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Redwood Beams Wicking Water3/15/19
I would think it is more likely that the water is traveling on top of the beams as opposed to through. I can't tel if there is a flashing on top of the exposed ends. I'm not a builder but I would ask what is the best sealant system for that application.
West System Epoxy the ends of the beams. Flash the top of the beams
Thanks for the responses. The beams do have copper caps that cover the top and tuck behind the gutter
Looks like a bad design why have the beams stick beyond the roof , even if you caulk flashinging etc the wood will shrink water always will find a way
It looks like that house needs some adjustments to adapt to unforeseen environmental conditions. Creating hydrological mitigation solutions would be in order. Taking advantage of water's propensity to be affected by gravitational forces when confronted with a pitched environment would facilitate the ejection of water from the roofing environment before infiltration can occur.
My neighbor has a double wide trailer with a flat leaking roof. He built a pole barn over it. The pole barn keeps the place cooler in the summer, too. When he builds a house, he's going to use the pole barn as a garage to work on his dump trucks.
Your idea of the rafter tips wicking is possible but not likely due to their length. The ends are not only ugly. They are miscut. They are supposed to be cut vertically or backcut. The positive rake on them continually wets them.
I would check that gutter. It looks like it might get full enough with debris that it is overflowing. The water will go behind the gutter, then the facia and into the house.
All the above comments are making good points.
To find a fix I'd be experimenting with one beam......the worst water wicker if possible.
You could try capping that beam with a large piece of sheet metal slipped under the gutter and extending past the sides and ends of the beam. If this temporary "roof" over the beam end stops the water then it's likely a wicking problem as you suggest. If it doesn't stop the water then it's probably a matter of the water getting behind the gutter as suggest above.
If it is a wicking issue then I'd think a penetrating oil would help solve the problem. It would have to be reapplied every few years though. West System on the butt grain was also a good suggestion and probably more permanent.
If it is water getting behind the gutter then the only fix is probably to pull the gutters and create a better flashing solution.
However if the water is traveling down the beam side surfaces and through the wall then sealing or roof flashing isn't going to solve the problem. Perhaps a vertical 1/8" x 1/8" cut in the beam sides and bottom an inch or two out from the wall would act like a water drip you see on sill nosings and solve the problem.
In Canada this design would be a disaster .