Whether your house is old or new, it doesn’t matter when it comes to wood rot. If wood somehow stays wet for some time you’re more likely to face wood rot.
So, do you replace the entire wood in such situations?
The answer is no. You can fix rotten wood if you follow some simple steps and use the appropriate products.
In this article, we’ll cover from types of wood rot to how you can repair them. So, keep on reading to find out about structural wood rot repair in 5 steps. Let’s start.
- 1 Types Of Wood Rot
- 2 Where Do Wood Rots Appear?
- 3 How To Look For Wood Rot?
- 4 5 Steps Of Structural Wood Rot Repair
Types Of Wood Rot
Wood rot is mainly caused by the fungi around us. So, when as many as 5 million types of fungi live around us, you won’t be able to escape all of them. But not all fungi are destructive, mushroom, and yeast is useful. There are mainly three types of wood rot.
1. Brown Rot
Brown rot is also known as ‘dry rot’ because of the dry surface wood. In this case, fungi attack cellulose of the wood’s structure.
The wood shrinks and turns into a deep brown color after the cellulose is destroyed. Then, it breaks into small parts, this process is called a cubical fracture.
Brown rot flourishes between 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, once it starts growing, there’s no stop to it.
2. White Rot
White rot has a kind of whitish or light yellow shade. This kind of rot feels a bit spongy too. You see, white rot doesn’t attack the cellulose of the wood like brown rot. It targets the lignin of a wood structure.
However, similar to brown rot white-rot thrives between 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit
3. Soft Rot
Soft rot damages the wood slower than brown rot and white. Unlike the other two rots, it can live in too cold or too warm temperatures. 0 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect living condition for soft rot.
Soft rot targets the cellulose and leaves a honeycomb-like shape. Although soft rot is mostly found in fallen logs and trees. But they can grow in houses if the conditions are right.
Where Do Wood Rots Appear?
Wood rot appears in damp places. Most of the time you won’t be able to see the rot. Whenever you’ll be starting a remodeling project, you’ll find that wood rots are all over the place.
Wood rots can take place in a few other places other structural posts, here’s the list.
Most modern windows are capable of preventing leaks. However, only one small gap that’s not sealed with caulk is more than enough for rainwater to stay there and saturate the area. As the area won’t be exposed to sunlight, staying damp is no problem for it.
And the final result? Wood rot.
Older windows are even more prone to wood rots as the water stays in the horizontal sills.
2. Exterior Door
Similar to windows, doors have cracks and gaps between them. And guess what? These cracks and gaps are the perfect places for wood rots.
The worst part is, you won’t even know that there’s wood rot behind your door frame. You’ll only know when you decide to put a new door and remove the older one.
3. Outdoor Decks
Many outdoor decking boards are considered waterproof but there’s something you need to know. While they are called waterproof they aren’t 100% waterproof. As time passes, they can rot.
You see, the bottoms of the decks are most vulnerable to wood rot. They are mostly made from untreated pine and painted to resist any element.
However, water always gets trapped under these decks. As a result, you get wood rot in your outdoor decks.
Basements are surrounded by moist soil, so there’s really no shortage of high humidity and moisture.
You see, humidity levels in a leaky basement can get so high that water can be seen as vapor on the surface of the wall and wooden beams.
Once wood rot sets in place it can grow unnoticed until it causes some serious structural damage.
5. Wet Rooms
Wet rooms are kitchens, laundry room, bathroom, or utility room. As the name suggests, they are called wet rooms because they have a plumbed water fixture.
Leaks around water pipes or a continuous splash of water can damage the wood in there. So, if the wood somehow gets to stay wet it’ll provide a thriving environment for wood rot fungi.
6. Damaged Roofing
Damaged roofing can cause water to seep in. If somehow a shingle gets damaged or missing wood rot, fungi get set up base in there.
The worst part is, as time passes the rot can build up to something bigger like rotting the lumber of the structural base.
How To Look For Wood Rot?
