When it comes to wood rot, you don’t want to play around. Once you’ve noticed it, acting swiftly can be the difference between spending a little bit of money to get it fixed and spending a lot.
In this article, we will show you how wood rot can affect your home and when and how you can fix it to strengthen your home.
What is Wood Rot and What Causes It?
Wood rot is pretty much what it sounds like it would be – weaknesses in your home’s wooden structure where the wood is rotting away. Wood rot is actually caused by fungi that eats away at the cellulose fibers of wood, which are the pieces that give wood its rigidity. You’ll know that wood rot is affecting your home when you notice the loss of this rigidity.
There are two types of wood rot: dry rot and wet rot.
Wet rot occurs when the wood’s moisture content reaches 50% or above. This can happen in situations where there is a large amount of water from a leak or the like. Despite its name, dry rot cannot occur when wood is completely dry. Instead, dry rot can occur in wood with as little as a 20% moisture content.
What are Signs of Wood Rot
Depending on if you have wet or dry wood rot, you should notice different signs that will lead you to conclude you have wood rot.
In the case of wet rot, you will notice signs such as:
- Cracking wood
- Weakened wood
- Discolored wood
- Softened or spongy wood
- A damp or musty smell
- Noticeable fungal growth
Dry rot, on the other hand, has a tendency to take longer to form and form in spots that aren’t always noticeable at first. Dry rot occurs when you have high moisture or poor ventilation. One early sign that dry rot is possible is if you experience condensation on your windows. If you live in a high humidity area, make sure to properly ventilate your home as much as possible.
If your home is experiencing dry rot, you may notice:
- A damp or musty smell
- Brittle wood that can crumble in your hand
- Gray strands on timber
- Patches of spore dust from the fungi
Can Wood Rot Be Fixed?
Yes and no. It depends entirely on how much rot you are talking about and how much the wood in your structure has already been weakened. Wood rot can quickly become a safety hazard and a legal liability for your family and for guests.
Because of the extent of damage caused by wet rot, wood that suffers from this quite often requires complete replacement. However, if you catch wet rot and dry rot in time, it can be fixed as long as there’s not too much structural damage.
If the damage to the wood is minor and you’re able to fix it yourself, follow these steps:
Remove the rot.
First, remove the rotted areas of wood being careful not to damage surrounding wood. If you find that you need to remove a whole board, replace it with a new board.
Fill the hole you’ve created.
Once you’ve removed the rotten parts, apply the hold you’ve created with wood hardener, filler, or epoxy. These substances will help strengthen the damaged area. Follow the manufacturer directions that it comes with for best results.
Shape and smooth.
Press the filler firmly into the hole with a putty knife. If needed, carve the filler to make it fit in the needed space and to make it more attractive. Generally, there’s a 10 to 15 minute window for shaping and smoothing before the substance hardens.
Seal the wood.
Once you’ve repaired the wood, be sure to seal it to protect it from further moisture damage.
While it may seem pretty easy to repair wood rot, keep in mind that the best thing you can do is try to avoid it altogether. This means making sure wooden surfaces are properly sealed and fix any leaks that may be going on in your home or with your gutter system.
For help with fixing wood rot or any other project to beautify and improve your home, call Dependable Home Services to discuss how our experts can help!