Owning a Swiss chalet is a sign of financial accomplishment. These beautiful residences are almost always comprised of wooden logs with a very rustic roof. Unfortunately, if you are not living in your Swiss chalet all year long, you will need to find a residential roofing contractor to care for the roof. There are at least five common problems that plague the wood roofs on a Swiss chalet, and here is how each should be repaired.
Dry rot and wet rot are not the same. Swiss chalets can suffer from both, but usually wet rot occurs more often simply because of snow and ice, which tend to be common in areas where this style of home is built. Your roofing contractor will need to replace all of the wood that is affected by wet rot. With dry rot, there may be a way to enclose the dry rot with a sealant, such as pine pitch, or just rip off the roof and start from scratch.
Warping occurs when wooden roofs are repeatedly exposed to extremes in temperature and excessive moisture. You can tell that your roof is experiencing some warping if the boards are bending upward and leaving gaps between the wood planks and the framework of the roof. Pressure and heat can get these boards to lay flat again, but your contractor will have to scale a ladder tall enough to reach into the ceiling of your chalet to access the warped planks.
You could also nail down the warping boards to perfectly straight boards underneath. In a chalet, this requires some creative design and construction because you do not want additional boards taking away from the original cathedral ceilings. Your last option for warping, of course, is to remove the warped boards entirely and replace them.
Mold is fairly common with Swiss chalets. You have the heat rising from the fireplace indoors and the snow melting on the roof outdoors. If the melting snow finds its way into the rafters of your chalet, it can, and will, grow mold. Repairing the leak is of primary importance. Secondly, your roofing contractor will have to climb all the way up there and remove or kill the mold. Applying a waterproof sealant to these boards will also help prevent additional mold outbreaks.
Lichen loves wooden roofs, and you will see a lot of green lichen sprouting up on top of the roofs of nearby chalets in spring. A roofing contractor can spray the entire roof with a lichen-killing chemical. Then he/she can spray the entire roof with an anti-lichen spray that prevents future lichen from taking root and spreading out everywhere.
Splitting can occur from too much direct sunlight, or from shrinking and expansion processes. The shrinking and expansion you cannot prevent, but there is a coating you can apply to prevent discoloration and splitting from too much sunlight. Your roofing contractor will have to climb up to your roof once a year, preferably on the first reasonably warm day after the snow and ice are gone to apply this coating. It has to be done annually too, given the exposure your chalet's roof endures.
New and Improved Shingles and a Good Tarring Help Too
If you ever need to replace part or all of the roof on your Swiss chalet, make sure you use new and improved shingles to replace the old ones. Continue with a good pine tar to block water absorption. These two materials combined have long been the perfect recipe for restoring a chalet roof, and preventing it from the unique damage these homes encounter.