Log Home Blasting (Corn Cob Blasting)
We at Top-Coat feel that generally, corn cob blasting is the best overall method of dealing with many log related problems. Some other methods for removal of failing finishes, sun-burned wood, mold and mildew issues, etc., are sand blasting or chemical stripping. Sand blasting is a method that is still commonly used, but this method is excessively damaging to the wood, blowing away too much good wood and profiling the logs!
Chemical stripping requires the use of caustic chemicals, and the EPA has made illegal the most effective ones because of how harmful they are to not only the environment, but also the people applying them and the people in the surrounding area. There are many log home and deck restoration companies that still rely heavily on chemical stripping. There are still certain times that we feel some of the milder chemical strippers are alright to use. Many of the log homes that we work on are in close proximity to lake and river systems, making cob blasting the most feasible option of preparing the logs as the chemicals for stripping are obviously very harmful to our lakes and rivers.
Cob blasting is similar to sand blasting in that you use a blasting pot, in combination with highly compressed air. Cob blasting machines use the compressed air together with the ground up corn cob. The corn cob is light, and works very effectively to strip the wood. The air pressure and the amount of media (corn cob) can be adjusted very precisely to only remove as much of the log as is necessary to remove the failing finish, bad wood, etc. Corn cob that is used is bio-degradable, and actually works as a good mulch. With chemical stripping, the chemical is applied, then allowed a dwell time. The dwell time varies, depending on the finish to be removed, etc. Then a pressure washer is used to remove the chemicals. This is another reason that we prefer cob blasting. It is a dry process.
With many of the restoration jobs we work on, there are not only problems with the finish, but the sealants are usually in bad shape too. Many times there are gaps in between the logs, and the caulk or chinking. When you chemical strip, and then pressure wash, many times you would be blasting high pressure water into the home, and in the interior of many log homes today, there is drywall walls, etc. And that can get messy. Cob blasting is a dry process, and worst case scenario, the inside of the house gets a little dust in it. Much easier to clean and less destructive than water. With chemical stripping, most strippers that are effective then need a neutralizer applied after the stripper. Then the neutralizer also needs to be pressure washed off. The fact of the matter is, there are some stains out there, usually the hard shell type stains, (Sikkens, etc.) that even the best legal chemical strippers made cannot effectively remove these finishes!
Cob blasting is the best way to prepare a log surface for stain, because it opens the surface grain. This makes it more porous, so the log will take and retain up to 50% more stain than a non-cob blasted log. This means 50% more pigment protection and U.V. protection for your logs, and this of course means not only properly prepared wood, but a longer lasting stain job!
Since cob blasting is a dry process, the log home can then be immediately stained without waiting for the drying process, as you would have to with chemical stripping.
These are just some of the reasons why we feel cob blasting is the preferred method. We are committed to best processes, and those that are healthy for our environment!
Top Coat strives for a greener tomorrow. We use the most eco-friendly method of stripping and preparing your wood. Our media is bio-degradable and chemical free. Help keep our land and water free of harmful pollutants. Choose to cob blast instead of chemically stripping.