What Is Wood Rot & How to Treat It 

Share the love!

There’s something charming about a wood home, whether it’s a log cabin in the woods or a beautiful mountain chalet. Unfortunately, while wood is an organic, long-lasting building material, it’s also highly susceptible to moisture, fungi, insects, and termites. Wood rot happens when either moisture or fungus causes the wood to decay, potentially compromising the structure of a home. As wood is such a prevalent building material, many homeowners experience this issue. Here’s what causes wood rot and common places to check for it.

Types of Wood Rot 

When wood is consistently damp, it creates the perfect conditions for fungal growth. Depending on the type of fungus, there are different classes of rot. The condition is categorized into three main types: soft, brown, and white.

Soft Rot

Although soft rot is the slowest growing type of fungus, it can grow in cold or warm environments. Thriving in temperatures between 0-110 degrees Fahrenheit, soft rot causes a cracked, honeycomb-like appearance and discoloration. Even though it is mainly found on dead or fallen trees, it can affect a home’s exterior in extreme temperatures. 

Brown Rot 

Brown rot, commonly referred to as dry rot, causes wood to turn a dark brown color and break into small cube-sized pieces (or cubical fracture). This type of rot grows rapidly and is hard to eradicate, thriving in temperatures between 65-90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

White Rot 

White rot fungi use enzymes to break down lignin, a component in the cell wall, leaving wood white and bleached-looking. Along with a white appearance, it also leaves the wood with a spongy texture. Like brown rot, white rot thrives in temperatures between 65-90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Common Spots for Wood Rot 

Wood must contain a moisture content of at least 20% for fungi to grow. That said, wood rot is most frequently found in damp or moist areas. Here are some common places to check for wood rot: 

  • Basements
  • Crawl Spaces
  • Attics
  • Bathrooms 
  • Kitchens 
  • Underneath Sinks
  • Door Frames 
  • Windows
  • Siding 
  • Decking

How to Treat Wood Rot 

Soft wood isn’t treatable. Instead, it should be replaced to prevent the wood rot from spreading further. Dry wood that’s discolored can potentially be treated depending on the level of damage. If only a small portion of the wood is rotten, it might be possible to remove and fill with a polyester or epoxy filler. Getting a professional inspection is typically the first step to help with diagnosing the issue. 

Stop the Problem at the Source

Wood rot will continue to happen if you don’t stop the problem at the source. Managed Services Group offers moisture control, crawl space repair, and basement waterproofing services to help keep your home dry and safe. Contact us today to get an inspection and a free estimate. 

Since 2008, Managed Services Group has provided comprehensive moisture control and basement waterproofing services to homeowners throughout the Greater Richmond area. As a licensed and insured Class A contractor, we have the experience and knowledge to back up our passion for home improvement. Give us a call today at (804) 972-3007 (434-299-9282 for Charlottesville) for a free estimate. We’ll schedule an inspection with you, make a recommendation, and, in most cases, give you an estimate right on the spot.