What is Wood Rot & How Do You Stop it From Affecting Your Home?

Around the world, wood rot is a very serious problem for homes, and many home owners find themselves dealing with rotted wood at some point or another. It is also something which people routinely check for before they commit to purchasing real estate, which is smart, because depending on the state of the wood rot, it can be expensive and time consuming to fix.

Wood rot is a type of fungal decay in wood. The damp wood allows the spores to establish themselves and grow using the wood as a food source.

Any time wood is allowed to get moist and stay moist, you can expect to get wood rot. Proper ventilation of wooden structures is very important, to keep fresh air blowing across the wood so that it stays dry, and wood-to-ground contact generally must be avoided, as wood which sits on the soil will eventually attract fungi, which in turn will cause wood rot.

How to identify it

There are two main kinds of wood rot which affect homes. These are easily distinguished by texture and color of the damaged wood.

  1. White Rot attacks mainly hardwoods and causes a white or yellow discoloration by attacking the lignin in the wood. Over time, the wood will develop a spongy touch.
  2. Brown Rot attacks mainly softwoods and causes the wood to turn a dark brown color. Brown rot is often called “brown cubical rot” because of the way the wood can split across the grain, giving a checkerboard appearance or it may break off in cubes. Brown rot weakens wood very rapidly, causing the wood to be very dry and powdery, hence the misleading nickname “dry rot.”

Usual areas of wood rot damage to homes:

  1. Attic and roof space
  2. Floors
  3. Windows and doors
  4. Decks and porches
  5. Kitchens
  6. Bathrooms
  7. Basements or crawl spaces

So if you are worried about your home I would look for signs in these areas first. Or call a specialist out to do a full inspection for you.

How do you prevent or stop this from happening to your home?

Moisture control is the key to preventing wood decay fungi from causing rot. Most wood decay fungi need a moisture content of at least 20% to survive. There are non-chemical and chemical means of moisture control to prevent wood decay fungi.

Preventing wood rot is just as important as treating it. The key to deterrence is to control the wood’s exposure to moisture by providing adequate ventilation and water drainage.

  • Make sure your home is on a well-drained site and if not make it one.
  • Install or make sure your home has roof overhang, gutters, etc. to prevent water from seeping under the house.
  • Dehumidifiers should be used in basements with moisture levels above 50%.
  • Handle any plumbing leaks quickly.
  • Clean out your rain gutters regularly.
  • Fix roof leaks right away.

If you notice any wood rot in your home, you should handle it right away. If it is left alone it will only grow and cause more damage to your home and be much more expensive to fix than if you handle it right away. So make sure to call your contractor or wood rot specialist to get it fixed right away. The last thing you want to do as a home owner is let wood rot continue to cause damage to your home.

Also, please take a look at Structural Wood Rot for a short description of a job we were called to where we had to repair this problem.

I hope this blog was helpful. If you have any questions on wood rot or construction, feel free to give us a call at (818) 841-8600. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

RWT Design & Construction

Romney Tripp of RWT Design & Construction“Romney Tripp started construction in 1977 and formed RWT Design & Construction in 1992, eventually setting up the shop in Burbank. From the mid 1980’s Romney has been working on building recording studios as well as… Read more.”

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