What is Dry Rot? Causes & How to Spot It in Your Home
Most people know that dry rot is not something you want to find in or around your home. If left untreated, it can cause serious damage to wooden structures, both inside and outside your home.
The best way to avoid structural and/or cosmetic damage is to catch it early on, but that’s often easier said than done, since dry rot tends to start from the inside and takes time to spread and make itself known on the surface.
Understanding what causes dry rot, how to spot it, and what steps to take if you do find it could save you a lot of time, money, and worry in the long run. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about household dry rot.
What Exactly is Dry Rot?
Dry rot (Serpula lacrymans), also sometimes called “brown rot,” is wood decay caused by certain types of fungi. These fungi travel through the air in the form of tiny microscopic spores that exist all around us.
Your home is exposed to dry rot spores every single day, but this only becomes a problem when they land in a hospitable environment (wood that has been exposed to moisture) and begin to germinate. When this occurs, the fungi feed off the wood’s cellulose content, breaking it down and weakening it. Over time, the wood becomes brittle and begins to split and crack.
This is an essential process in nature, as it helps break down fallen trees and branches, adding vital nutrients to the soil to help new plants and trees grow and thrive. When this process occurs in a home or other building, however, it’s cause for serious concern, since it can lead to extensive structural damage that can be difficult – and expensive – to repair.
In extreme cases, dry rot can even be dangerous if it starts to affect support posts or beams, floor or ceiling joists, or decking. If the structural integrity of these or other important elements of your home becomes compromised, this could become a serious risk. It’s important to note that dry rot can also be potentially hazardous to human health, since it commonly goes hand-in-hand with airborne mold.
Early Signs of Dry Rot: What to Look For
As with most household issues, the earlier you catch dry rot, the better. Since dry rot fungus thrives in moist environments, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect any areas in and around your home where water collects or moisture is present. These include:
- Basements and crawl spaces
- Window sills and exterior trim
- Wood siding
- Decks and porches
- Edges of roofs and skylights
- Floors near bathtubs and showers
- Behind appliances and around plumbing
Look for any wood that appears cracked, discolored, crumbly, or brittle. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for white or gray fuzz, bubbling or cracking paint, and stained drywall. You may also notice an earthy or “mushroomy” odor.
As soon as you notice any signs of dry rot, mold, or water intrusion, it’s important to call a professional dry rot remediation contractor right away to investigate the extent of the damage and address the issue as quickly as possible. The sooner you address it, the better. If left untreated, dry rot will only continue to spread and will cause more and more damage to your home.
Of course, even better than detecting it early on is avoiding getting dry rot in the first place. It’s a good idea to make sure your basement, attic, crawlspace, and bathrooms have proper ventilation. It’s also important to address leaks as soon as they crop up. Don’t allow water or moisture to collect, since this is how serious problems like mold and dry rot tend to originate.
Have you found signs of dry rot in your home? We’re here to help!
At Kamanski Home Construction, we have more than 30 years of experience in home construction and renovation. We’re no strangers to moisture damage and dry rot repair, and as a trusted dry rot contractor, we’re always upfront and honest with our clients about the hidden nature of dry rot.
We can’t always tell you what’s under the surface before we open it up, but we can promise to always prioritize fairness and transparency and to only ever repair what actually needs to be repaired – and we’ll do it with unmatched professionalism and expertise.
If you’ve found dry rot in or around your home, don’t take the risk of putting it off. Call us today at (864) 800-9912 to discuss your project or contact us online and we’ll send over a quote and more information about our process.