Dry rot starts where there is trapped moisture, and is caused by a variety of fungi. This occurs most commonly in the form of condensation around windows, in badly ventilated bathroom areas, or sections of an insufficiently ventilated attic or basement. The moisture causes fungal spores, already present in the air, to germinate and then attach to nearby surfaces. The fungus then slowly digests the wood, causing the wood to rot as the fungus spreads.
If you believe you have dry-rot, contact a local specialist to inspect the damage and consult on mitigating and repairing the damage.
- Inspect Window Seals Yearly
- Check that your windows seals are still intact, most easily identifiable as fog or moisture buildup inside the window (between the panes).
- Once or twice a year, inspect the window seals on the exterior and interior of the house. There should be a lining of caulking between the window and frame, on both sides of the window, without gaps or cracks.
- Upgrade from Aluminum
- Upgrade aluminum windows to vinyl or wood. During cold weather the aluminum with cause condensation inside the frame, which may eventually leak inside the walls.
Bathroom and Laundry Areas
- Ensure Good Ventilation
- Make sure you have the proper ventilation for the steam that rises from hot water. If you have one, use the fan during showers and laundry.
- Inspect Sealing Yearly
- Once a year, inspect the caulking, seals, and grout, for cracks and gaps.
- Keep a Healthy Roof
- Healthy and well maintained roofing is critical in preventing dry-rot.
- Annually inspect for damage, shingle wear, movement, sealing and caulking, and every edge or corner. Such inspections are best done by professionals.
- Ensure Attic Ventilation
- Annually inspect the attic for moisture, any leaks, and that any ventilation is still functional.
- Inspect Foundation and Basement
- Annually inspect your basement for cracks and leaks, or heavy moisture, and to ensure proper ventilation.
- Annually check wall sill plates, and the bottoms of interior walls, and all plumbing for any signs of leaks or moisture from above.
- This is often the best method of early detection of leaks or plumbing issues.
Once you have dry rot, the only treatment is to strip out everything affected, and replace it. Prevention is always the best method; however, it can and must be treated if you find yourself with dry-rot Treatment of dry-rot requires removing and replacing the affected material. This is usually accomplished with a four step process. You should always consult a professional before taking any action, as dry rot may also affect your home's structural integrity.
- Remove the moisture and dry the wood, as quickly and safely as possible.
- Inspect the damage for any potential structural implications.
- Replace all affected material.
- Treat the area if necessary.
Some areas of the home may prove difficult in removing moisture, and drying the wood. Additionally, in ventilated areas, spores will remain waiting for the next little bit of moisture to re-infect your home. In such cases, some chemical treatments are available, such as Boron and Glycol based preservatives. Such chemicals come with some risks, and are only of minimal value, as to be effective the area needs to remain dry, and drying out the fungus will kill it anyway.
See Also: Effictiveness of Dry Rot Treatments