I have some dry rot on top of one of the atrium beams. Various contractors have various solutions. One says that it should be cleaned out, treated with an anti-fugual like Tim-bor, then filled with Bondo and beam-capped. Another says that he would use a consolidant and an adhesive paste, and when this is done, he would *not* beam cap it, as that would trap moisture, but would instead grade it so the rain runs off better. I'm not sure who to believe. Any feedback would be appreciated!
I had one with some termite damage. my GC ( Robert Hart) cleaned out the damage and treated it, then filled it , but no cap. This a a couple of years ago and it seems fine now.
We believe capping is the best choice for long term preservation of your beams.
With a metal cap:
1. The wood does not deteriorate.
2. The wood does not get wet, so doesn't need to dry out.
3. The cap fits loosesly, so the wood breathes adequately.
Grading the beam prevents the installation of a metal cap in the future.
When you have your house painted, insist that the painter cap any wood that is bare to the elements and seal the edges where the cap ends.
You would be dismayed to see how often wood is not even painted that is not visible from the ground.
I've just completed a beam restoration myself. I used Abatron epoxy products. They have a liquid consolidant that works great. Then a filler is used to fill the voids in the wood where the rot was removed. I can't priase their products enough. I'd wait till the warmer weather to do it. So if you can cover the beams till then, and you're relatively handy, it's a DYI job. I have photos.
I am in the process of trying to get caps made. Any suggestions for sheet metal guys to do this is greatly appreciated. One quote came back and it was much higher then I thought.
As I think about it, I remember that my termite damage was on the BOTTOM of the beam, not the top. And this section of beam was not exposed to the weather. Thus a cap probably was not a concern.
(in all fairness to my GC who I really like)
After all these years, many Eichler beams are in fine condition....only because they have been kept properly painted. A metal cap is a nice way to stop worrying about what is not readily visible.
Any sheet metal fabricator can make some cap for you. You will need to give him the measurements for the width and shape you want. He can recommend the gauge (metal thickness). You can cut the pieces to the right length and securely caulk the ends. I guess you could stick the metal to the wood with some caulking....if you didn't want to nail thru the sides. Don't nail thru the top of the metal.