How to Identify Signs of Wood Rot in Your Home

Wood rot can lead to a range of problems, both cosmetic and structural, that you don’t want to have to deal within your home. Knowing the signs of wood rot will help you identify potential problems early so you can call in a professional to not only replace the rotted wood but to find the source of the moisture causing the rot.

Because wood rot can cause structural damage, it’s essential not to ignore it. The sooner you have the rotted wood replaced, the sooner you can enjoy your home without the fear of injury. In some cases, the area where the wood is gets a lot of moisture. If that’s the case, you need to look at ways to treat the wood to protect it from ongoing exposure to moisture.

If the moisture was caused by a specific problem such as a leak in the pipes, the solution is to fix the problem causing the increased moisture or water and then replace the rotted wood. If the primary issue is fixed, you shouldn’t have wood rot problems down the line.

Wood begins to rot when it has a consistent and ongoing exposure to water or moisture. Rot will weaken the integrity of the wood, making it unstable and potentially dangerous. Once wood becomes unstable, it can begin to crack, splinter, and break.

Signs of wood rot include a darkened color, which indicates the wood is saturated with moisture. Wood that gets wet may appear dark for a little bit, but once the water dries, it goes back to its natural color. If the wood remains dark or the dark areas grow, that means the wood is deeply saturated with moisture. 

If the wood feels soft or spongy, the integrity of the wood is likely already weakened from long-term exposure to water. Wood is a porous material, which means water can be soaked in if it’s exposed for an extended period. When wood becomes spongy, it may also feel a little bouncy when you walk on it. This is clearly indicates that it’s not safe to be walking over.

Take note if you see significant cracks or the wood starts to crumble when you touch it, or there is shrinkage. 

A musty smell or localized growth of fungus also indicates wood rot. Areas that are regularly exposed to dampness are prone to the growth of mold and fungus. Mold and fungus can grow on any porous material that offers a cool, damp place to grow. Rotting wood is an ideal place for fungus and mold to run wild.

While all wood rot can be dangerous at a structural level, the presence of mold and fungus create an added health risk that cannot be ignored. When mold is present on wood, it’s also in the air that you’re breathing. Medical research has shown links between breathing in mold and respiratory problems. 

If you see any of these signs, you need to call a professional in wood rot repair. An experienced and educated contractor can provide you with an assessment of the damage and what it will take to repair the damage. Repairing wood rot will include replacing the damaged wood and fixing the problems that caused the wood rot in the first place. You can also have the area treated to avoid future wood rot.

A professional can also help you to identify other areas where the wood may be starting to rot. This will give you the opportunity to take steps to protect the wood before further damage can occur. Taking preventative measures will save you the time and expense of having all the wood replaced.

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