Professional Pavel Rombakh Shares How You Can Educate Yourself and Avoid Dry Rot in Your Home
Whether or not you know much about dry rot, you know it’s not a problem you want to deal with in your home. Long-time general contractor and remodeler Pavel Rombakh said dry rot is one of the most frequently asked questions he receives from clients, and he advises them on what it is and how they can prevent it or take care of it if it’s too late.
Dry rot is wood decay that is caused by fungi. “Dry rot can wreak havoc on any wooden structure inside or outside a house,” said Pavel Rombakh. Fungi break down the components that make wood strong and resilient, causing it to become weak and brittle.
Typically, dry rot affects wood that is wet, so the key to preventing it is to eliminate the cause of moisture to the wood. “Usually wood with a moisture content of over 20% is most susceptible to dry rot,” Pavel Rombakh said.
Dry rot also loves humidity and warmth, so Pavel Rombakh suggested to keep an eye on areas of the home that are excessively humid and during warmer seasons (around 75 degrees Fahrenheit). “If your wood was not kiln-dried before use, it is at risk for a higher moisture content,” Pavel Rombakh said.
If your home sustains flooding, a burst pipe, or especially warm and wet conditions for any reason, keep an eye on the wood to ensure dry rot does not begin, advised Pavel Rombakh. If it is not stopped in time, wood with dry rot can disintegrate, causing greater structural issues to the house.
When inspecting for dry rot, look for sunken wood, cracked drywall or tile, or peeling paint which are signs of damage. You may also see water droplets on the wood, cracks in the structure, a growth on the wood that is silver and gray or a fungus that looks like cotton wool.
Dry rot can be treated in several ways, depending on budget and the severity of the situation, Pavel Rombakh said. Epoxy treatments kill the rot and strengthen the wood, while commercial antifreeze kills the fungus and stops it from growing in the future. Another option is to splice in new wood to repair the existing damage.
“Preventing dry rot is the best thing you can do to save yourself a lot of time and money,” Pavel Rombakh said. He advises priming wood before painting it, checking your roof and gutters regularly for damage, leaks, clogs; keeping an eye out for plumbing leaks and having proper indoor ventilation so wood doesn’t become too damp.