Rot is common even to the most well-maintained homes. For it to develop, it only needs wood, water and humidity. Wood rot repair is the prime duty of all home owners so that the damage is stemmed. Dry rot is decayed wood caused by a certain kind of fungus that grows in humidity. You can find dry rot on shutters, window sills and run-offs of roofs. Occasionally, it can also be seen on outdoor wooden furniture. To prevent the spread of the fungus that causes dry rot, the wood must be repaired as soon as possible.
Fortunately, dry rot is easy to fix once you spot it. With the help of a screwdriver, check all those problem areas which don’t have good drainage like water tables and window sills. Also, keep an eye out for cracked, blistered or peeled paint or any wood that’s darker than other wood around it or has turned green due to the presence of algae.
How to identify dry rot
Before setting out to get rid of rotting wood, it is important to know if the decay is caused by wet or dry rot. This is necessary because dry rot can travel through timber and other building materials, and can therefore spread rapidly through a building. If you know this, you can take extra masonry measures to treat dry rot in the best manner possible.
Here are some examples of dry rot in timber:
- Wood shrinks, turns dark and cracks in cube shape
- A humid mushroom-grey skin laced with lilac and yellow patches develop when the humidity is low.
- Dry rot in the form of cotton wool develops when humidity is high.
- The mycelium develops strands that turn brittle when dry and crack if bent.
- Highly decayed wood gives off a musty odour.
Dry rot problems
Homeowners in cold climates are very concerned about dry rot developing in their homes, as this is a common cause of wood damage in homes. It’s not just a hazard to homes, but if left untreated or there’s a delay in treatment, it can be a health hazard to the residents of the home.
Why dry rot should not be ignored
A traditional home uses at least 70% timber, so if it has an outbreak of wood rot, it can’t be ignored. However, if left ignored, the entire structure of the home can be threatened as the wood rot grows and develops, ultimately leading to the structure being weakened and it losing its shape.
As a homeowner, you can either take this project in hand and stem the rot yourself or call in experts to do the same.
Wood rot repair instructions
Here are a few steps by which you can repair dry rot:
- Choose a warm day to start: Begin wood rot repair in your home only on a warm day. It shouldn’t be humid at all or the stabilizer and filler won’t dry. Find a clean and airy room and locate a spot to dispose of all the rotten wood on that day. If you don’t get rid of it at the end of the day, you’ll spread fungus while repairing the wood. For maximum safety, wear gloves since wood filler and stabilizer are usually poisonous.
- Get rid of all the infected wood: With a chisel or saw, take off the dry rot. Take care to get rid of every bit of the infected wood as even if a small portion remains, it can continue to cause infection. Once you’ve removed all the infected portions of wood, let the wood dry completely.
- Inject wood preservative into the good wood: To repair rotted wood, it’s good to inject it with wood preservative. To do this, it helps to first bore a few holes into the wood halfway and then inject it with the preservative. Next, it is sealed with epoxy while the borate enters the wood, thereby reducing the chances of further decay.
- Apply stabilizer to the good wood: Now that you have wood that has been salvaged from infection, it’s time to treat it. This wood that had been exposed to rot should be treated with one coat of wood stabilizer. You can do this with a paint brush of medium width but take care to see that it’s new or that it hasn’t been used before to remove fungi. Leave the stabilizer on the wood for many hours to dry totally.
- Apply a coat of wood filler: If you’re sure that the wood stabilizer has dried entirely, it is now time to progress to the next step. Now, stir the wood filler thoroughly. Apply a thin coat of filler on the wood, previously treated with stabilizer. Let it semi-dry and then apply another coat. Repeat, if you feel you need to reapply a couple of coats.
- Paint the wood: After the repair coat hardens, sand it down with grit paper and apply acrylic primer and follow it up with 100% acrylic paint. This completes your rotted wood repair.
Prevention & Repair
- Control the humidity in your home as much as possible.
- Waterproof your basement and fix any leaking taps as soon as you spot them or the presence of water will cause mold to form. Additionally, dry rot can also be formed from a poor foundation when the wood of the structure is in contact with the soil. Moisture from the soil stimulates the growth of dry rot.
- Get the services of a professional siding installer to have your wood siding well sealed.
- Eliminate the chance of your rook being subject to dry rot, water damage or mold by having it professionally checked once a year at least.
- Prevent plumbing leaks by checking your cabinets, toilet areas and below vanities for water leaks and plug them.
- Ensure that your attic, kitchen and bathroom are airy or your house could have a lot of dry rot due to intense humidity.
- If you have a deck, make sure it is well sealed.
These six steps will tell you how easy the entire process of wood rot repair is. Anyone can do it with a little care and using the right materials.