A reader's General Construction question: Termite damage?

John A.   from   laguna beach ca, United States   had this Termite damage question.

Hello I have a pitched roof with 8" overhang, the over hang has termite damage. I would like to change just the damaged wood how far back do I go on the cut, tips on hardness of the job thank-you.

Bill's reply

Hi John, It seems that you are lucky that you got them when you did, just a few rafter ends is not too bad.

  1. I'd try my best to do the whole of the work from the outside.
  2. Set up a scaffold at a comfortable height and remove whatever cladding or eaves lining necessary to get clear access.
  3. If you have got rid of the termites, (poisoned the source, removed the entry point etc) then there is no real reason to saw off the damaged timber, apart from cosmetic reasons of course.
  4. Take advice from your local pest exterminator on this of course, I'm only thinking out loud here.
  5. If the eaves are open and in view, then you have to trim them off. work.
  6. If they are closed in, boxed eaves then you have to remove the linings and replace them later.
  7. In this case it is up to you whether you cut off the damaged ends. Personally if there is still strength left in them I would leave them alone and only remove the really bad ones.
  8. I've had good success cutting off rafters like this with my recipro saw. (that's what I bought it for). You may be able to hire one, or get a power saw to cut a bit out then finish them off with a sharp hand saw.
  9. Sister each damaged rafter with a new piece of equivalent timber, cut up to and fixed to carry the fascia, and try to get them as far into the roof as feasible. You don't have much room to work really, but an 8" overhang does not carry a lot of load.
  10. I like to use bolts for jobs like this, say two 3/8th bolts per join, with washers each end. Once again the tool of choice for drilling in awkward spots like this is a right angle drill.

Best of luck with it John and watch out for those little sods in the future. I've had the same trouble myself on a job, a lady had leaned bamboo poles against the house, (to provide a shade structure for a kids plays area) thereby bridging the termite protection. If we hadn't come along to build a veranda the whole house could have been devastated.


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