|Dryrot is always a concern in
extreme weather areas -- ones which go from 100+ degree summers to foggy
wet winters. Weather such as this stresses building materials to create
ideal conditions for dryrot to develop. Learning to take steps to
prevent it, and catch it early when it does develop, can save homeowners
time and money.
Q: There is obviously something wrong with
the wood around my porch, which my neighbor says is dryrot. What is
A: Dryrot is a generic term for a
variety of wood fungi, which cause mildew, mold, staining and decaying
in wood. In order for dryrot to develop, it requires a certain
combination of moisture and heat and air. If the conditions are right,
it can occur before you can visually detect it, within four to six
The reason that it becomes a problem is that
infected wood loses its structural integrity. Once detected, this
damaged wood must be totally replaced, or the fungi, which are living
organisms, will continue to spread and cause more damage. Dryrot can
also attract pests such as termites, which will only compound the
problem. Repairing dryrot cannot be postponed, because the damage will
only increase, as will the cost of repair.
Q: Where is dryrot most likely to develop?
A: Dryrot can be found both inside and
outside your home. The most common areas inside are the bathroom, under
kitchen sinks, in window sills around sweating windows, in thresholds
near sliding glass doors, in the attic from a leaky roof and in the
walls, particularly in homes which have a concrete slab foundation.
Outside, dryrot can occur in wood siding, eaves
of the roof, decks and other wooden landscape structures and around the
Q: Is there anything I can do to prevent
A: In the bathroom: Shower doors should
be caulked and sealed properly to prevent leaking. Plumbing fixtures
should also be caulked. Replace cracked or broken tiles or missing grout
in the shower and bath areas. Look for signs of leaking or water
staining around the base of the toilet. Check the baseboard or moldings
for signs of mildew. Also keep an eye on walls which adjoin the bathroom
– mildew can grow on a closet wall adjacent to the bathroom, for
Throughout the house:
Check for moisture under any of the
sinks. Inspect the attic for roof leaks and moisture from improperly
vented dryers or exhaust fans. If you have a slab foundation, check
walls behind the furniture for mildew. If you have a raised foundation,
check under the house for excessive moisture. Periodically, run a test
by turning on the water in the shower and/or tub and look under the
house for leaks.
Check the placement of your sprinkler heads to make sure there is no
direct spray hitting your house. Make sure shrubs and plants growing
next to the house don't touch the siding because they can hold moisture.
Check around hose bibs to detect leaks. Check the roof eaves; the wood
will be soft or may show a white powdery residue. It may be caused by
improperly installed roof flashing, a roof leak, or you may need
gutters. Around decks, look for earth-to wood contact next to posts or
any wood members and under potted plants. It's a good idea to treat
decks with a wood preservative.
Q: What do I do if I discover dryrot?
A: Call a licensed general contractor
who specializes in dryrot repair or a pest control company to assess the
damage and recommend solutions. A licensed pest control operator should
do the initial inspection, then get three competitive bids from licensed
general contractors to do the repairs. Make sure that the person you
hire is properly licensed and has experience in working with dryrot.