

Interior log walls: the causes and repair of water stains on an interior log wall

Causes of indoor water stains

Water stains are the result of water contacting unprotected log surfaces. Before you begin removing interior log wall stains, you need to determine where the water originated. This may have occurred during the construction process, gaps between the log rows due to settlement, or broken joints / caulking that have failed. Water stains can also be the result of a previous plumbing problem or simply windows that are repeatedly left open allowing water to enter. Once you are sure that the situation has been corrected, you can begin to repair the watermarks.

Repair of water stains on interior log walls

Various methods are used to remove water stains from an interior log wall. The best method may depend on the depth and severity of the staining. If they were caused during the construction process and the staining is severe, you may want to consider hiring a log home professional to blast the walls with corn on the cob, glass, or walnut shells. Although this can be tricky and will involve removing all items from inside the room, it is very effective. Most registry professionals will do their best to seal the area and help minimize the drift of dust to other areas of the home.

Usually the water stains are in a more confined area and not too severe. If you decide to tackle the project yourself, start by using regular sandpaper (fine to medium grit, depending on your trunk species) and a traditional palm sander. Start sanding at the edge of the watermark. If they cannot be easily removed, it may be necessary to use an orbital sander or belt sander. Focus on blurring the darker edges. It takes patience and care to remove the water stained area without removing too many fibers from the trunk. You can easily damage the log wall creating an uneven and undesirable look. You may be able to achieve good results by sanding only the water stained area and applying a pigmented stain. However, for best results, once the watermark has been removed, lightly sand the entire trunk wall to allow even absorption of the stain and avoid color variations.

Interior log wall staining

Interior log walls are exposed to direct or indirect UV rays through skylights, windows and doors. Even if your interior log wall was not previously stained, the log wall feature will likely look different over time.

Most log home siding companies have developed products specifically designed for interior log walls. These products are typically water-based and available in different finishes. Depending on your personal preferences, you can choose a transparent (non-yellowing) gloss or satin finish. If you prefer a pigmented stain, most offer different shades. Whether you’re trying to match an existing log wall or deciding what color would best match your existing finish, most manufacturers are happy to mail color samples of their products. Applying a finish to the interior walls will not only offer protection, but will also make it easier to clean the log surface.


In most situations, water stains can be effectively removed without leaving obvious signs of water damage; however, there are no quick and easy solutions. Your patience will pay off once you expose the shiny new wood fibers just below the surface.

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