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Does Your Home Need Wood Rot Repair? Here's How to Tell

In our beautiful county, more than 90% of homes are constructed with timber, with good reason. It's plentiful, beautiful, renewable, durable, and strong. We've been using it as building material since ancient times, so we have a pretty good idea of how to work with it. In fact, timber really only has one weakness, and it's a big one: dreaded wood rot.

Over the course of our long history with timber we've developed some techniques for wood rot repair; yet decay is still a thorn in the side of homeowners everywhere. It can take an experienced eye to know where to look in order to find it in the early stages before it causes serious structural damage to your house.

But what exactly is wood rot? What causes it, and where is a house subject to decay? How do you know if your timber is rotting? We'll answer those questions below and give you the information you need to hunt down wood rot in your home.

If and when you find rotted lumber, don't let it fester! Call our experts at Mr. Handyman of Dallas for thorough and efficient wood rot repair so you can rest easy knowing your home is safe and sound.

What is Wood Rot and What Causes It?

Basically, it is decay caused by fungal growth in damp timber. There are numerous species of fungi that attack wood, but the two types that usually affect homes are loosely categorized as white rot and brown rot. Another common term for brown rot is "dry rot," but that can be confusing because it's not actually dry.

Both types prefer to grow in temperatures ranging from 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning the indoor temperature of most homes is ideal for wood-eating fungi. But, perhaps the most critical factor is moisture. In order for the fungi to grow, it requires the timber to have a moisture content of 20% or higher. This is why timber that’s protected from dampness can last hundreds of years without rotting, while lumber that is frequently exposed to a combination of moisture and warmth is almost certain to decay sooner rather than later.

It's worth noting that while both types will effectively destroy lumber, the brown variant is considered more aggressive because, unlike the white variant, it is capable of traveling over or through other materials such as plaster or masonry. That makes it particularly difficult to eliminate because it can lie in wait on other surfaces and then simply travel back to the treated timber and re-infest it.

What are the Signs of Wood Rot?

We've all seen rotten lumber before, so you may think you know exactly what it looks and feels like. But, depending on the type of fungi and how advanced the decay is, the signs can be harder to spot than you may think.

The key signs to keep an eye out for are:

  • Discolored wood where patches of timber appear darker or lighter than the rest

  • Chunks or "sawdust" falling away from the main structure

  • Peeling paint

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

  • Bits breaking away in cube-shaped chunks (this is called cubical fracture)

  • And in very advanced cases, mushrooms growing out of the timber

Where is It Commonly Found in Homes?

Since moisture creates the right environment for wood-eating fungi to grow, the risk of wood rot is highest in the kitchen and bathroom, or out on the deck and porch, because those are the areas where timber is frequently exposed to moisture and may not have the chance to dry out properly.

Typical targets include:

  • Under and around sinks and other water fixtures

  • Entryway surfaces over doors

  • Window frames

  • Basements, especially near water heaters and laundry facilities

  • Poorly ventilated attics

  • Wooden floors near doorways or water fixtures

  • Decks and porches

  • Fences and railings

  • Outdoor stairs

  • Wooden soffit and fascia boards

  • Wooden siding or wall paneling

How to Check Your Home Thoroughly

This is the hard part. While many possible locations can be checked within minutes, some of them are not so easy. It can help to make a list of all the spots in your home where water could potentially meet timber, including hard-to-reach areas like crawlspaces and eaves. It's important to check your attic for wood rot as well, because rising heat can cause condensation in your attic creating the damp timber fungus craves.

Because it can be such an issue if it's left unchecked, take care to do an annual inspection on your home to rule out the possibility of wood rot. But, if you're not up to the task of climbing ladders, crawling into small spaces, and examining areas that are difficult to see, don't worry—Mr. Handyman can perform your annual inspection. We have the experience to know where to look; we'll leave no stone unturned to ensure your home is free and clear of decay.

Ready for instructions? Grab a flashlight and start checking all the areas you listed. Take your time and inspect the timber on all of its sides, keeping in mind the signs we listed above. If you see a suspicious patch that looks like it could be rotten, take a screwdriver or utility knife and simply press it against the piece of wood. If it sinks right in with little or no resistance, you've got rot.

When You Find Wood Rot in Your Dallas Home, Call Mr. Handyman

While you might be tempted to start picking and digging away at rotten parts on your own, quality repairs are best left to someone who has a lot of experience dealing with rotted wood—such as the team at Mr. Handyman of Dallas.

It's so easy to miss parts or neglect to sanitize the infected area completely. Amateur repairs often fail at eliminating all the decay.

Mr. Handyman will be able to take the required steps to tackle unwanted moisture at its source. Our team of professionals can seal problematic leaks and add ventilation to rooms that are exposed to humidity. We'll search your house from top to bottom and ferret out the decay so you can relax and enjoy your home.

Give us a call at 972-627-4518 or request service online, and we'll chase timber-eating fungi off your property quickly and efficiently!