Whether you are purchasing a new property or renovating one you already own, it is important to assess the quality of the construction. Some types of construction problems, like cracks in the basement walls or standing water miss.
Both dry rot and wet rot fall into that latter categories, and even experienced homeowners sometimes miss the warning signs. So, what is dry rot, and how does it differ from wet rot? What are the dangers? What are the warning signs? Here are some things you need to know about detecting - and treating - dry rot and wet rot.
What is Dry Rot?
If you have ever renovated an old home or worked with a disused barn, you may have encountered signs of dry rot. Many homeowners and property managers think that dry rot is a defect in the wood itself, but there is more at work here.
Dry rot is a fungal infection of the wood, and once that fungus takes hold, it can damage the structure very quickly. Wood that is dry rotted may take on a powdery appearance, and in advanced cases of dry rot, the wood may simply flake away when you tough it. You may also notice white spots or streaks on wood that is dry rotted, and if you see that, you should take steps to stop the dry rot from getting worse.
What is Wet Rot?
Wet rot is distinguished from dry rot in a variety of ways, including how this condition manifests itself, what causes it and how the problem progresses. As the name implies, wet rot is often associated with high levels of moisture, and it is a common problem in basements, out buildings, storage sheds and other places where moisture tends to accumulate.
If you have had a moisture problem or previous flooding condition, your home may be more prone to wet rot, and you should watch out for the warning signs. Wood that is suffering from wet rot often feels soft and spongy, and you may see visible fungus growth on the surface. If you spot any of these problems, you should take immediate steps to address the problem, since wet rot can progress very rapidly.
How is Dry Rot Treated?
Dry rot is a serious problem, one that can spread surprisingly quickly. Once you notice dry rot on your wood, it is often too late, and any affected wood should be carefully removed and replaced.
When replacing dry rotted wood, be sure to use treated timber, since this type of wood is designed to withstand moisture and resist the fungus that causes dry rot. Even after the wood has been treated, it is important to watch for warning signs of dry rot, especially if your home is prone to mold and fungus growth.
How is Wet Rot Treated?
Wet rot is an equally serious problem, and treating it promptly is just as important. If your home has ever been flooded, or if it suffers from high humidity and excess moisture levels, you are at special risk. The sooner you address a wet rot problem, the easier it will be to fix it.
The first step in effective wet rot treatment is to identify and fix the water problem. Finding where the water is coming in and stopping it is the only way to stop the wet rot from coming back.
Once the water problem has been fixed, the affected wood should be removed and treated with a quality fungus killer and protectant. Only after the wood has been properly treated should it be put back in place. If the wood has been severely compromised, it is best to remove it and replace it with treated timber.
Both dry rot and wet rot can severely damage wood, and therefore the structure of your home. Even if you only think you have a problem, you should have your home inspected. Once you have identified the issue, you can work to fix the problem, so your home stays protected.
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