Two signs that your carport needs to be repaired

If you want to ensure that your carport stands the test of time, it's important to be able to recognise the signs that may indicate that it has started to deteriorate. Here are two signs that your carport might be in need of repair:

It's starting to lean and sag

Your carport's rafters should be perpendicular to its base. If you notice that they are now leaning downwards and that the pillars beneath them have started to sink into the ground, there could be a problem with the foundation of the structure.

This type of sagging is usually the result of an issue called 'subsidence'. This term is used to describe instances where the soil beneath a structure's foundation loses moisture and subsequently shrinks in size. This shrinkage then causes the foundation on top of this soil to slowly sag downwards. This, in turn, leads to structural problems, such as the aforementioned leaning of the carport's rafters and the sagging of its pillars.

If your carport develops this issue, you will need to take two steps. Firstly, you will need to hire a contractor to repair the damage; this usually involves a process known as 'underpinning' (where additional support structures are added to the foundation, to increase its stability).

Secondly, you and your contractor will need to determine what caused the subsidence problem to develop so that it does not happen again in the future. In many cases, subsidence is caused by the presence of nearby tree roots, which absorb water from the soil underneath the carport's foundation and in doing so, cause the soil to shrink.

If this is found to be the source of the subsidence, you might need to arrange for the trees to be cut down.

It is showing signs of a termite infestation or wet rot

The beams, rafters and pillars of most carports are made from timber. Whilst timber is a very attractive, affordable and robust building material, its structural integrity can be compromised if it develops a fungus called wet rot or if it becomes infested with termites.

Wet rot can cause timber to crumble, crack and decay. If your carport's components develop this issue, they may weaken to the point where the entire structure becomes unstable.

Termites can also cause a carport to become unstable; these insects eat away at wood, creating holes which can lead to it becoming structurally unsound.

As such, it is important to regularly inspect your carport for signs of these two problems and to get in touch with your contractor the moment you notice them.

Wet rot is relatively easy to spot; it usually causes the wood to become discoloured and cracked. When you touch a piece of timber that has been exposed to this fungus, it may also crumble when you squeeze or press your hand against it.

Termites will normally leave behind a trail of tiny holes on the flat surfaces of the timber, as well as minuscule bite marks along the edges.

If your carport develops either of these issues, your contractor will probably need to replace the affected sections of timber, and perhaps add a protective fungicidal or insecticidal wood treatment, to prevent similar problems from arising in the future. Contact a carports company for more information and assistance.