Wood rot is a form of fungal decay that can affect the wood in almost any setting.
Because wood contains a certain level of moisture, it attracts fungi and provides a suitable breeding ground for it. Besides, homes that are made of wood, even if only parts of it, are vulnerable to wood rot because certain parts of the home can eventually become damp through the regular wear and tear of the years.
Wood rot can occur in any area of the home, such as the structural beams, door trim, exterior trim, and windowsills. Its symptoms usually come in the form of cross cuboidal cracking or mycelium on the surface of the wood.
Every property that has wood will eventually experience dry rot issues mainly with the exterior wood members, like decks, fascia boards, trims, and siding.
Throughout the wilds of nature, wood rot is an important part of the decomposition process. It turns fallen logs into nutrient-rich soil. However, few things in this world send homeowners or potential homeowners into a tizzy faster than finding it in their home or prospective home.
Wood rot can lead to structural problems that could spell disaster for your most important investment. These include but are not limited to deteriorating support posts and or beams, wood rot in wood floor decking, floor and ceiling joists, and damaged roof decking. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair the rotted wood.
Wood is possibly the most common building material in use today. Therefore it is eminently important to know what causes wood rot and how to prevent it, and to know what to do if you find it in your home, as wood rot is most often very hard to find as it can be hidden from view under flooring, behind wallboard, or siding.
Dry rot is a menace and tends to develop indoor and window frames, shutters, places where wood siding meets masonry, and other non-weight bearing surfaces. It is caused by uncontrollable weather conditions or leakages in your plumbing and roof, along with other reasons.
Every house has costs: Cost to buy, property tax cost, and cost to maintain, these are the big three on the list. The first two are what they are. The cost to buy is negotiable, the property tax is not (save for choosing where to buy), but the maintenance is by far the most malleable, and far and away from the most overlooked and least thought about. Thus, we have deferred maintenance on the very thing that provides us with shelter and a place to call home.
At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer timber repairs work from simple timber repair to almost new structures, renovations, and extensions.
What is Dry Rot?
Dry rot is caused by microscopic fungi that grow in a moist environment. The fungi digest the fibres that give wood its strength, then move on to a fresh area, leaving damaged and rotted wood behind. If infected wood is not repaired or replaced quickly, the fungus will spread. Dry rot can be found in exterior materials like wood siding or a deck, or a kitchen or bathroom subfloor or wall framing if there’s even a slight ongoing leak.
Wood with dry rot might be white and spongy if still wet, or brown and crumbly if dried out. In advanced cases, large flat mushroom-like fruiting bodies may grow through plaster or paint. Earlier signs of dry rot include cracked, blistered or peeling paint, or wood that appears darker than the surrounding area or green with algae.
So what causes rotting wood?
Moisture lingering on wood will ultimately cause the fibres of the wood to deteriorate. Unprotected wood or wood with imperfections in the protective coating is susceptible to rot.
How do I find rotten wood?
To find spots of rotting wood:
- Get a screwdriver and start inspecting the boards on the exterior of your home.
- Start by checking boards lowest to the ground and along your roofline.
- Check the seams where two boards meet.
Most rot is visible in plain sight, but often will be hidden. Remember that as you inspect, wood should never be soft when pressed. Use the tip of a screwdriver to press into questionable areas. If it gives, you should repair it. Cracks that appear to be folding in are a clear sign of rot.
What are the most common carpentry repairs for wood rot?
Trim boards that have chipping paint and loose caulking are the most commonplace to find rot. Typically these will be cedar boards or LP SmartSide trim boards. These are the most common trim building materials here in Indianapolis. With cedar, you will see splitting and deterioration, with LP trim you’ll see the board getting thicker from the moisture intake. Homeowners who do not repaint their exterior regularly are likely to discover these trim rot issues.
How do I prevent rot?
Keeping water and wood separate is the only sure way to prevent wood rot. Regular painting and caulking and using preventative building materials will help to keep your home safe.
Moving forward, consider additional changes to your home where you have found rot. Building materials you can commonly find here in Indianapolis such as fibre cement or PVC will stand up to moisture better than cedar trim or LP SmartSide trim.
What to do if you find wood rot?
If you find rotten wood on the exterior of your home, repairs are necessary. You can choose to attack the problem on your own or hire a professional. The team at CertaPro Painters of Indianapolis are experts in wood repairs and replacements. Get an estimate now! For more photos of what examples of wood rot on a home in your neighbourhood looks like visit our carpentry repairs page.
Wood rot repair overview
Depending on the size of the job and what caused the wood rot, many of these jobs can be performed by either a general handyman, painter or even a pest control company if the damage were due to pests. However, if the wood rot is extreme and a good portion of your siding, deck, porch or any other large structure needs to be partially replaced, then it’s a good idea to contact a contractor who specializes in that field.
