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Your Questions About Wood Rot Repair Answered

In the United States and around the world, timber is one of the most commonly used building materials and it’s not too difficult to understand why. Wood is durable, strong, long-lasting, easy to work with, renewable, and beautiful.

In fact, wood really only has one major weakness—rot. It doesn’t just have a gross appearance, it can also seriously threaten the structure of your entire home and cost you a lot of money.

You may suspect that your house is in need of wood rot repair, or maybe you’re wondering how to check for rot. What are the signs and causes? How can you get rid of it? We’ll answer those pressing questions below.

What Is Wood Rot?

Simply put, it is decay caused by fungal growth in damp timber. There are dozens of types of fungus that can cause rotted wood, but there’s two main categories that generally affect homes: white and brown rot.

White rot causes timber to lighten in color, leaving it white or yellowish. It also gives a spongy or stringy texture. It prefers to grow in temperatures ranging from 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, making the room temperature of most homes an ideal breeding ground.

Brown rot is also called dry rot, though it’s not actually dry. It causes the lumber to shrink, turn a dark brown color, and break into cube-shaped chunks through a process called cubical fracture. Like the white variant, these fungi like to grow in temperatures of 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. But, the brown variant is more aggressive because, unlike the white, it is able to travel across or through other materials like masonry.

What Causes Wood Rot?

The growth of fungi is what causes rotted wood, and the fungus needs certain conditions to be met in order for it to get started. It needs oxygen, warmth, and moisture.

With a moisture content of 20% or greater, lumber can start to decay and eventually rot. Since you can’t remove oxygen or warmth from the equation, it can be said that moisture is the critical cause.

Where Is It Found in a Home?

Because a high moisture content is required, rot causing fungi are often found in kitchens and bathrooms where the lumber is exposed to spilled or leaking water, or humid air. However, it’s important to remember that fungi often grow in hidden places throughout a house, such as inside walls or floors, where they can’t easily be seen.

Typical places that are the target of wood rot include:

  • Under sinks

  • Frames around windows and doors

  • Basement

  • Attic

  • Deck or porch

  • Fences

  • Wood siding or paneling

  • Steps

  • Eaves

How Do I Check My Home?

Thoroughly examining your home for signs of wood rot is a chore, but it’s worthwhile to do an annual inspection because of how severe the damage can get when it’s left unchecked.

The list of possible locations above is a good start, but there may be other vulnerable places to consider as well. Think of all the places in your home where you can see or touch wood, including hard-to-reach areas like crawlspaces.

If you’re not up for the challenge of climbing and crawling all over your house, trust Mr. Handyman of Central - Eastern Norfolk County and S. Shore to complete your annual inspection and maintenance. As a locally owned and operated business, we’re familiar with the way homes are built and maintained in this area, and we have the experience to know where decay can be lurking.

Take a Good Look

Grab a flashlight and screwdriver and start checking your timber for visible clues. The key things you’re looking for are:

  • Patches of discoloration that are darker or lighter than the surrounding material

  • Chunks or “sawdust” falling away from the main structure

  • Texture changes where it appears spongy, stringy, or webbed with cracks

  • Cube-shaped bits breaking off

  • If it’s very advanced, you might see fungus that’s either relatively flat or looks like little mushrooms sprouting up from the surface

Try the Screwdriver Test

When you see an area that you think might be rotting, there’s a simple way to verify your hunch: take your screwdriver and press it against the timber. If it sinks right in with little or no resistance, you’ve got rotting wood.

I Found Wood Rot, What Do I Do?

So your suspicions are confirmed—your timber is suffering from wood rot. For a number of reasons, this can be difficult to cope with on your own. When you’re not experienced in dealing with it, it’s easy to misidentify or not see areas of the problem.

But, depending on the severity of the infestation, there are some things you can do to speed the repair process along.

Stop the Moisture

There’s no point in doing anything else until you’ve stopped water from reaching the timber, because if you treat the rotting area and it remains damp, the fungi will quickly return. Stopping the water source could be a matter of sealing leaks and cracks, caulking window and door frames, or installing ventilation fans in the bathroom. You’ll also need to dry out the area, which can be helped with a dehumidifier.

Call Mr. Handyman to Repair and Replace Rotted Wood

When the damage has advanced to the point where the lumber has softened, changed texture, or crumbled away, it needs to be handled by an experienced professional handyman. The friendly folks at Mr. Handyman will examine your home carefully to find all instances of decay and assess the damage.

We’ll then explain our findings to you clearly and recommend a course of action that will not only eliminate the problem but stop it from happening again. This could mean removing the affected material entirely and replacing it with new timber, or removing rotten patches and filling in the gaps with epoxy or polyester filler.

Trust Mr. Handyman to Eliminate Wood Rot From Your Home!

Wood is the perfect building material for so many reasons, and if we’re vigilant in protecting against rot, our homes will stand the test of time and can last for centuries. From annual maintenance inspections to replacing rotten timber, rely on the experts at Mr. Handyman of Central - Eastern Norfolk County and S. Shore to eliminate decaying wood from your home.

Give us a call today at 508-465-2092, or fill out the request service form, and we’ll be at your door with a smile!