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What are the problems with using wood rooftop pipe supports?

Do you own, work, or live in an older building? The odds are that your roof has a wooden pipe and other industrial supports that have been in place for an extended period. Wooden rooftop supports were the industry standard for decades and for good reason at the time. 

 Wooden supports were considered state-of-the-art during the early times of modern construction. On paper, woodblocks and supports have many benefits including a low price point, they are easily available, and have a high load tolerance. However, wooden rooftop supports have many drawbacks and can cause damage to your pipes, roof membrane, and other equipment on your roof.  Now there are modern, environmentally friendly products that will protect your roof, pipes, and wallet for years to come. 

Roof Damage 

Depending on your location and the seasonal weather in your area, the pipes on your roof are subject to constant freezing and thawing. Not only does this impact the pipes by expanding and contracting but it can also impact the support that is keeping the pipes from sitting on your roof. The fluctuations in temperature can cause the wooden blocks to shift and move which can lead to the wooden block scraping and eroding your roof membrane which can lead to an expensive roof repair. 

Not only are you at risk of the environment impacting your roof and rooftop supports but also by unknowingly overloading your wooden supports. If you overload or distribute weight unevenly on the support, the corners of the woodblocks can dig into your roof and potentially tear your membrane which will lead to water damage and opens the door for larger issues to arise. 

Wood floats, this is a problem when your supports need to be spaced certain distances apart. The wooden supports can float downstream and bunch up at one end of the pipe. This can cause tens of feet of pipe to go unsupported leading to an increased risk of damage. 

The corners of the wood support are typically sharp. This can pose another problem as single-ply membrane roofs traditionally have a higher risk of punctures than old tar and gravel or asphalt roofs because they are constructed from a compounded plastic-derived material that is easily punctured. A simple membrane puncture will cost a minimum of $150 to repair, leaving you with the simple question of “why haven’t I switched to a safer product yet?” 


If the wooden supports are not maintained, they are subject to deterioration. Wood needs four conditions to rot and deteriorate- the substrate (wood), oxygen, warmth, and moisture. No matter where your building is located these four conditions will be present and constantly impacting your support. 

Not only are these four conditions to blame for rot, when all are present, but your roof also becomes a petri dish for microscopic fungi to flourish and your wooden support will be subject to a shortened lifespan. Any form of remedy will not completely eliminate the fungi as it will remain present until conditions return to being more favorable for its growth. This is a battle that has been eliminated with modern technological advances in the rooftop support industry. 

The constant freezing and thawing that is present in certain seasonal climates will add an additional toll on wood. High winds and precipitation (snow, rain, hail) also present a constant physical battle against the wood.  If your wooden rooftop supports are ignored, the potential of complete support failure and your pipes and equipment-making contact with your roof becomes a reality. Any such problem could be very costly and impactful to your roof’s membrane. 

What stops deterioration? Creosote does as it is a wood preservative and is commonly used to elongate the life of wood support. However, creosote has its own sets of issues. It is toxic and can have negative health effects on the individual using it if it is not used in a safe manner. Creosote is the most common product utilized to preserve wood in North America, but It also is very detrimental to the environment. 

When creosote is applied to a wood support, it can slowly release and travel with the water until it reached the ground. It moves through the soil until it reached the groundwater, where it can take many years to break down, all while harming the environment. Creosote can also enter the air and build up in plants and animals such as snails, shellfish, and oysters. 


While the initial cost of using wood as a rooftop support may be lower, the potential to have to spend more money down the road is increased. Not only will you have to replace the wooden supports regularly to ensure they have not deteriorated or damaged your roof, but you put your roof at a higher risk of potential damage. Modern technologies such as the C-Port recycled rubber rooftop support line will survive both the test of time and hold up against the elements ensuring your roof, pipes, and other rooftop equipment remain in working order. Overall, the original investment of a modern solution may be higher but in the long run, your savings will well make up for the upfront cost. 

Alternative Options to Wooden Rooftop Supports 

Wooden rooftop supports are an outdated technology that can not only cause unexpected damages to your roof but also to your wallet. Clearline Technologies has created and perfected an alternative rooftop support to wooden supports in its C-Port line. Using recycled tires, C-Port products are non-penetrating rooftop support that is UV-protected additives to ensure that your supports will hold up in the rain, snow, and sun. To explore our product line and add life to your roof, check out the link below or give us a call at 866-444-0009. 

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