A simple dry rot repair is relatively straightforward. The affected wood will be scraped away, and the area will be drilled in a honeycomb pattern to help the epoxy penetrate through the decayed area. This epoxy liquid will settle in the holes and will be allowed to cure and dry. Once dry, a putty-like epoxy will be used to fill in the missing area, and as it dries, it will harden to create a smoother surface that blends in with the natural wood. This process is only used for smaller jobs. If the job were much bigger, such as replacing deck boards or porch posts, then the wood will be completely removed and replaced.
Do I Need Wood Rot Repair?
For those who’re unfamiliar with it, wood rot is characterized by mouldy or dead wood that has been damaged by high humidity and water or has been attacked by insects. The main causes of rotten wood in the home are insects, mildew, mould, and leaks, and the best solution is to have it repaired completely, rather than patching up the problem.
What Causes Wood Rot?
Wood rot is a form of decay triggered by the combination of moisture and fungi. Ideally, for fungi to take up residence, the wood has to be constantly damp. Fungi cannot and will not grow on dry wood. There are almost 5 million different types of fungi that exist all around us. They are in the air, the soil and sadly there is no escaping them for they are everywhere. Some types of fungi, like yeast and mushrooms, are beneficial and edible, while others can be quite destructive, and let’s face it disgusting. The types that trigger wood rot are loosely classified by the general effects they have on wood.
- Brown Rot: This type of rot is, more often than not, called “dry rot”. This is because the wood often appears dry. Brown-rot fungi target cellulose(the chief constituent of the cell walls of plants and wood) in the wood’s structure. As the cell walls are destroyed, the wood contracts turn brown and break into small cube-shaped chunks. Brown rot grows best at temps between 65 and 90 degrees F, and once it begins growing, it tends to spread very rapidly.
- White Rot: Wood that takes on a white or light yellowish colour and feels spongy, probably has white rot. As you know, brown rot affects cellulose. White-rot fungi break down lignin (a complex organic polymer deposited in the cell walls of many plants, making them rigid and woody), leaving the light-coloured cellulose behind. Like brown rot, white rot grows in temps between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Soft Rot: Soft-rot fungi decomposes wood more slowly than the other two types of fungi, but thrives in temperatures too hot and too cold for the other types to survive. It grows in temps between 0 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Soft-rot fungi break down the cellulose, leaving the wood with a hollow honeycomb-like appearance. It is usually found in downed trees, not commonly in houses. However, it can strike a home if the conditions are favourable.
Sometimes minor repairs can be done by thoroughly cleaning an area and using epoxy, epoxy fillers or other fillers. Some of the most widely used fillers include the use of epoxy and or an epoxy consolidant. However, simply filling a void with epoxy is not the most structurally sound way to repair rotten wood. Epoxy does have its uses in finishing details on a project. You cannot consider epoxy or epoxy fillers a structural repair method.
So we conclude that simply repainting the wood after using epoxy, epoxy fillers or any filler for that matter, isn’t necessarily going to fix the issue. This is because the high-quality structural wood rot repair solutions include having the wood replaced by a qualified professional.
Check out our range of timber repairs Melbourne at Hitch Property Constructions.
For a durable repair, call the experts.
Most of the time, prolonged exposure to moisture can cause fungus to start growing on the wood, and that may cause it to deteriorate. The fungus that has been allowed to fester means rotting wood ultimately becomes inevitable. This is especially true in the ever-changing climate of Florida, without proper maintenance.
We Stop and Repair Wood Rot from Devaluing Your Home
Even though rotting wood is an unpleasant surprise for more homeowners since they don’t tend to notice it when the wood starts rotting initially, however, once you do notice the rot, you should act fast to get it repaired or replaced immediately, as ignoring it is dangerous. That’s because in wood the rot spreads, and if left untreated, it will weaken the structure of your home. A bad case of rotten wood can also cause the value of your home to drop significantly, which is why it’s important to get in touch with professionals quickly when you notice rot in your home.
Where to Inspect for Wood Rot?
It’s not that difficult to identify rot as it is very visible once it starts spreading. Some of the places you should be inspecting your wood for rot are:
- Exterior door thresholds and window sills
- Exterior door casings and windows
- The underside of the roof decking
- Roof framing
- Fascia and rake boards
- The crawlspace under the porch
How and When Should I Look for Signs of Wood Rot?
You should make it a priority to check your home for signs of wood rot annually, and the perfect time to do this is during your pre-winter weatherproofing tasks or while spring cleaning. You’ll need a long-handle screwdriver and a good flashlight.
- Inspect wood siding around and beneath windows. You should look for signs of swelling or discolouration. Note: paint can hide wood rot, so poke the siding with the tip of the screwdriver. The wood should be solid and firm. So, if the screwdriver sinks into the wood, you’ve got a definite wood rot problem.
- Using a bright flashlight, check the attic looking for discoloured wood. If any is found, perform the screwdriver test. Prime spots in the attic for wood rot are on the underside of the roof decking, in the joints where the wood members connect, and at the edges of the attic where the rafters slope down to form the eaves.
- Examine walls and floors underneath sinks, around tubs and showers, and the water heater. If you find moisture or mould growth, the wood floor plates behind the wall are at risk of wood rot. The only sure way to find out is to remove a section of the wallboard and check the wood behind.
