Should timber roof frames be exposed to the weather for long periods of time?
That’s a common question the team from Home Integrity Building Consultations are asked as build times continue to drag out.
Home Integrity in-house Structural Engineer, Glen Webster provided some clarity.
Building a new home can be one of the most exciting times of your life. It is also likely your largest investment making it scary at the same time. You need confidence in the process and quality of the final product.
The relationship between a builder and a homeowner is a complex one. Delays can cause significant concern, both financially and in terms of the overall build quality expectations.
One issue that has been topical of late relates to roof frame elements, and their prolonged exposure to the weather.
Whilst some exposure to weather is expected during any build process, current delays in material supply, shortage of follow-on trades, and in extreme circumstance, builders abandoning contracts, are leading to extended periods of exposure.
Some of the typical issues which can result are:
- Weathering and degradation of timber causing cracking, splitting, or other cyclic swelling and shrinkage issues.
- Fixings and Connectors corroding or weakening joints
- Steel beams showing evidence of corrosion
- Mould and fungal decay when the moisture content is over 20%, particularly in untreated timber
- Termites – particularly in untreated timber
Covering the frame can reduce the impact of moisture, however this is rarely possible or feasible.
If your roof frame has been exposed to the weather for an extended period, we would recommend a specialist building defect inspection to investigate the impact prior to re-commencing work.
The inspector will determine the extent of degradation and make recommendations to you and your builder on what elements may need repair, rectification or replacement.
For further information regarding timber exposed to weathering from the Housing Industry Association (HIA), click here.
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