Wood suffering from dry rot is not dry. It’s infested with a fungus that thrives when the wood is repeatedly in contact with water. The organism needs air, warmth and moisture to reproduce.
Check the condition of the wood on your home’s exterior. Are the windowsills free of splits? Is the siding free of cracks? Are the casing and the sill joints still solid? Are the thresholds sound and firm?
If you’ve answered “no” to any of those questions, you probably have some fungus-infected, rotted wood. If left untreated, it can lead to major, expensive repairs.
You got an inspection when you bought your property, and you always fix plumbing repairs. But despite your best upkeep efforts, your siding is cracking because of something called dry rot. You could try to fix it yourself, but if the wood affected by rot has structural significance, you’d better leave it to the professionals. Dry rot repairs can get expensive. Is it worth it?
Some wood rot can be fixed quickly. On the other hand, if a large area of timber needs to be replaced, repairs can easily exceed $10,000. Depending on the state of your finances and what else is wrong with the home, you might want to sell the home fast and start over somewhere else. That’s where California Family Homebuyers comes in. We will buy your property as-is, for cash, and we can often get you money within a week.
Here is how to spot dry rot and how to decide when to hold onto the property… and when it’s time to fold up and move on.
No one wants damp or rot to occur in their property, but unfortunately it does happen. Dry rot can be caused by many issues, which will be listed along with the signs, effects and cost of treating dry rot.
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 (also known as wood rot) is a type of fungus that attacks the timber and masonry of your home with devastating results. Paying for dry rot repair costs today can save you a lot of money down the line.
The technical name for dry rot is serpula lacrymans, the worst type of fungal decay. Dry rot spores are commonly found in the air, lying in wait to infect your house. Initially, dry rot will target the wood in your home, but it will also spread to plaster and masonry if not treated.
Caused by damp, rising damp and condensation, once the moisture level in timber reaches 20%, dry rot begins to take hold. It can look fluffy like cotton wool and will eventually grow into mushrooms. Once this happens, the dry rot spores can spread through the air to other parts of your property.
What is Dry Rot and How Can I Spot It?
First things first: how do you know if you have a home with dry rot in Sacramento? The name of this wood condition is a little deceiving. In reality, dry rot requires a moisture content of about 20% before it takes hold. Dry rot is the result of a wood fungus that makes your home’s timber brittle. There are four main stages:
- Microscopic spores that show up as fine orange dust.
- The spores grow into hyphae, which looks like fine white cotton strands.
- The hyphae will form a larger white mass called mycelium.
- Dry rot will eventually allow a large fruiting body to grow on your wood (kind of like a mushroom).
By the time you notice dry rot, it may be in one of the final stages. You may also spot it when there is a sunken area on your porch, wood siding that is cracking and chipping away, or wood panels that appear to be shrinking. Dry rot can occur where moisture naturally happens (like a porch that gets drenched with rain), or as the result of a plumbing flood. Either way, it’s bad news.
What Does it Take to Repair Dry Rot?
The first option when you realise you have dry rot is to call up a wood rot repair specialist in Sacramento. As we mentioned above, this can get quite expensive. Because dry rot comes from fungus spores, if you don’t remove the entire affected area, the fungus could regrow on new wood. So, you could need to treat a pretty big area to fix the issue even if the rot is only visible on a few boards. Still, if you love your home and you have the money — fixing the dry rot could be the right answer.
When Should I Sell My Home Instead of Fixing It?
If the sticker shock of dry rot repair has your stomach doing somersaults, there is another option. You can always sell your home as-is. If you have a Sacramento home with dry rot, you’ll want to sell it fast. There are two main choices:
List your home on the market.
You could find an understanding buyer who will consider the cost of dry rot repairs and offer you the fair market price for your home minus those expenses. But people may also take advantage of you. A buyer could use this existing damage to try and low ball you. Bottom line: listing a home with dry rot on the open market could mean it sits for sale for a long time — all the while, the dry rot problem is growing.
Sell your home to a cash buyer.
The good thing about selling to a company like California Family Homebuyers is that we’ve seen it all. We can buy your home, even if it has dry rot, on a schedule that works for you. You won’t have to deal with the repairs or face foreclosure because you’re unable to sell the property. If you’re tired of living in a home that is falling apart, give us a call or send us a message online today.
