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Holes drilled to apply depot, supplementary or remedial treatments should be on vertical surfaces or undersides, where possible, to avoid creating additional routes for moisture entry. In the case of supplementary treatment, cut ends should be placed so they are not in ground contact where possible.

Holes for treatment should not be drilled below ground level if it can possibly be avoided. All holes should be closed with a tight-fitting plug. Ideally this should be removable to allow re-treatment. Holes for water-soluble treatments should be placed in the right locations to intercept moisture close to its points of entry. Look carefully at the structure and think about moisture sources, water traps, moisture entry points, moisture flow and signs of moisture entry.

Moisture sources include direct rainfall, diverted rainfall (via windows, cladding, balcony and walkway surfaces, roof overhangs, flashing, parapets, eavestroughs and downspouts), rain penetration of moisture barriers via nail holes, splits, failure of joints or deterioration of caulking, rain splash, blowing snow, ice dams, condensation, concrete foundations, soil contact, irrigation systems, drain and plumbing leaks.

Water traps include metal “shoes”, V joints, checks, appressed boards, cupped horizontal surfaces and anywhere a rim is created at the edge of a horizontal surface. Accumulation of dirt and debris often indicates a water trap. Growth of algae also indicates locations where moisture hangs around longer after rain.

Moisture entry points include all locations with end grain, around nails, screws and bolts plus any other holes or penetrations, checks and delaminations.

Moisture flow in wood may be 100 to 1000 times faster along than across the grain. Patterns of moisture distribution in wood are therefore commonly elongated cones or lens shapes centred on the point of entry.

Signs of moisture entry include swelling, darker colouration, fungal stain, iron stain around fasteners, nail popping and flaking of film-forming surface finishes. Confirmation of moisture contents conducive to decay can be made using electrical-resistance type moisture meters. Capacitance-type moisture meters may also be useful, but these can give erroneous results in the area of metal fittings.