How to Prevent and Repair Wood Rot in Your Tulsa Home

A close-up of an old, rotted, wooden surface in need of wood rot repairs.

Over the last few decades, materials used in Tulsa homes have changed. Materials like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and cement fiber are increasingly used in place of wood due to their affordability and durability. That being said, many homeowners still choose lumber for many areas of the interior and exterior of their homes. PVC and cement fiber don’t look like wood, no matter how much manufacturers try to mimic their design after this natural material. If your home is like 99.9% of other properties and is partly composed of lumber, you’re guaranteed to need wood rot repair in Tulsa at some point.

Rotted wood is a common issue in homes, but it can often be prevented and repaired if caught early enough. The longer you ignore the problem, the more likely it is that irreparable structural damage will occur. Your local Tulsa handyman at Mr. Handyman of Greater Tulsa can help you repair and replace rotted wood in your home before it gets out of hand.

Sometimes, identifying rot and understanding how it occurred is the hardest part. Once you’ve done this, you can decide, based on the extent of damage, whether Tulsa wood rot repair or replacement is your best course of action.

How Does Wood Rot Occur?

As its name suggests, wood rot refers to a process that takes place when wood rots or decays. Decay may be defined as a process during which dead organic matter is broken down into simpler organic units. Essentially, rotting and decaying is nature’s method of recycling.

When a tree falls, it comes into contact with damp, mossy forest floors. Here, an abundance of microscopic fungi thrive. There are many different types of fungi, but the ones that cause wood rot require moisture to survive. With enough moisture, fungal growth takes place. The fungi feed on two elements within the wood fibers: cellulose and lignin. As they consume these components, weakened wood begins to break down.

Rotten wood is caused by a few different types of rot and fungi:

  • White-rot fungi consume lignin and some cellulose. Because lignin is brown, loss of lignin causes lumber to take on a white or pale yellow hue. Depending on the exact type of fungi present, white rot will vary in texture and color. Some terms that microbiologists use to describe different textures of white rot include spongy, stringy, mottled, and laminated.
  • Brown-rot fungi leave lumber with a more intense brown hue due to preferring to consume white cellulose and leave brown lignin behind. This is the most common type of decay that requires wood rot repair in Tulsa. When rot becomes advanced, you may notice that the lumber crumbles into cube-shaped fragments.
  • Soft-rot fungi are less likely to invade your home but possible nonetheless. The hue may be brown or white, and the cellulose is normally consumed prior to lignin.

Wood rot in the interior and exterior of your home occurs in much the same way as it does in nature. In fact, the actions we take to prevent wood rot from occurring to our lumber goes against nature. Rot is much more likely to occur on the outside of your home, where your window sills, deck, porch, and wood siding are exposed to rainy days, muggy Tulsa summers, and even those occasional winter snowfalls. If lumber has not been properly treated to resist moisture, it will inevitably begin to rot.

Signs of Wood Rot

Unless you’re specifically looking for it, you may not even know that you have rot until it’s too late for wood rot repair. Tulsa property owners should keep an eye out for signs of rot that include:

  • Discolored wood
  • Warped lumber
  • Dry or powdery-looking lumber
  • Shiny, white appearance
  • Spongy texture
  • Earthy, musty smell
  • Presence of fruiting bodies (growth with a mushroom-like texture)

Preventing Wood Rot Repair in Tulsa

If you’re wondering how you can prevent needing wood rot repair in Tulsa in the first place, the answer is pretty simple—eliminate your lumber's contact with moisture. This is fairly easy indoors, but if protecting exterior lumber was as simple in practice as it sounds, homeowners would rarely have to battle rot.

Different areas of your home will require different preventative measures. The areas of your home that are at the greatest risk of decaying include:

  • Wooden decks and porches
  • Window frames and window sills
  • Wooden exterior doors
  • Roofs
  • Fascia boards
  • Wood siding
  • Other exterior trim boards
  • Basements

To prevent water damage from occurring to the above areas of your home, follow the steps below to protect your outdoor furniture and exterior trim system.

Decks and Porches

Are the posts of your deck or porch in contact with the ground? If so, your builder made a significant error. Lumber that must be in contact with the earth should rest on a metal plate and be surrounded by concrete. Not only does this help with stability, but it also keeps your lumber nice and dry.

Your wooden porch should also be painted or stained and sealed. Failing to reseal or touch up paint on outdoor wood is a leading cause of wood rot repair in Tulsa. Sealants only last a few years, and once a painted area is dented, scratched, or chipped, precipitation will be able to enter the wood fibers.

Though it’s a bit of a chore, having to stain and seal your deck every few years also presents a great opportunity to change up its color. You can use pressure washing services to clean and prep the surface of your deck or porch so that you’re all ready to reapply a new stain and sealant with minimal effort.

Basements and Crawl Spaces

To keep your basement as moisture-free as possible:

  1. Ensure you have a floor drain installed.
  2. Measure your humidity levels and purchase a dehumidifier if necessary to keep your humidity levels below 50 percent.
  3. If you have above-ground windows in your basement, consider installing a screen window to vent out the area every now and then.

