Dry rot is a serious problem that can have a negative impact on one of your greatest investments: your home. Though it is particularly prevalent in older homes featuring wood that may not have been treated, it can occur virtually anywhere--and, when left unchecked, can cause serious and costly harm. Here are a few facts that you should know about dry rot.
What exactly is dry rot?
Dry rot, also referred to as brown rot decay, is a certain type of wood-eating fungus that can cause serious damage in a home environment. It is important to point out the fact that the term “dry rot” is a bit of a misnomer: like all forms of fungus, dry rot does require at least some moisture in order to grow. Ironically enough, even the alternate name, brown rot decay, can be a bit misleading as well! This is because dry rot actually goes through four distinct lifecycle phases:
- The fungus begins as a collection of microscopic spores that, in large quantities, can appear as a fine orange powder to the naked eye.
- In the second stage of dry rot, the fungus grows thin white tendrils known as hyphae. These strands eventually penetrate the lumbar, setting the stage for the destructive third and fourth stages.
- The third stage is reached when the hyphae have grown so dense and numerous that they form a large white mass known as the mycelium.
- In the fourth stage, the mold has developed into a fruiting body that actively pumps out spores to the surrounding area, causing the entire cycle to start over, leading to a rapid expansion of the infestation.
Where does rot tend to occur?
Because dry rot is technically a type of mold, it occurs in many of the damp, isolated places that typical household molds appear. Examples include wooden window sills, rim joints, crawlspaces, basements, the connections between decks and house structures, and the floor around tubs and toilets. Dry rot is not always immediately visible until it has reached the point of actually causing damage, but sometimes the presence of other molds can tip you off to the possibility of dry rot. This is yet another reason to never ignore mold!
Preventing dry rot
The key to preventing dry rot is preventing moisture buildups. Here are a few important suggestions:
- Ventilate and insulate your attic, basement, and crawlspaces.
- Seal basement and crawlspace floors.
- Check all wall, roof, deck and porch flashings to ensure water is diverted effectively.
- Keep wood siding and trims elevated.
- Make sure all windows and doors are properly weatherproofed.
- Paint and caulk regularly
- Keep an eye on drains and downspouts, removing any debris that could potentially cause trouble.
Responding to dry rot
If you discover dry rot in your home, you are going to need to analyze the situation and respond accordingly:
- Deep damage necessitates replacement of the wood and occasionally even structural repairs.
- Surface level mold require aggressive treatment to prevent negative health effects and preempt serious damage.
- Stains can be treated with special products such as the RMR 86 Mold Stain Remover.
Learn more about mold treatments by visiting RMR Solutions online today!