What Is Wood Rot?

Wood rot is the term for the fungus that infects the wooden structure of a home or building. The fungus grows when moisture is consistently present in the wood, although it has been known to develop in dry climates as well, and is most commonly seen in older homes. Wood rot causes the wood to stiffen, crack, and deteriorate, preventing it from providing some of its most important functions, such as destroying the posts and beams supporting the entire structure of a building. The cost of wood rot repair can cost tens of thousands of dollars, so it is best to take measures to prevent wood rot in the first place.

Types of Wood Rot

There are three main types of wood rot: brown rot, white rot, and soft rot. Brown rot, otherwise known as dry rot, is the fastest to develop and thrives at higher temperatures, between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It causes the wood to shrink, collapse onto itself, and breaking into pieces. White rot is easily identified by the yellow-ish, white color and grows under almost the exact same circumstances as brown rot. Soft rot grows at a slow pace but can develop from moisture in anywhere between 0 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The easily-recognizable honeycomb-like appearance of soft rot can affect your home but is primarily found in trees or logs.


The areas of a home or building that are most susceptible to wood rot are the windows, outside doors and decks, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and the basement. An easy way to identify it is by looking for discoloration or using a point object, such as a screwdriver or fork, to poke into the wood. If the object goes easily into the wood, rot is present, as wood should obviously always be solid and hard. The wood may sometimes appear to have insect damage, so you may need to contact a professional for an expert diagnosis.

How To Prevent Wood Rot

There are a few ways to prevent wood rot, but sometimes it is inevitable. You can try sealing up any cracks in the wood, replacing old materials such as caulk or paint that have aged and are no longer effective, and even cleaning your gutters. Again, if you are in a humid environment, wood rot is not always avoidable.


Wood Rot Repair

Unfortunately, if the wood is damaged by soft rot, it is not salvageable. You will need to find a trusted exterior contractor to carefully execute a replacement of the wood. This should be done as soon as you find the rot, as soft rot can spread very easily. 

For other types of wood rot, you can use Ethylene glycol, which is the primary ingredient in antifreeze, or Borates to kill the bacteria. As you would with soft rot, you will have to remove every area of infected wood before moving forward with your wood rot treatment. Then, apply the aforementioned solutions on the surrounding wood to stomp out all the spores, insects, and unseen rot that remains. Try to completely soak the wood in the chemicals for maximum exposure and then let it dry. This should prevent the wood rot from reappearing altogether. 

Exterior Experts can help you repair the structure of your home or building if it has been damaged by wood rot. Call us today for a price quote!