A Brief Guide to Dry Rot

No matter what part of North Carolina or South Carolina you live in, dry rot could potentially impact the wood structures in your home. Although this particular form of decay is known as “dry rot” in most regions of the United States, the term is something of a misnomer. In reality, dry rot is caused by two specific forms of fungi that thrive in moist conditions. Therefore, if you’re dealing with dry rot, you actually have a wetness problem.

As you look over the next few paragraphs, you’ll see some helpful information about wood decay caused by dry rot and what you can do to stop its progression. The more you know about this common Carolina issue, the easier it will be for you to keep your house in good condition going forward. Each of the sections in this guide answers a common question that pertains to dry rot. 

What types of dry rot are there? 

As mentioned above, there are two main types of fungi that cause dry rot. This means, as you probably presumed, that there are also two types of dry rot you need to be on the lookout for. Brown rot primarily impacts beams, studs, and other structures made from pine trees and other softwood trees. It will cause cracks and extreme hardness, causing the wood to develop a “blocky” appearance.

The other type of dry rot is known as white rot. It primarily affects hardwoods, like cherry, oak, and walnut. White rot causes both cellulose and lignin to break down, leading to splintering. The forms of fungi that lead to these two sorts of wood decay both require oxygen, water, food, and temperatures over 40 degrees Fahrenheit in order to survive and flourish. 

How can I stop dry rot from ruining my house?

As you just learned, there are four main things dry rot-causing fungi need to thrive. Removing even one of those factors from its environment will make it much harder for it to continue growing. The rigid sugars that make wood a great building material also serve as food for the unwanted fungus. The best way to remove this factor is to treat all the wood in your home with a sealant. This can, however, be a costly process. 

If your dry rot problem is impacting exterior wood structures, such as a wooden deck or gazebo, you might be able to rely on the weather to help you get rid of it. Some Carolina regions, like the mountains of North Carolina, get cold enough in the fall and winter to kill the offending fungi. It is, however, still wise to have wood treated when warm weather arrives so you don’t find yourself facing the same issue the following spring and summer. 

At Hatch Homes, we can help with certain dry rot problems. If, for example, you have wood siding on your home, our skilled crew can install vinyl or fiber cement boards instead. Wood decay, of course, does not affect these materials. We look forward to helping you transform your Carolina residence one project at a time!

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