Dry Rot Prevention
The lack of proper maintenance on roof beams is one of the leading causes of serious decay problems. It is, of course, best to avoid any degree of roof beam deterioration, and fortunately there are preventative measures that can be taken. The most crucial of these, ironically, is the least complicated: painting. It is often said that 90% of successful painting is in the preparation work, and this couldn't be truer when it comes to roof beams.
It is essential that roof beam painting be preceded by meticulous surface detailing (sanding, scraping, mildew and dust removal, etc.), filling of all cracks with a high grade paintable caulking (one with elastic properties), and one to two coats of a premium primer sealer as needed. Give this careful attention to the area of the beam with the greatest exposure to the elements (from the outer end to at least one foot back in from the roof edge framing), being sure not to forget the top of the beam, which often gets overlooked or neglected. Generally, one should exercise a maintenance approach that revolves around first-rate prepping and painting methods.
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This page wouldn’t be complete without one important caveat: know when to seek advice. Some aspects of this work are inherently dangerous. At times you’ll be balancing far above the ground with power tools and heavy objects—all the while working (quite literally) without a net. Also, the alteration of some load-bearing roof beams will require more instruction than you’ll find in this short guide. If you’re ever unsure about the engineering or safety on a project, always consider consulting with an expert before proceeding.