Like a rotting tooth decaying on the inside, rafters can be rotting on the inside as well and we might not know how bad it really is until it becomes a real problem.
Dry Rot Roof Rafters
Dry rot can develop slowly over time weakening the roof and causing the roof to become a safety hazard under the weight of the shingles. It may begin with just a small crack in the wood allowing moisture inside to begin its rotting progression. The roof becomes unsafe when the dry rot eats away at the rafters causing them to crumble a little at a time.
Dry rot usually begins with the wood getting wet allowing fungus to grow.
Dry rot is not always visible and can be hard to detect. It can eat away at the inside of the wood and give little evidence that you have a serious problem that will have to be addressed. The best way to find out if you have dry rot damage is to get inside your attic space and look up at the decking for water stains. You can also call a professional roofer like Top Notch Roofing in Cabot Arkansas to do the roof inspection for you.
If water has been able to penetrate through the underlayment membrane then there is the possibility of dry rot.
Checking for Roof Damage
The best way to check for dry rot is to take a knife, screw driver, or other sharp tool and probe the wood where you might suspect dry rot damage. Your tool will easily enter the wood causing it to crumble. These areas will have to be removed and repaired. If it is a small area that can be removed and replaced easily, and you are handy at DIY projects, then it should be no problem for you. But, if it appears the entire rafter or rafters will have to be replaced then a qualified roofing professional should be called. This will require removing shingles, underlayment, and decking to reach the dry rotted rafters.
On many occasions it may not be dry rot decay alone that is causing the problem, but it could be that termites have entered the picture as well. Termites love wood that retains moisture. The dry rot along with the termites working together can do an enormous amount of damage to a roof structure. So the termite problem will have to be addressed too. A professional termite company should be called in to exterminate the problem.
Prevent Damage with Inspections
Prevention is always the best cure. Your roof and your roof structure should be inspected twice a year. A good rule of thumb is to check out the underside of your roof decking during or after a rain storm to see if you have any water leaks. Also walk around the perimeter of your house and check your gutters to make sure they are flowing freely and not backing the water up onto your roof. Keep debris cleaned from the valleys of the roof and check the metal flashing for rust that might allow water leakage.
Remember, roof repair is much like tooth repair… it’s expensive. You don’t want to go there.