If you notice that your woodwork around your windows or in your attic is crumbly or appears to be damp, you may have a dry rot infestation. Because dry rot can cause major structural damage if it is not controlled, measures should be taken to either replace the affected wood or have the wood treated.
What is Dry Rot?
Dry rot is a fungus that destroys wood fiber that stays damp. Unlike other types of wood rots, dry rot has the ability to spread through other materials, including masonry work. Wood that has been affected by dry rot often forms cube-like cracks and may shrink. In certain conditions, a white fungus that has a fluffy appearance may be visible on the wood. Additionally, a musty odor can also potentially be detected in the area.
Where Can Dry Rot Occur?
This fungus only affects wood components that are damp or where the moisture content is more than 20%. In many cases, dry rot occurs in the attic where undetected leaks are likely to occur. Wood around window frames can also be affected if it cannot dry out following a major rainstorm. If the rot is not taken care of, it can result in structural instability.
Repairing Damage Caused by Dry Rot
If your woodwork has small areas that have been affected by dry rot, those sections can be removed using a sharp tool. A polyester filler can be used to add strength to the remaining wood fibers. The filler takes about 10 to 15 minutes to harden. Once the filler has set, it can be sanded down, primed and painted so it won't stand out.
Preventing Dry Rot
In many cases, simply allowing the wood to fully dry out will control the spread of the fungus. In order for this to work, however, the wood needs to remain dry in the future to prevent the fungus from becoming active again. Depending on the climate, it may not be possible to keep the wood fully dry. Replacing the wood components that are most at risk may be a solution. For structural components, there are pre-treated timbers available that can be used to replace existing affected wood. For wood windows, vinyl replacement windows can also save you the trouble of worrying about dry rot. Ultimately, controlling the rot or removing the affected wood should be a priority to prevent expensive repairs to the home.