Wood is a popular construction material and is also one of the best out there. Wood however can be ruined by wood rot, a condition most builders dread and fear with passion.
One minute, your wood is pristine and neat, the next it’s weak, breaking off and ridden with mold.
I believe it’s because of that fear or possibly desperation that you are here today to know, how long does it take for wood to rot?
Wood generally takes 1 to 6 months to rot if exposed to damp conditions.
What Causes Wood Rot to form?
Wood rot is simply the decay of wood when exposed to certain conditions such as air, moisture, or termites that trigger the action of the fungi responsible for the rot of wood. It is these fungi that do the dirty deeds when it comes to the rotting of wood. For this decay to happen, the wood must constantly be wet as this fungus cannot grow on dry wood.
Please note though that not all fungi are destructive to nature and there are some that are beneficial to us such as mushrooms and yeast.
Types of Wood Rot
- Brown Rot: This is a very popular and common type of wood rot, it Is sometimes referred to as dry rot because the surface of the wood appears dry while the rot ravages the wood. The fungi do damage by targeting the cellulose in the wood, which when destroyed causes the wood to shrink, take a brown color and break up into cube-like bits. The optimal conditions for the fungi are from 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, once this is met, the damage spreads sporadically.
- White Rot: Called white-rot for the color, this rot is one of the most easily identifiable, the signs include a whitish or light yellow shade on the wood and a spongy texture. White rot is different from brown rot as white rot attacks the lignin in the wood leaving the lightly colored cellulose behind which is why the residue left is spongy and weak to touch. The same temperature conditions as brown rot are optimal for the white-rot fungi too.
- Soft Rot: This type of wood rot takes longer to decompose and is more resistant to extreme temperatures than the last two fungi. It can survive at temperatures of 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of fungus also attacks the cellulose structure of the wood and leaves behind a honeycomb structure when done with the wood. Its most common in nature in fallen trees but it can also infest your home if the conditions are met.
Places susceptible to wood rot in your home
Wood rot can destroy your entire house if left unnoticed and untreated, so let’s explore places in your house most liable to get affected by wood rot.
Although the latest technology has been integrated into windows to avoid rot, a small gap can still allow the fungi in. This may be windows not adequately insulated with caulk or insulating material, if this happens, rain seeps through and starts to saturate the wood inviting rot. And a damp wood is most liable to wood rot. Older windows are even at more risk as the long horizontal sills are places where water can collect and seep into the paint.
- Exterior doors
Just like windows, exterior doors are in direct contact with nature and hence are liable to be attacked by wood rot. It is mostly unknown or unnoticed until a new door is to be installed and then the rot can be seen in the door frame. Bear this in mind when installing a door and consult with your contractor for the best preventive methods to use.
- Outdoor decks
Your outdoor decks are built to handle nature but don’t forget that they are still built from wood and hence if the right conditions are met, wood rot will form. Your outdoor stairs can hold water, most builders use water-resistant decking boards, but bear in mind that these are not waterproof, they can still rot if the conditions get bad enough. Your balusters are another prime suspect for this, put wood rot in mind when designing your outdoor decks.
Basements are built into the soil and hence the concrete walls are surrounded by perpetually moist soils. This means the humidity levels in basements are quite high, so high that water vapor can form on the surface of the walls. And because the basements are not often paid attention to, wood rot can ravage it till it damages the building before the rot is noticed. Always make sure to do routine checks on your basement to know if rot has a foothold there.
- Wet rooms.
Wet rooms or rooms with indoor plumbing always stand the risk of being attacked by wood rot, your bathrooms, kitchens, toilets, and laundry rooms, that is why they are tiled mostly. You must inspect the conditions of your water pipes, identify any leaks and fix them on time to prevent wood rot and water damage.
- Damaged roofing
This is one of the worst places for wood rot to ever get ahold of your building, if your roof is leaky or damaged, that means water seeps into the building, and damages the roof, and roof decking, attic, and the entire room stand risk including the ceilings.
Wood rot can be frustrating if not taken care of on time, it can make your beloved house crash down or become unlivable if not paid attention to.
There are preemptive steps that can be taken to prevent water damage and rot in the parts of the building mentioned above, and once they are done, you can rest easy.
However, if the rot already has a hold of your structures, you must call a building expert to advise you on what to do and the control measure to be applied. Thanks for reading through, if you liked the article, please stay on our website for more