Dry Rot: A Home's Hidden Menace
A beautiful home starts with an eye catching facade, and nothing can fix or ruin the look of a home like its siding. It is the unsung hero on every residential house - when it looks great, no one notices; when siding is a mess, it is all anyone will see.
Why is siding important?
The siding on a home has a much more important job than just looking great. Siding protects the bones of the home; the wooden walls and studs and all that lies beyond them are sheathed by an outer layer of protective siding. And while a home may look nice on the outside, damage could be hiding beneath the siding of any home. So how do you know if your home is really protected by the siding it relies on?
Dry rot – What You Need to Know
Dry rot is the main culprit of hidden siding problems and can lead to many issues within a house. And dry rot, ironically, is caused by water. It happens when good wood underneath the siding gets wet, and fungus and mold begin to grow and eat away at the wood. The initial water may dry up (hence “dry” rot), but the damage to the structure is already done. If not found quickly, this rot can break down the structural integrity of the wood and the wall of the house.
The damage from dry rot doesn’t always stay on the exterior of a home. The spores from mold and fungi are invisible and float through the air, which means they can easily spread to other moist areas of a home or worse- they can be breathed in by the home’s residents and cause many health problems.
How Do I Know if There is Dry Rot?
If there is no roof overhang, dmagaged or missing gutters, or problems with a home’s flashing, dry rot can be lurking. Also, if there is any damage or poorly installed siding on a home, there may be dry rot.
Some homeowners want to check their siding on their own to see if they have a dry rot problem. This test can be done by gently pressing the wood underneath the siding with a screwdriver; if the wood underneath the siding is soft, there is a good chance dry rot exists. However, the best way to diagnose rot is with the help of a professional. A siding specialist can determine where the rot is, what is causing the water to get to the wood, and the extent of damage that the rot has already caused. Seeking out professional help with dry rot is the fastest and most effective way to stop further damage and fix the problem in a home’s siding before it gets even worse.
My Siding has Dry Rot. What Now?
A construction professional will typically complete these steps to find and fix the dry rot in a house.
Remove the siding of the exterior wall that contains dry rot. Exposing the wood beneath shows the extent of damage and allows the repair work to begin.
Cut away the rotten wood. This may just be the wooden wall section or may include the frame and studs of the home as well. The further the rot has spread, the more wood/structure needs to be removed.
Replace the rotten wood with new wood.
Treat the remaining wood that may have been in contact with the fungi that caused the dry rot. This ensures the problem doesn’t persist or return.
Reinstall or replace the siding to close up the wall and protect from future water damage.
Properly dispose of damaged and rotten wood.
Getting expert advice and assessment on a project as important as dry rot repair is key to protecting your home and family from long term water damage and dry rot.
Dry rot can ruin your home if it isn’t dealt with quickly and correctly, but it doesn’t have to ruin your season or your budget. Contact the professionals at Lemier Phillips Construction for more information or an estimate on finding and repairing dry rot.