Why pay to repair dry rot?
Dry rot can compromise the structural integrity of your property so should be eliminated as soon as it’s spotted. The best way to repair dry rot is to remove the affected wood or masonry and treat the remaining materials to prevent it from returning. While this may seem extreme, protecting your home from this fungus is a priority.
Dry rot is also visually unappealing, forming ugly patterns and eventually mushrooms, and can even affect your health. Hiring a professional can ensure the problem is dealt with in the most efficient way, giving you confidence that your home will be quickly repaired and protected.
If your house suffers from damp, it’s important to not only tackle the source of the moisture but also to preemptively treat dry rot, to prevent it from taking hold. No matter what your situation is, the following article aims to guide you through this scary process. We will look further into dry rot, the average dry rot repair cost and factors affecting the price you will pay.
How much does dry rot repair cost?
It’s by no means easy to eradicate dry rot in your home. As such, dry rot repair costs can be quite high. Frustratingly, this is not a problem that will go away on its own, and if you put off repairing dry rot, the problem will spread throughout your property. Therefore, treating dry rot as soon as possible is wise to keep repair costs low.
Carefully Treat Dry Rot To Avoid Expensive Fix
What to look for
Sometimes the fungus itself is visible. More often, the wood surface is brown and crumbly or whitish and spongy. Rotted wood may yield easily to the probe of an ice pick, or it may sound hollow when tapped with a hammer.
Look for dry rot in wet basements, near plumbing, and in any wood that touches the soil or is exposed to weather or water. The fungus usually enters at the end grain. The base of a foundation post, the joint of a beam and the place where a window frame butts against the sill are all likely spots.
Pay particular attention to any side of your house where wind can force water deep into a joint or crack.
Check out our range of timber repairs Melbourne at Hitch Property Constructions.
Do-it-yourself or pro?
House structural members require the services of a professional. You may be able to fix windowsills, door frames, porch rails, siding and other nonstructural wood.
At a minimum, cut away the affected area, plus 6 inches on each side, and splice in new wood. It’s generally better, however, to replace the whole piece. If the repair is done incorrectly, it may just promote further decay and damage.
Carefully saw or pry the old part away, keeping it intact if you can, for use as a pattern. Check that the area beneath is not affected. Then buy a new piece and cut it to fit.
If dry rot has infested only a small area, you can often repair it with a two-part epoxy resin system, available at hardware and boating supply stores.
First, a resin-and-hardener liquid consolidant is used to penetrate and reinforce the wood fibres. Then a second resin-and-hardener mix, a paste, is used to build up and fill in the decayed area. Once the resin dries, it can be cut, planed or sanded to match the area surrounding the repair.
- Remove all the loose, decayed wood.
- Drill a honeycomb pattern of three-sixteenth-inch holes into (but not through) the decayed wood. This allows the consolidant to penetrate and bond well with the sound wood.
- Mix the two parts of the resin in a plastic squeeze bottle. Pour the mixture slowly into the holes. Add more resin as the first dose soaks in. Over the course of several days, the resin will seep into the pores of the wood, replacing the decayed wood with plastic.
- Prepare the paste resin-and-hardener mix. Wear close-fitting vinyl gloves that protect your hands but let you feel what you’re doing.
- Apply the paste filler with a putty knife. Smooth the area flush with the surrounding wood to minimise sanding.
- After the filler dries, sand the area with fine sandpaper to prep it for painting. Wipe off all dust and residue.
- Apply an alkyd primer, making sure it covers the joint between the repair and the surrounding solid wood. Finish with two coats of latex or alkyd paint.
Caution: When working with epoxy resins and hardeners, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Wear safety goggles, vinyl gloves and a mask. And work in a well-ventilated area.
When is Dry Rot Wood Repair an Option?
In cases where the wood is less damaged, you can perform dry rot wood repair. It takes some work but maybe easier than replacing decorative or antique wood. To begin dry rot wood repair, make sure the wood is exposed and dry. Carefully remove as much of the soft, rotted wood as possible. Then fill cracks with a wood hardener. Experts recommend using a turkey baster or ketchup bottle, rather than just painting the surface.
