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Written by Tim Denner
on August 27, 2019

There are a number of things that can damage the wood around your home. Two of the most common culprits are wood rot and termites. Wood rot and termites can both cause expensive damage to your property. In order to protect your home from these threats you need to understand what wood rot is, how to tell the difference between the two types of damage, and how to choose the appropriate type of treatment.

What is wood rot?

Wood rot is a type of damage that fungi can cause to wood. When oxygen, warmth, and moisture are present on and around the wood, fungi can thrive and lead to rot. You do not have a lot of control over the oxygen and warmth that the wood of your house is exposed to. The factor that you do have control over is the moisture. Many homes that have trouble with wood rot also have problems with moisture. A leak around your air conditioner, a downspout that is not functioning properly, and shrubs planted too close to the house are all examples of small problems that can lead to wood rot. Wood rot that involves moisture can also be called wet rot. There is a type of wood rot that can occur without the presence of moisture and it is typically called dry rot. Dry rot is caused by one particular type of fungus and is identified differently than wet rot.

How to tell the difference between termite damage and wood rot

Termite damage can leave wood looking wavy or with areas that appear to be hollowed out. Wet rot can cause wood to look darker than surrounding areas and cause it to feel soft and spongy. Dry rot can cause the wood to crack and crumble when it is touched. You may be able to see fungi growth on wood that is rotting. In addition, rot can come with a distinct smell that you can learn to identify. There are situations where it can be difficult to differentiate between wood with termite damage and wood with rot. If you have damaged wood of any type it is best to have a termite professional inspect your home and determine conclusively if the damage is the result of an infestation.

Determining what type of treatment your home needs

Once you identify the cause of the damage to the wood of your home you can decide on the best treatment option. If the damage is due to a termite infestation the best course of action is to get professional termite treatment. If wet rot is the source of the damage you need to start by dealing with the cause of the moisture. Once you have removed the source of the moisture you can replace or repair the damaged wood. If there is wood in your house with dry rot you can treat the wood that is salvageable with a fungicide. Wood that is severely damaged will have to be repaired or replaced. 

If you own a home there are some aspects of maintenance that are simply a part of life. The good news is that serious damage to the wood of your home takes time to develop and spread. As long as you pay attention to what is going on around your property and keep up with preventative maintenance you can catch these issues before they have time to turn into major problems.

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