I am looking for advice on how to cap exterior beams. The beams at the front of our house are capped but the ones in to atrium are not. When we bought our house last year the home inspector suggested that we cap the atrium beams as well. If you have done this please let me know how you did it and where you bought to materials.
When we had our roof redone last year by Durafoam they capped the beams with strips of galvanized metal that I think they bent themselves. If you give them a call, Randy or one of the other folks there might be able to tell you where to get the stuff and what equipment (if any) you need to bend it up nicely.
We usually have one of many sheet metal shops in the area fabricate #12AWG (or 12 gauge) galvanized sheet metal on a shear and brake. It makes installation easier (all you do is caulk it in place). You have to provide accurate measurements, and don't forget to seal the edges with a paintable silicone or polyurethane caulk.
We are seeing a lot of weather damage to the tops of exposed beams on Eichlers. It is easy to cap beams. Measure carefully, looking for the widest part of the beam. Sheet metal shops can fabricate whatever you need. You will need tin-snips and caulk like Renman says. Painters should offer this service when you repaint. Beams that have been painted regularly are still in good shape. Often, the tops of the beams are not painted with the rest of the house. We have started to cap beams with new roof installations and re-coating past roofs.
I had a contractor give me an inspection for this. He suggested that prior to capping the beam to inspect for dry rot and do the repairs prior to capping. Seemed like a good suggestion.
Great advice. In some isolated, extreme cases we have seen top portions of rotted beams need to be cut out and new wood epoxied in the void. It is rare that the beam needs replacing. Capping beams is easy and inexpensive. It should be done when repainting or re-roofing for sure. I wouldn't worry about it until then....a lot of Eichlers have gone fifty years so far without capped beams, and the wood should last until other work is needed. On the other hand; If you can see severely weathered wood on beam ends, or obvious wood rot, don't wait. Pest companies, carpenters and remodeling contractors are the ones that usually fix this bad wood. I believe most of the remediation is done by pest control companies, since the topic most often comes up in pest reports when properties are sold.