How to Replace Rotted Wood Rafters

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Things You'll Need

  • Chisel

  • Pry bar

  • Garbage bin

  • Measuring tape

  • Framing wood

  • 4 boards, 2-by-4

  • Circular saw

  • Drill

  • Wood screws

  • Wood sealant

  • Paintbrush

Tip

To be on the safe side, apply a waterproof wood sealant to the other rafters to protect them as well.

Warning

Always use a blade guide when working with a circular saw. Keep your fingers away from the blade at all times.

Rotted wood rafters in a roof are a serious issue. Commonly, what you can see of the rotted wood is only part of the problem -- it is what you cannot see under the surface of the wood that can be the main issue. Wood rotting from the inside out compromises the structural integrity of the rafter. When repair is no longer an option, the roof rafters must be replaced. This project requires two parts. First, remove the rotten wood, and then replace it with new rafters.

Step 1

Remove the rotted wood with a chisel and pry bar. The rotten wood will come away easily. Discard the wood in a garbage bin as you work to make the cleanup easier.

Step 2

Measure the length of framing wood needed with a measuring tape. If the entire rafter was rotten, use the length of another rafter to get your measurement. If only part of the rafter was bad, measure the gap in the good wood.

Step 3

Cut the framing wood to fit with a circular saw. Do not rush the wood through the saw; feed it slowly.

Step 4

Cut sister boards if necessary with a circular saw. If only part of the rafter was rotten, you will need four boards to join the wood together. Cut four pieces out of a 2-by-4 that are each a foot in length.

Step 5

Screw the new rafter into place. If you are replacing the entire rafter, screw down into the wood through the top and bottom joists. If replacing part of the rafter, attach one end of each sister board through the existing rafter. Fit the rafter into place between the boards and screw through the sister boards into the rafter. Repeat with the other side.

Step 6

Seal the wood with a waterproof wood sealant to prevent future damage. Paint the sealant on with a paintbrush.

references

Kate McFarlin

Kate McFarlin is a licensed insurance agent with extensive experience in covering topics related to marketing, small business, personal finance and home improvement. She began her career as a Web designer and also specializes in audio/video mixing and design.