You never know when you’ll get wood rot. So, what can you do?
The best practice is to annually check for signs of wood rot. And the perfect time to do it is, before winter when you do the weatherproofing tasks. There are mainly two things you need:
Step 1: Examine The Wood Sidings
Many homes have wood sidings. So, the first thing you should do is check around and beneath the windows. Check if there are any signs of discoloration or swelling.
However, wood rot can hide very well behind the paint. That is why you have to stick the tip of the screwdriver into a siding.
If the wood slides into the wood then you’ve got a case of wood rot. The wood should be firm and not at all soft.
Step 2: Inspect Using a Flashlight
Use a bright flashlight to see if the wood in the attic has any discoloration. If you find anything suspicious, use the screwdriver technique.
You should check for wood rots underneath the roof decking. Also, check the joints where the wood beams connect and the edges of the attic where the rafters slide down to create the eaves.
Step 3: Check The Basement
Next, look out for wood rots in the basement or crawl space. Like before, use a flashlight to check if there is any discoloration or anything unusual. Poke a screwdriver in the wood to see the extent of the damage.
Step 4: Inspect The Wet Rooms
Finally, check the walls and floor of the wet rooms(kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms) and around utility appliances that use water. Sometimes you’ll find wood rot in cabinet doors caused by water leaks.
If there are any leaks then the wood around these spots is at the risk of wood rot.
Although, you can be completely sure by only one way. You have to remove a part of the wallboard and inspect the wood behind it.
5 Steps Of Structural Wood Rot Repair
Replacing structural wood can be quite expensive. Although, if the damage is too much, replacing is your only option.
However, if you can somehow salvage the wood, then why not? Moreover, you’ll be saving a ton of money. So, here are the steps.
Tools and Materials
Step 1: Cut Away The Damaged Wood
As we’ve said before, first you’ll need to assess how much damage has been done. You have to remove the damaged wood.
Our suggestion is, use a screwdriver to any wood that’s soft or mushy. Although, you don’t have to remove all of the soft and mushy wood. You see, wood epoxy can be used on extremely soft-wood to strengthen it.
However, you can’t salvage wood that’s falling apart on its own. Remove those wood as soon as possible.
Try to have a plastic wrap with you so that you cover if the rain comes along. You can’t work on wet wood. If it somehow gets wet, wait till it’s dry.
Step 2: Take The Preparation
You have to handle wood repair compounds very carefully. So, wear your protective equipment and separate the area with plastic and painter’s tape to prevent spills.
Step 3: Use The Epoxy Consolidant
After you’ve removed the damaged wood it’s time to use the epoxy consolidant. There are a lot of good quality epoxy consolidants in the market.
First, mix the two parts of epoxy consolidant(resin and hardener) in a disposable cup and wait for 5 minutes.
Now, thoroughly apply it using a chip brush until the surface is soaked. Leave it like that for 10 minutes before moving on to the next step.
Step 4: Use The Wood Epoxy
Once everything is mixed, put the mixture into the marked spots. Press deeply to make sure there are no gaps left behind. And remember to leave a good amount of epoxy so that you can sand it properly.
Step 5: Get Ready to Sand, Prime, and Paint
The epoxy will start working almost immediately. It’ll take a few hours to a full day at most. After it’s completely cured, then it’s time for the final touch.
First, sand the area to make it smooth and then apply the primer. Lastly, paint it whatever color you want and you’ll be done.
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Well, this sums up our guide on structural wood rot repair. You see, modern technology has advanced the repairing sector. Nowadays, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to replace everything. You can just repair it.
Anyway, we hope our guide answered all of your questions regarding wood rot repair. Good luck!
Hi, my name is Gary Paulson. I’m an architect who has been working in the construction industry for ten years now. As a weekend warrior, I’ve got quite a few adventures to share. Whether it’s a topic or a project you’re interested in, just let me know! You won’t be disappointed with the post be it an article or a video we’ll do just for you!