We prefer to corn cob blast old finishes off since it is a dry process. Corn blasting is a finish removal system that combines high volume compressed air with a special corn cob blasting media.
Power washing and chemical strippers require the user to apply large amounts of water to the logs. This requires a drying time before the stain can be applied. Power washing can also leak inside, leaving stains on the interior logs, ruin flooring and cause a host of other unforeseen problems. Power washing drives the water so deep into the wood fiber that it will never dry out completely, and it can result in black mold growing under the stain, causing it to fail prematurely.
We also recommend avoiding the use of chemical strippers. If they are not completely rinsed off and neutralized properly, there can be stain adhesion problems with the wood fibers of the logs. The more effective strippers are typically very caustic or undesirable to the environment when rinsed off the logs. If you have a well for your water supply or live near a lake, you should be especially careful.
We take pride in our clean-up after corn cob blasting. In most cases we pick up about 99% of the corn we use, leaving a clean site that looks like we were never there - except for the new clean surface of the logs. The corn cob is biodegradable and very safe for the environment.
For tougher jobs when the old finish is thick or hard we can use sand. Typically after using sand, we recommend sanding the logs to help clean up any material that is left from blasting process. Most old hard, dry paints tend to stick to the hard grain of the wood and can only be removed by sanding.