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Framing Lumber and Rain Exposure

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For a contractor, there are few sights more stress-inducing than watching a half-built project get doused by rain day-in and day-out for a week straight. You might find yourself asking: 

  • Is this rain going to have a negative effect on the outcome of the project? 
  • There’s no way this can be good for the structural integrity of the building, right? 

Your fears might even be multiplied when working with framing lumber. After all, you’ve seen firsthand how excessive soaking can lead to wood rot. Reasonably, rain exposure will lead to some red flags, but rest assured that it’s not the end of the world.

In this brief article, a construction attorney in Clarksville, TN, from Cotney Construction Law will provide insight on whether or not contractors should be worried about framing lumber being exposed to rain. Remember, for all of your construction-related legal needs, including defense against defect claims, consult a construction law attorney in Clarksville, TN.

Made for the Rain

Lumber comes from trees, so it stands that if rain exposure was a problem for lumber, it would probably affect the integrity of trees, too. It rains constantly in the rainforest, and those trees are still standing, so logic informs us that rain exposure shouldn’t be overly problematic for framing lumber. Lumber might not have the protective layer of bark found on trees, but it’s naturally resistant to water. If it weren’t, water would find its way to the center of trees and rot them from the inside out. According to the Washington Post, “lumber that is submerged in fresh water can be in great shape and rot-free for hundreds of years.” Therefore, when the rain starts to fall heavily on your project site, don’t let yourself get stressed out. 

Water-Resistant Design

The framing lumber and oriented strand board (OSB) on your project can handle the rain. The glues utilized in the creation of OSB are water-resistant. After all, these manufacturers understand that the majority of projects will face some form of inclement weather eventually. Most contractors will never have framing issues due to rain, and since wood rot commences when the moisture content reaches 20 percent or greater, it’s extremely difficult for wood to succumb to rot so early in its life as a building material. Furthermore, wood rot is a plodding process that takes time. Wood rot can’t advance unless the wood remains wet for an extended period of time. Even persistent rains can’t meet this criteria. That said, mold is a real problem that could advance in as little as 48 hours if mold spores have spread throughout your project site. Once framing lumber has become wet, the faster it dries, the better.

In conclusion, a little rain doesn’t spell disaster for your project, but you’ll still want to keep a close eye on your OSB to ensure that standing water doesn’t pool up. To avoid this, you can utilize OSB panels with drainage slots. You can also spray framing lumber with borate solutions. This non-toxic chemical helps eliminate various species of wood rot fungi and termites that like to chow down on your building materials. Prepare in advance and you won’t have to worry about a defect claim materializing down the line.

If you would like to speak with a construction lawyer in Clarksville, TN, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.