Can I Treat or Repair Rotted Wood?
Softwood damaged by wood rot is not salvageable and should be replaced as soon as possible to keep the rot from spreading. That’s when you call Above All Leveling for all of your Wood Rot Repair needs.
At Above All Leveling we are experienced in these repairs and have experts who can identify additional damage in your home. Call us now for inspections for your home or business.
Wood Rot Repair at the Source
There are various factors that may cause this type of deterioration in the roof of your home, and it’s important to identify and understand these problems, so that wood rot repairs are made quickly. Here are some of the main sources of wood rot on your roof:
Damaged Roofing Materials
This damage is mainly caused by water, and there’s no better way for water to get into the roof than through torn, missing, or cracked shingles. It’s important to address roof leaks quickly and get roof repairs done properly so that there’s no risk of a roof leak that may end up causing your wood to become rotten.
The roof of your home is more than just a barrier against the elements, as its also a ventilation system for your house. A properly vented roof is going to expel water vapour inside the home and is crucial to keeping moisture content safe for building materials.
Misaligned or Clogged Gutters
If the gutters of your home are clogged or misaligned a lot of water can enter your house and seep into the ground around the foundation, and cause settling. Settling leads to foundation repair. Therefore, it’s important to install gutters and be sure to maintain and clean those gutters to ensure that rainwater drains nowhere near your home.
Preventative measures can be taken to arrest the development of wood rot and keep it from getting a foothold in your home. These measures include the use of caulk in the cracks around windows and door frames and where wood siding meets masonry. These actions can help mitigate the need for wood rot repair later.
How much does it cost to repair wood rot?
The cost to repair wood rot will depend on the extent of the damage, the affected location, the professional you decide to hire and where you live. With so many variables, the price of a repair could range as little as $150 to replace porch support to as much as $25,000+ to replace a wrap-around porch. Because there are so many variables, consider receiving multiple quotes for free from licensed contractors in your area by using HomeAdvisor.com. Here, you describe your job and contractors will contact you with a no-obligation quote.
For instance, if you had to replace some existing siding that has wood rot could cost $100 to $1,500, but most jobs, according to siding contractors, will be about $200 to $600 or about $5 to $8 per square foot, with a $150 to $250 job minimum before they even accept the job.
As for replacing a few deck planks on an average-sized deck, the costs could be in the $400 to $1,000 range, but if the deck had to be completely rebuilt, this could skyrocket well into the $5,000 to $10,000+ range, depending on the deck’s size.
To fix wood rot around a window, the average cost can be around $180 to $400, depending on the window and the extent of the repair.
Another common wood rot fix is often seen on the front porch, where the posts are often replaced due to rot. Replacing one or two posts could cost about $200 to $600, but again, if the porch were in poor condition, the costs could reach well into the thousands, depending on the size.
Small roof repairs, commonly seen around the fascia, can be close to $150 to $400 or $50 to $100 per hour.
Lastly, if the wood within the walls were rotting, the costs, again, depending on the extent of the damage, can be about $300 to more than $1,500 per 10 to 20 feet.
Again, these are all averages and can greatly vary depending on your circumstances. Replacing a deck, for instance, will be much more than taking out a few planks and replacing them. Be sure to talk with local contractors to get an exact quote.
Tips to know:
Wood rot comes in three types, namely: brown rot, white rot, and soft rot. All these types can significantly lead to structural damage. Brown rot, which usually results in dry, fine wood, incapacitates the wood from supporting any weight, eventually leading to the crumbling of the structure. White rot turns the wood’s colour into a grey, white, or yellowish hue, resulting in a fibrous wood. Soft rot, which is least common of the three, attacks wood shingles in wet areas.
Once you notice wood rot in your home, you should remove all of the affected wood and repair the damage; otherwise, it will eventually cause leaks in your home, or it can invite mould, carpenter ants, termites, and other house-destroying pests into your home.
Usually, the damage caused by dry rot is not covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance; however, they may cover it if it were due to a natural disaster such as a flood or earthquake. It doesn’t hurt to talk with your homeowner’s insurance company to see what they will and will not cover.
We have a wide range of Melbourne timber repairs for your home renovations. Check out Hitch Property Constructions.
How can I save money?
For smaller jobs, consider a simple DIY kit, which includes everything you need in order to resolve the issue. These kits can cost less than $30 and will use a water-based hardener, epoxy paste and putty to restore the wood to its original look.
To avoid wood rot, you should paint your home every three to five years and apply a wood rot treatment on all exposed wood inside and outside of your home.
Since moisture attracts fungi that eventually cause the wood rot, the best thing for you to do is prevent water or any moisture from seeping into your home. You can do this by resolving drainage problems, sealing cracks, or fixing plumbing leaks at home. If you’re unsure, consider talking with a home inspector to have them look for any troubling spots.
As with any repair, always get as many estimates as possible before deciding to hire someone. Aside from the price, also focus on their reviews, references and any past work they have done.