Wood rot (also known as brown rot) is one of the most damaging forces on household wood in the world.
Approximately 20 billion board feet of timber is destroyed by wood rot in the United States each year– far more destroyed wood than is damaged annually by fire!
Replacement wood used to repair damage caused by wood rot accounts for almost 10 percent of the annual wood production in the U.S. alone.
In the United Kingdom, wood rot problems have been credited for dealing about 150 million pounds worth of damage annually, and wood rot in general leads to about 17 billion dollars of damage each year in the United States.
Foundation Recovery Systems has a long history of experience in eliminating, preventing, and controlling wood rot infestations in homes throughout central Missouri and Eastern Kansas, including Kansas City, Columbia, Moberly, and Springfield. If you have a wood rot problem in your home and would like more information, call or e-mail us today for a free wood rot control inspection!
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What is Wood Rot and Brown Rot?
“Wood Rot” is a term most often used to describe a particular kind of dry, cracking, rotting wood. However, wood rot occurs because of a variety of brown rot species, most notably the “true” wood rot fungus known as Serpula lacrymans. Wood Rot originally got its name from the thought that it didn’t need water to live, but instead used a fermentation process to survive. Research long ago proved that theory untrue, and wood rot is now more appropriately called “brown rot.”
What separates wood rot from other types of fungi, is that it needs much less moisture to survive. Mold and other types of fungi rely on moisture to survive, whereas wood rot can thrive on limited moisture. It’s been proven that wood rot will not even grow on surfaces that have too much moisture.
Protect Your Home from Wood Rot!
The Bad News
- While wood rot is not the most common type of rot, it can deal serious damage to your home and endure conditions that are too dry for other types of rot to thrive. In fact, up to a 75% loss in the toughness of the wood is possible with just a 1% decrease in the wood’s weight of the wood.
- Wood rot fungus spores are present in most homes and can survive for several years, waiting for the right conditions to grow.
- Wood rot can pull moisture from moist areas to dry areas. It grows through mortar, concrete, masonry, and behind plaster.
The Good News
- Despite its name, wood rot needs moisture to produce spores– at least 28-30% moisture content within the wood with a relative humidity of 95% or higher. Most softwood timbers in dry homes, especially in the upper levels, have a moisture content of 12-15%.
- Wood rot problems in basements and crawl spaces can easily be solved by controlling moisture by sealing and dehumidifying the space.
- Treatment of the wood products such as boric acid are known to eliminate and prevent dry root fungi.
Identifying & Treating Wood Rot or Brown Rot Problems in Missouri
Before wood rot is able to grow, it will typically have multiple fungal spores gather, which gives off an appearance of red brick dust. Wood rot will stay in this state until the proper conditions allow for it to grow.
Since wood rot only needs a little moisture to survive, an outbreak will typically occur weeks or months after some sort of flood or moisture issue in your home. The unfortunate thing about wood rot is that once it’s able to be identified, it’s probably already caused a lot of damage. It is very difficult to detect wood rot early on before it causes damage. Once it’s identified, we recommend the following steps:
Remove Damaged Wood:
All wood that shows decay or visible fungus should be removed, as well as all wood within one meter of the visible decayed material.
Remove Materials Near Damage:
Plaster, paneling, linings, and ceilings around the wood rot areas can also contribute to the damage and should also be removed.
Wire brush Affected Area:
Using a wire brush, loose material is removed from all surfaces within 1.5 meters of the furthest edge of the infestation, including metal, masonry, and pipes. Resulting dust and debris is removed as well.
A disinfectant is applied to all wood, masonry, and exposed soil in within 1.5 meters from the damage.
Substantially rot-damaged beams, joists, and posts are replaced with pressure-treated wood.
Preventing Wood Rot in a Basement: Remove all standing water sources, then install a plastic vapor barrier on the walls and floors. Install a self-draining dehumidifier powerful enough to dry the area. (At least a 100-liter model)
Preventing Wood Rot in a Crawl Space: Seal off all crawl space vents and door covers. Encapsulate the crawl space with a crawl space liner, then install a self-draining crawl space dehumidifier.
Preventing Wood Rot Problems in Your Basement or Crawl Space
Foundation Recovery Systems can help you eliminate wood rot problems at their source. We can dry your basement or crawl space, eliminate flooding problems, and seal out humidity.
Not only will this eliminate your wood rot problems, but it will also prevent any other fungi like mold or mildew from growing, as well as keep out other unwanted pests.
Wood Rot Alert!
According to Architect’s Journal, it has been proven that wood rot can even grow in damp concrete, masonry, or behind plaster. This can be much more difficult to remove and can lead to other issues if not removed properly. If you notice any signs of wood rot anywhere in your home, it’s best to call in a professional right away.
Foundation Recovery Systems has been dedicated to helping homeowners solve their home repair needs since 1992. We offer FREE, no-obligation dry basement and crawl space inspections in our service area. We can answer all your questions and point out the sources of humidity and moisture in your home.
We service central Missouri and Eastern Kansas, including Kansas City, Columbia, Moberly, and Springfield. Contact us today for your free waterproofing inspection!