Fascia Boards, Attic, and Siding

If there’s one maintenance task that all homeowners hate, it’s gutter cleaning. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most important maintenance tasks. Homeowners in Tulsa should clean their gutters at the beginning of every spring and fall. When you skip semi-annual cleaning, you risk allowing clogs to develop in your gutter system.

Clogs can inflict water damage on your home in one of two ways—by forcing water to drip over the sides of your gutters and down the fascia boards or by weighing your gutters down so much that they pull away from the fascia boards, causing water to flow between them.

Most fascia boards are made out of lumber. Although this lumber is painted, with enough exposure to water and UV rays, its paint can begin to deteriorate, leaving the wood susceptible to moisture damage. Once moist, they’ll begin to rot and, if left untreated, will allow water to enter your attic and drip down your siding. By making sure you keep your gutters clean, you can keep your entire property safe from water damage and decay.

Conducting Wood Rot Repair in Tulsa

If you notice a small area of wood rot on the interior or exterior of your home, don’t panic! The good news is that you caught it early, and whether you need to replace it or hire a Tulsa wood rot repair service technician, such as Mr. Handyman of Greater Tulsa, the problem is fixable.

When deciding whether to do a repair or replacement, consider these factors:

  • Amount of time it will take to do a repair
  • Amount of money it will cost to do a repair
  • Sentimental value of the affected wood
  • Complexity of the project
  • Proportion of wood that needs to be repaired

There are two major steps involved in wood rot repair: rot removal and filling.

Removing Rot

Whether you need to repair wood rot on deck wood or a window frame, you’ll have to remove as much rotted wood as possible first. If you leave any rot behind, the fungi will continue to spread, even after repair. The key is to remove as much original wood as is necessary and no more. It is also important to note that these wood rot repairs are for smaller areas of damage. Larger areas of wood rot will constitute board or panel replacement.

Use the end of a screwdriver or the back of a hammer to remove the bulk of the rot. Don’t use too much force here, or you may damage the healthy wood and create more work for yourself.

Once you’ve removed most of the decay, rent a router with a V-shaped bit or grab your own from your garage. Carefully sand down the area around the removed rot until you’re confident you’re left with only healthy wood.

Filling the Hole

With the decay removed, you’re ready to begin the actual repair. You’ll need the following tools and supplies:

  • Plastic putty knife
  • Sanding block (coarse sandpaper and fine sandpaper)
  • Wood filler, wood putty, and/or wood hardener, epoxy consolidant
  • Additional piece of wood

The type of product you use to fill the hole will depend on the location of your Tulsa wood rot repair. Epoxy fillers, also known as wood fillers, are great for both indoor and outdoor use. Some suggest that they are best avoided for outdoor use because they dry very hard and do not expand or contract. While this sounds like a good thing, it can result in unwanted cracking when used outdoors, as the wood around the filler will expand and contract with temperature fluctuations.

Putties are similar to fillers, except that they don’t dry quite as hard. Because they maintain some flexibility, they can expand and contract along with outdoor wood. One of the most common uses of putty is to fill in holes caused by nails.

The best solution for wood rot repair in Tulsa is a two-part epoxy system, which uses wood hardener to add structural stability back into the wood in combination with a sandable wood filler. To use this system, you'll first need to apply anywhere between four and six coats of a wood restorer to the affected area, making sure to let coats dry in between. Then, use a plastic putty knife to fill the hole. Once dry, sand with a coarse sanding block followed by a fine sanding block. From here, you can finish with a paint or stain and seal of your choice.

Replacement: When Tulsa Wood Rot Repair Isn’t Enough

Wood rot repair in Tulsa is usually a good first course of action, but sometimes you know from the get-go that repair is worth more time and money than it’s worth.

If most of your fascia boards, decking boards, or window sill are rotted, it may be difficult to achieve effective repairs. When there’s so much rot that removing decay leaves little behind, it will be easier to take a trip to the hardware store and pick up some replacement lumber.

Something else worth considering is the project cost of the repair. Epoxy fillers and putties are notoriously expensive. One gallon may cost between $80 and $150, depending on the brand, your location, and any supply chain issues that may be occurring at the time of purchase. Compare the cost of fillers and putties with the cost of lumber at the time of your repair.

Suppose your home is a historic property, and you want to preserve the existing structure out of historical significance. In that case, it may be worth it to spend more on fillers rather than replacing the wood entirely. Whether you want to replace decaying boards entirely or prefer to try a service for wood rot repair in Tulsa first, our handyman professionals at Mr. Handyman of Greater Tulsa can get the job done for you.

For Wood Rot Repair in Tulsa, Call Mr. Handyman of Greater Tulsa!

At Mr. Handyman of Greater Tulsa, we’ve done our fair share of wood rot repair in Tulsa. We also proudly serve the communities of Jenks, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Sapulpa, Glenpool, and beyond. Our service technicians have an average of ten years’ experience in general handyman jobs and carpentry, so you know that you’re working with experts when you choose Mr. Handyman.

If you need a Tulsa wood rot repair, don’t delay any longer. Give our passionate team a call today to book an appointment. With our quality workmanship guarantee, you have nothing to lose!

Rotted wood soffits on a residential roof overhang before and after they have been repaired by Mr. Handyman.