How to Renovate Wood Roof Framing
A building’s roof frame supports the roof and protects the building’s inhabitants from the elements.
This structure needs to be renovated from time to time, especially when it’s old or no longer doing its job very well.
In this article, our wood roof framing experts will explain the process of renovating wood roof frames. By the end, you’ll have a better idea of when you need to renovate and how to go about it.
When should you renovate your roof framing?
There are two main reasons to renovate a building’s old wood frame: when problems arise that affect its strength or function; and when you want to rearrange your attic space.
Issues that may require renovation
Complete or partial renovation of a wood frame may be necessary when its strength or the safety of the people who use the building are at risk. Although roof trusses and rafters can easily last decades, you still need to routinely inspect these structures to detect and correct any anomalies ASAP. Quick detection is the best way to avoid costly and extensive renovations.
Wood roof frame damage and decay
Wood frames are exposed to different weather conditions that degrade their structure, including:
- Changes in humidity
- Extreme temperature fluctuations
- Freezing and thawing
- Rain and snow
Little by little, these conditions can weaken the frame, even if it was well-built with high quality materials. If an inspection reveals significant wear and tear of the timber frame, you should have it replaced or at least reinforced.
A roof frame is protected by the roof covering, which shields it from rain and snow. However, if the roofing is no longer watertight, water can seep into the attic and damage the wooden roof trusses.
A leaking roof can cause the wooden frame to rot and weaken. In this case, you not only need to renovate the water-damaged framing, but you will also need to repair the roof itself. A full repair ensures that the roof is leak proof and that the problem won’t happen again.
Excess moisture in the attic
A building’s attic must be ventilated to prevent moisture build-up. When attic spaces are too damp, mold and mildew can grow on the wood frame and insulation materials.
In this case, you will need to renovate the space to remove all traces of mold and mildew. Otherwise, they can damage the framing and cause respiratory illnesses for those who live or work in the building.
Pests in the attic
A building’s attic can be a prime habitat for different animals and insects, including:
- Rodents (squirrels, mice, voles etc.)
- Carpenter ants or wood-eating insects
- And much more
After a visit from one of these unwanted guests, you may need to renovate certain damaged areas of your framework.
Renovate the roof frame to alter the roof or attic layout
There doesn’t need to be a structural problem for you to renovate your roof framework. You can also opt for roof frame renovations to change the interior or exterior design of a building.
For example, a homeowner who wants to convert their attic into a living space can renovate their wooden framing and install attic roof trusses. You can also take advantage of higher ceilings (like cathedral ceilings) by making changes to the framing.
It is also possible to change the roof pitch or add windows and architectural details to a roof when renovating the frame.
What to keep in mind when renovating old framework
Are you considering a wood frame renovation? For the best structural and aesthetic results, keep the following details in mind.
The original wood frame
When renovating an exposed frame, it is best to respect the original style.
For example, if you need to replace a damaged beam, you should try to use wood that’s a similar size and finish.
There are many ways to assemble a wood frame, including several types of connectors and fasteners. When renovating the frame, you should ideally use the same kind of connector.
This could be a challenge if your framing is very old. There was a time when carpenters used very sophisticated joint techniques, e.g. mortise and tenon, dovetail joints, etc.
Before renovating your wood frame, you should ensure that the construction won’t temporarily or permanently weaken the structure.
To do so, you may need to seek the advice of structural engineers to verify that your desired renovations will not alter the weight distribution on the building’s load-bearing walls.
You may also need to shore up your frame (install support elements) if you don’t want to risk your roof collapsing during the work.
In most areas, you need a building permit before you can legally begin renovation.
This means that you will likely have to submit your project to your local government and wait for them to grant you a building permit before you can begin renovating the frame.
Partial frame renovations (e.g. structural reinforcement) can likely be handled by one person. On the other hand, major construction projects like installing new wood beams can require multiple workers and special equipment.
For stress-free renovations, contact UsiHome!
Bottom line: there are several reasons to renovate your wood roof frame. The main reasons are to fix damaged roof trusses and to alter the building’s attic or roof design. But regardless of your motivations, you must take care to preserve the frame’s style and soundness.