You may not think of dry rot the same way you think of termites, carpenter ants or other pests, but believe it or not, dry rot is just as bad. It’s caused by a living and breathing fungus that can cause more damage to structures than fires, floods and termites COMBINED. Dry rot is a big threat and is another big reason to always get a pest inspection when purchasing a property.
What is Dry Rot?
Dry rot is wood decay caused by a fungus that can eat its way through and deteriorate your home’s wooden structure, causing serious damage. This fungus is known as serpula lacrymans and starts off as a tiny spore. When there is a large enough group of these spores it is said to look like a fine orange dust. If these spores are exposed to moisture/humidity, it will begin the dreadful process of dry rot.
Dry Rot Treatment and Prevention
The first and most important step in treating dry rot is removing the source of moisture. This means the plumbing throughout your house needs to be checked for leaks and repairing any damaged walls or roof patches (as these are common places for moisture to enter).
The affected wood needs to be dried and you want to make sure you have proper ventilation to reduce humidity. Two popular chemicals used in dry rot treatment include borates and glycol. Borates is a preservative that is often either injected or sprayed onto the wood. Glycol is a chemical found in antifreeze and is either sprayed or painted onto the wood. Both work as a fungicide to kill the rot, although borate is also used as a preventative measure to treat new wood.
If the damage is beyond chemical treatments, you can always have the affected wood replaced (a rather expensive alternative), but in extreme cases it could be your only choice.
How to Stave off Dry Rot?
Preventing dry rot is found in the first step of treatment Any wooden areas of the house that traps enough water and is subject of humidity can turn into dry rot. Keep in mind that water from mother nature including rain or snow can get into open areas of your exterior siding or your roof and to make the necessary repairs for prevention. Here is some practices that will prevent it from forming:
- Make sure there are no leaks in your house
- Provide adequate, proper ventilation.
- Properly ventilate and insulate your attic
- Properly ventilate crawlspaces.
- Seal basement and crawlspace floors to reduce ground moisture.
- Check all wall and roof flashing to ensure water is being directed properly.
- Keep drains and downspouts clear.
Get a Proper Inspection from the Professionals
As with all significant damage or infestations, dry rot can be a large unexpected expense for a home or business owner. There are treatments and repairs available but identifying the problem is the first step. Not only do we provide pest inspections, but our licensed home and commercial inspectors can also assess how susceptible your property could be at developing a dry rot problem in the future.
There are many problem areas that we can help you identify such as water damage caused by a leak, having proper ventilation and making sure the gutter system on your roof efficiently diverts water away from your foundation.
If you are looking to buy a property, call us at 775- 323-1117 to get a pest inspection. We are a local home and pest inspection service in Reno that employs inspectors with decades of experience.