What is Wood Rot in a House?

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Wood rot is considered the most natural phenomenon that nature uses to deteriorate the fallen lumbers in the forest and make them fertile soil. The rot is triggered by moisture and fungi and these two factors work in collaboration to destroy the gigantic lumbers and turn them into fertile soil for the plants to consume and grow.

You don’t have to be a mycologist to know what wood rot is in a house and how it can compromise the whole structure to make things worse for you. Wood is the most common building material for a house, and this rotting becomes a gruesome issue for the owners and residents. In your house, wood rot is triggered by moisture and readily available fungi everywhere around us. When fungi find a damp place with a continuous supply of water molecules on the wood, they start secreting the digestive enzyme, breaking down the solid structure to consume it and letting it rot. 

The wood rot is harmful to the structure, and there could be dire consequences if you don’t act accordingly. This is why it is important to use good quality wood, waterproof the wood and perform periodic maintenance. You need to learn more about the types of wood rot to better understand this destructive agent. 

Types of Wood Rot

  • Brown Rot: The most rapidly growing rot is also called dry rot. The wood doesn’t need to be damp all the time. The fungi target cellulose and break the wood in a way called a cubical fracture. Dry rot grows swiftly, and you need to take corrective measures to protect the other areas. 
  • White Rot: In this type, the fungi eat lignin to make white or yellow-like spongy residues. The breaking down process is also fast in this type as compared to the soft rot.
  • Soft Rot: It is the slowest and the most stubborn type of rot. It grows slowly in extremely hot and cold temperatures. It leaves a honeycomb-like structure on the wood and is most visible in the fallen logs and trees or the houses built in the countryside. 

What Causes Wood Rot in Your House?

The experts claim that there is are three main ingredients for wood rot in the house, wood, moisture, and fungi. Unfortunately, all of these three are abundant in our house. We cannot leave the use of wood, neither can we remove all the fungi from the environment. This leaves us with only one ingredient, moisture.

 Various situations and factors increase the amount of moisture in the air inside the house and cause the creation of wood rot inside. The most common phenomenons to cause wood rot inside the house are:

  • Poor ventilation
  • Clogged drains
  • Damaged window frames
  • Displaced shingles
  • Cracks in the wall or ceiling
  • Leaking pipes
  • Splashes from dishwasher and sink
  • Extreme weather conditions

Is Wood Rot Dangerous?

According to Mycologists, wood rot and fungi are not directly harmful to humans. But when you look at the wood rot consequences, things take a drastic turn of events. When there is wood rot or termite damage in your house, it can spread and compromise the whole structure in the area. The damp conditions can allow mold and mildew to grow and affect the residents’ health in the most harmful way. 

It destroys the wood by breaking down the solid structure, and it becomes unable to hold the weight and can be fatal if the wood has some load over it.

Does Wood Rot Stop When Dry?

There is a misconception that if you heat and dry the wood, the wood rot will get dead and destroyed. This myth has nothing to do with reality. The brown rot or dry rot, once started, cannot be killed and destroyed by removing all the moisture and drying the wood by any means. On the contrary, dry rot keeps growing even after the wood is completely dried. You need to replace the affected area by sealing it with cluck and sealants to prevent the dry rot spread to the other areas of the house. 

Ways to Stop Wood Rot

There are mostly two types of situations when wood rot is involved. One is before the rotting has started, and the other is after its incubation. Both the situations require different measures to save the wood from rotting; let’s discuss them separately.

Before the Wood Damage

There are certain precautionary measures that you can take during the construction of your house to save the wood from potential fungi attack and wood rot in the time to come. 

  • Pressure-treated lumber

When you are buying wood for your house, always prefer pressure-treated and decay-resistant wood for the areas where water contact cannot be controlled. This way, you are making sure that the wooden areas in continual contact with water will remain rot-free for some extended time. 

  • Paint and primer

The smart use of paint and primer will create a protective layer all over the wood, and when there is an ample amount of moisture inside the house, this protective shield will offer a robust barrier for the fungi to start the colony for wood rot. 

  • Borate spray

Borate spray is also considered an effective agent to prevent wood rot. This spray also prevents the wood from the pests like termite and carpenter ants to make the striker stand against such odds for a longer time.

After the Attack of Wood Rot

When the wood rot has started, the use of paint and primer will do no good to you, and you will have to take some corrective measures to make the wooden structure safe from complete deterioration and failure.

  • Stopping moisture 

The first thing you need to do is stop the moisture and mitigate all the factors causing small water molecules to load the air inside your house. The excess amount of water molecules will start rot on multiple laces to make things worse. You should also look for leaks in the pipes, cracks in the walls, windows, or roof that have caused water to destroy the structure through wood rot. 

  • Replacing the affected area

You cannot reverse the damage fungi has caused the wood in the wood rot process. The best approach is to scrape and clear all the affected areas and use cluck and sealant to prevent the newly exposed area from getting moisture, and start the process all over again. After replacing the wood, use a generous amount of sealant and paint to make the structure look like it was before the disaster struck the wood. 


Wood rot is the most common phenomenon in a place with a damp environment and extreme weather conditions. You must take preemptive measures while constructing your house to save your family from the continuous threat of the destructive phenomenon. But if you live in a house built by someone else, the best thing you can do to prevent wood rot is to control the amount of moisture inside the building. You must get the gutter cleaned twice a year, repair the cracks in the ceiling, walls, or windows. The best thing is to replace the affected area at once when you know about the conception of wood rot and find new ways to reduce the humidity level inside the house. 

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