The next and most visible step in dry rot wood repair is the wood filler. Your best bet is a high-performance two-part wood filler, which is stronger and more effective than the basic wood fillers that you might use to fill scratches and dents. Before the wood hardener has fully cured, mix the filler and push it deep into the cracks and gaps. To finish the dry rot wood repair job, you will need to sand, prime and paint the wood.
End the Cycle of Dry Rot Wood Repair
Of course, if you don’t attack the source of the moisture, you will need to repeat the dry rot repair eventually. Dampness lingering in an attic is a common and dangerous cause of dry rot, especially in humid places. To prevent more rot, add roof vents. In a bathroom, it could be a leaking fixture that needs to be repaired or replaced.
The other major cause of dry rot is condensation buildup in the HVAC system. This is particularly dangerous because your ducts could be blowing the mouldy air into your house. Dry rot wood repair can be difficult, but it is important for health and safety reasons.
Wood Rot Treatment: Dry Rot Treatment
Successful implementation of Dry Rot treatment normally involves several key factors.
The first step to good and accurate dry rot treatment is the removal of the moisture source(s), establishing a dry environment. Dry rot treatment then requires the eradication of fungal growth and replacement of defective timber elements.
Dry rot treatment (Serpula lacrymans) normally requires cutting out and disposing of defective timbers and chemical treatment to adjacent areas to eradicate fungal growth. Where masonry is affected, treatment of the brickwork may be required in the form of sterilisation or irrigation to the walls.
Irrigation is the term used to describe the eradication of Dry Rot from masonry and involves drilling the masonry and injecting a fungicidal preservative to the walls under pressure. Kenwood fungicidal biocide is used to sterilise the surfaces of masonry and the oversite.
Following the eradication of the fungus and removal of the moisture sources during the dry rot treatment, new timbers can be introduced, ensuring isolation from masonry with physical barriers and adequate ventilation to the floor voids.
Where floor voids cannot be adequately ventilated, replacement in concrete may be required.
What to Do If You Think You Have Dry Rot
If you think that there may be dry rot developing in your home, the best thing to do it get professional assistance for it. Companies who specialise in dry rot treatment have the skills and equipment necessary to locate and remove dry rot at its source. With damp and rot, it can sometimes be difficult to see the severity of the problem. When you hire a professional dry rot removal company, you are guaranteed a first-class service. A rough idea of the process includes the following steps;
- Identifying the type and severity of the dry rot
- Determine the cause
- Propose a rot survey and solution to the problem
- Remove any wood or plaster damaged for affected by the dry rot
- Replace removed timber with new, treated timber
- Give advice on any additional steps (if any) that should be carried out
- Leave your property clean and safe
We have a wide range of Melbourne timber repairs for your home renovations. Check out Hitch Property Constructions.
Factors affecting the cost to fix dry rot
Dry rot can be time-consuming and difficult to eliminate, meaning high repair costs. The actual price you will pay for repairs will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Severity: The more serious and extensive the infestation in your home, the higher the cost to fix wood rot will be.
- Size of area: Larger areas affected by dry rot will be harder and more expensive to treat.
- Number of areas: Dry rot can affect several areas of your property. The more areas to be repaired, the greater the amount you will pay.
- Material: Repairs of wood, masonry and plaster will differ in the methods used, and the dry rot repair cost will reflect this.
- Cause: Leaking gutters can cause dry rot, cracks in walls, rising damp and poor ventilation. You will need to pay extra to remedy these issues as well as treat the dry rot. Otherwise, the fungus will likely return.
- Ease of access: Where the wood rot infection is will affect the price you pay. Difficult to access areas will usually mean longer labour times and a higher cost to fix the dry rot.
- Experience of tradesperson: When hiring a professional, the amount you pay will usually reflect the experience of that person. Tradespeople who are more experienced at dealing with dry rot may be expensive but will mean a better-quality job will be done.
If you have any questions about wood rot treatment – either wet rot treatment or dry rot treatment –, please feel free to get in touch with. As is the case with any potential for serious issues when it comes to housing, and things that could have huge structural effects on your property, it’s best to get a professional to assess the situation as soon as possible. Book a survey today!