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How to Prevent Damage from Wood Rot

Posted on July 31, 2021

Wood rot can lead to severe structural damage in your home. Not only does it ruin your beautiful floors, door, panel, walls, or details, but it leads to your structure rotting and cracking. What starts as a cosmetic imperfection can lead to a damaged foundation. 

A rotting wooden floor can begin to warp and dry incorrectly. This to uneven pressure on the walls. Once the walls have uneven pressure, tension builds against the walls. If the walls crack, then cracking can continue down into the foundation. 

Some areas that wood rot can affect include the following areas:

  • Chimneys surrounded by wooden mantles can lose support and begin to cave over time. Cracks in the chimney are costly and extremely dangerous. 
  • Roofs can begin to cave in if wooden beams rot. Not only is this dangerous, but if it leads to wall cracks, your foundation may crack.
  • If you have wooden doors, a rotting door can be warped and lead to cracks in the walls.
  • Wooden floors may lead to cracked walls and foundations. 

These costly repairs are avoidable if you frequently check your home’s foundation and repair wood rot quickly. If wood rot is severe, replacing beams, doors, and floors immediately will prevent further damage to your home. 

Preventing wood rot saves you time, money, and resources.

Prevention Tips

  • If you are building your home for the first time in a humid environment, a homemade from wood is not ideal. The maintenance of a wooden house in moist environments is time-consuming. Living near slow-moving creeks, ponds, or lakes increases the likelihood of humidity. 
  • Crawl space encapsulation is a sure-fire way to prevent most wood decay. When humidity builds in your crawl space, not only do you have radon toxicity, but any wooden beams can begin to rot. With crawl space encapsulation, you are shutting moisture that seeps through the ground and drafts. Products like SafetyCap through Atlantic Foundation help maintain a low humidity under your home.
  • If you love wooden siding, make sure that you stain and treat your wood before assembly. Also, clean your gutters so that there is no build-up of moisture near your home. 
  • Check for leaks. Leaks that go unnoticed behind walls and cabinets lead to severe wood rot in a matter of weeks or months. If you live in a newer home, check your pipes regularly. Older homeowners need to discuss potential problems with previous homeowners. Having foundation repair specialists and plumbers check for leaks every so often helps prevent long-term damage. 
  • De-humidifiers prevent a build-up of humidity and dry up moisture in the wood. 
  • While wood is moist, applying preservative treatments like copper or borate will keep moisture out. It is recommended for decks to use a water repellant lumber sealer immediately after construction. If you have an older deck, check the structure and consider having a carpenter or foundation specialist check the wood. 
  • If you spill a large amount of water use towels immediately to absorb the water and then use a fan to dry the floor. You may want a de-humidifier if it is soaked into the wood.

If you have wood rot, you need to figure out the severity of the damage. Freshly rotting wood may be able to be spared if the damaged area is small. It must be removed and preserved immediately. For dry warped boards, doors, and paneling, it may not seem like a problem. However, warped wood will destroy your foundation if left unaddressed.

Minor Repair Tips

To repair minor rots in wood, follow these simple instructions to fill in wood. 

  • Before you insert the filler, remove any rotten pieces of wood from your door frame or panel. 
  • If the wood rot is in a floor beam, consider the size and stability of the wooded beam. You may want it replaced. 
  • When you have removed the rotten wood, apply wood hardener all over the weak areas. Using polyester wood filler, you can then press it into the cracks and gaps. You can do the same with epoxy injecting it into the holes. 

If you are uncertain how severe the damage is, call a foundation specialist to check the damaged area. Companies like Atlantic Foundation will not charge homeowners for a consultation. If you are in Raleigh or Eastern North Carolina, call us up today to see if we can help you. 

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