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Wood Deck Dry Rot

If you own a deck and also live in a region that experiences extreme weather then dry rot may be a concern for you. Intense weather conditions are extremely stressful on building materials. Wood that experiences 100+ summer days and soggy wet winters is put in an ideal condition for dry rot to develop. It is important to learn ways to prevent dry rot from developing because not only will it save your deck, it will also save you time and money.

Put simply, dry rot is decay from fungi that causes wood to become brittle and crumble to powder. In order for it to develop, it requires a mixture of wetness, heat and air. With the proper conditions, dry rot can form within four to six months and it won’t always be easy to detect. Once the wood becomes infected, it starts to lose its structural integrity. Dry rot left undetected will continue to spread and cause more damage. It is crucial that you detect the problem and totally replace the damaged wood before the fungi completely destroys your wood deck. In addition, dry rot will eventually attract pests such as termites which will make your problem even worse. Fast detection will save you a lot of money in future repairs.

There are certain ways to check for dry rot on your deck. The first thing you should do is look for wood discoloration. If you suspect an area, it helps to take an ice pick, awl or sharp screwdriver and punch into the wood to determine if it is still solid. You may find that the wood is soft and punchy. You should also feel any suspect spots for dampness. If you feel any dampness at all, you probably have a problem. Lastly, you should check for termite tunnels. Keep in mind that dry rot begins first in damp parts of the house and then proceeds to other portions of the house.

Preventing Dry Rot On Your Deck

  • Never attempt to replace or repair dry rot damaged wood without first determining the source of the problem and correcting it. Failure to identify and correct the source will only lead to future problems down the road.
  • Check the placement of your sprinkler heads to make sure there is no direct spray hitting your deck. Make sure shrubs and plants growing next to the deck don't touch the wood because they can hold moisture. Also check to see if your hose has any leaks.
  • Look for areas where the ground meets with the wood such as contact next to posts or any wood members and under potted plants. If the wood touches the ground at any location, there's the chance for not only dry rot, but termites as well. It's a good idea to treat decks with a wood preservative to protect against this.
  • If you suspect dry rot, hire a licensed general contractor who specializes in dry rot repair or a pest control company to assess the damage and suggest helpful solutions.
  • Make sure that the person you hire is properly licensed and has experience with dry rot. Also, after you get your first inspection done you may want to hunt around for bids on any repairs that need to be made.

Looking For More Information About Decks?

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