Causes of wood sap on attic beams

During the really hot months of the year the temperature in your attic increases drastically. When wood is exposed to high heat some issues may occur. So knowing the consequences of high heat and how to prevent it is important for both your wallet and home.

What is attic Ambering

Attic ambering is the process of rafters and or beams in the attic that have sap leak out. Tree sap contains various chemical components that we will not cover here but in relation to saps function a good comparison to compare sap to is blood. When a tree is alive the sap carries nutrients throughout the trees. When a tree is damaged the sap may bleed or leak out.

As the excessive heat enters the attic, over time the beams tend to leak out. If you see golden colored crystals in your attic you have discovered attic ambering.

What does wood sap on rafters look like?

Wood sap on rafters can exist in different forms. Ambering starts with liquid drops leaking out of the beams . The liquid droplets range in color from dark red, amber to different shades of yellow. Over time the sap may harden and crystallize in the shape of a tear drop.

What happens to wood that causes it to sweat?

Just like humans HEAT is the main factor that causes the beams to sweat. As the heat rises the internal molecules tend to move around and bump into each other causing internal pressure. As a result to decrease the pressure those molecules tend to move outward to decrease the pressure. The beam begins to sweat which results in ambering.

What are the biggest set backs of wood sap in attic?

The sap itself consist of sugar and water. The sap may attract dirt and dust. Additionally unwanted insects and pests may be attracted to the sap.

How can attic sap be prevented?

To prevent ambering the attic needs to be insulated and ventilated properly. This prevents the attic from excessively heating up.

How do you remove the sap?

If the sap has not hardened try using oil soap to remove excessive residue. Warm water and a short brush works well. Additionally acetone can help remove residue. For hardened sap a sharp wood chisel is a good choice to scrape off the crystals.

Ambering may not be a big issue by itself but may indicate improper ventilation or insulation within the attic. Your local home inspector will check for signs of improper insulation and or ventilation if ambering is discovered in the attic.

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