Dry rot is also known as brown rot and can ruin any type of wood anywhere in or out of your home. There is a certain fungus that causes the wood to decay and rot and exposure to excessive moisture is almost always the reason why the fungi has occurred. The parts of the wood that become affected by the fungus are the parts of the wood that provide strength and stiffness. When wood is weak it’s typically dry. This is how this problem got the name-dry rot.
Early Signs; What Does Dry Rot Look Like?
Dry rot only takes a hold of wood that is damp and has a moisture content that exceeds 20%. If moisture can’t be controlled and/or the fungus takes over, the wood needs to be treated to inhibit the fungus from growing. The dry rot fungus is a busy one and moves water from wet areas to dry areas. This allows the fungus to grow and infect wood that is dry. If this continues, the fungus will weaken the wood to a point that it can totally disintegrate. Wood that is weak can look brittle and have a blocky appearance. This fungus will start off looking like cotton wool and might have drops of water on the surface. The wood can look sunken or shrunken. Affected wood might have a flat “skin-like” growth that might look mushroom-like and be silver and gray in color. It may also have patches of light purple or yellow and will peel away easily. Cracks and dark areas in the wood are another sign or dry rot.
Dry Rot Treatment
Removing the source of moisture needs to be the center of any dry rot eradication plan. Dry rot damage can be treated with epoxy treatments that work by killing the dry rot fungus and restoring the woods structural integrity. Boric acid, or borate, is a great fungicide (a pesticide that kills fungus) against the dry rot fungus. Commercial anti-freeze can also be effective in the prevention of dry rot and can kill the fungus. Some copper compounds (typically green in color) can be purchased and are brushed on affected areas. This will be done when new wood is spliced in during the repair process. After the repair is complete and most of the rotten wood has been removed the surface was will be saturated with this compound before any new wood is added.
Dry Rot Prevention
Preventing dry rot is easier than you think. The most important step to take in prevention is limiting the amount of moisture that the wood in your home is exposed to.
1. Wood siding needs to be sealed properly and installed by professionals.
2. Roofs need to be checked once a year to spot and prevent potential water damage, mold or dry rot.
3. Plumbing leaks can be a common cause or dry rot so prevent these leaks by finding them and repairing them.
4. Ventilation is important, so check your bathrooms, kitchen and attic to make sure there isn’t too much moisture in the air.
5. If you have a deck you need to make sure it’s sealed properly.