Siding In Oregon; Dry Rot vs Wet Rot

wood rot on exterior of home | sister siding

Dry rot damage on the exterior of a home.

Wood rot can form and spread through your home like wildfire. Your property may experience two types of wood rot: dry rot and wet rot. The key differences between dry rot and wet rot are how and where they form. Find out how to identify each type as well as how to treat and prevent this unsightly and damaging toxin.

Differences Between Types of Wood Rot

Both dry and wet rot are forms of fungal decay that permeate wooden structures exposed to water damage. Both can destroy buildings and houses, and depending on the severity they may also be dangerous to your health. The main difference between the two types of rot is that dry rot spreads whereas wet rot festers where the moisture is located.

Identifying Dry Rot

Dry rot is a type of fungal decay that grows when moist timber meets the spores of Serpula lacrymans. Areas that experience high humidity are more susceptible to dry rot; it only takes 20 percent moisture for timber to begin to decay (Carter). Ways to identify dry rot include the following signs:

  • Soft and spongy wood
  • Musty smell
  • Shrinking and cracking wood
  • Damaged paint finish
  • Brown or yellow discoloration
  • Appearance of mushrooms
  • Red or orange spore dust
dry rot with white “hyphae” fungus on wood | sister siding

Dry Rot with white “hyphae” fungus and mold growth due to high humidity.

Identifying Wet Rot

Wet rot occurs in areas where timber is exposed to a lot of water. It takes 50 percent moisture content (“How To: Identify and Treat Dry Rot and Wet Rot”) combined with fungal spores, known as Coniophora puteana, to produce this sort of growth. Wet rot is less common than dry rot because it’s easier to prevent, but wet rot can appear quickly. It’s a good practice to not have pools of water sitting around your home to help prevent this issue.

Some signs of wet rot are similar to those of dry rot. Common signs you’ve invited wet rot into your home include:

  • Musty smell
  • Discoloration of the wood
  • Black, brown or white fungus
  • Cracked timber
  • Shrinkage
  • Spongy texture
  • Damaged paint finish
water damage on house with mold growth | sister siding

Localized water damage near exterior roof drain causing mold growth due to leaking water.

Places You’ll Find Wood Rot

Both types of wood rot grow in damp environments, but since different amounts of moisture cause them, you may be more at risk for one or the other depending on your situation. It’s important to know where each type of rot is most likely to occur so that you can take steps to prevent it.

Where Dry Rot Grows

Since it only takes 20 percent (“Dry Rot – Causes, Identification & Solution”) moisture content for dry rot to develop and spread, it can grow anywhere. The most common places to watch for it include basements, bathrooms, roofs, siding and around windows. Any area that doesn’t receive good ventilation is at risk for dry rot, so you should clean those spaces regularly. Further, exterior elements that encounter a lot of rain and stay moist for too long can also develop mold. It’s good to keep an eye on those areas and give them routine maintenance cleanings as well.

brittle and crumbly wood from dry rot | sister siding

Crumbly and brittle timber caused by dry wood rot.

Where Wet Rot Grows

When a lot of water sits on timber over a period of time, mold may start to grow. Additional structural damage is often the cause of the high amount of water that allows wet rot to develop. Your home might have leaking pipes or a hole in the roof that is regularly letting water seep in. Wet rot only develops where there is water present, so be on the lookout for localized soft pockets around water outlets, rain damage prone areas, and near pipes.

wet rot forming black mold near

Wet rot on ceiling and wall from water leak.

How To Get Rid of Wood Rot

No one wants to live with mold in or around their home. It doesn’t look good but it can also be harmful to breathe in. Once you identify that it’s in your home, the next step is to get rid of it. Though there are different types of fungus, you’ll use similar treatment methods from professionals.

Treating Dry Rot

Dry rot can’t simply be washed away; The affected area has to be removed. Trust a team of specialists to inspect your home for this mold and uncover ways to remove and prevent it. Siding experts can find the source of moisture causing the rot, remove the timber that’s infected, replace the damaged wood and use fungicides or other chemical treatments to stop any further growth.

Treating Wet Rot

Similar to treating dry rot, wet rot won’t disappear if you try to scrub it away. After finding the source of the fungus, any infected wood needs to be removed and replaced. The surrounding area will then need to be treated with a preservative to prevent mold from forming again. Sister Siding can take care of this job for you, not only because we have the proper tools, but we can also make sure you aren’t inhaling toxins or misidentifying the source of moisture. After all, mold isn’t something you should take lightly or try to eliminate without the proper experience.

wood rot repair | sister siding

Wood rotted panels being removed for new wood replacement.

The Dangers of Wood Rot

Wood rot is dangerous to the safety of buildings. Dry rot spreads quickly, deteriorating and weakening all parts of a structure. Wet rot also develops fast, and creates frail spots wherever it forms. Both wet and dry rot could cause total collapse (“What Happens When You Leave Rotted Wood Unaddressed”) of a home or other building if left untreated.

Furthermore, some individuals are more sensitive to the effects mold can have on health. Beyond bad breathing conditions, other health concerns from wood rot can include eye irritation, rashes, headaches, and exhaustion (“Health and Safety Risks by Rotting Wood”).

Preventing mold from forming is just as important as treating it. Not only for health reasons but also to save money. By routinely maintaining and inspecting your home, you can keep these fungal toxins from eating your home and your wallet.

Preventing Dry Rot

You may find it easier and cheaper to prevent dry rot rather than repair it. There are many steps you can take to prevent this mold from forming. Best practices include:

  • Sealing your windows and doors
  • Cleaning your gutters
  • Placing a humidifier in your basement
  • Using exhaust fans in your bathrooms
  • Adding hoods or covers over windows and doors
  • Routinely checking and maintaining your siding

Preventing Wet Rot

The best way to prevent wet rot is to inspect your home for stagnant water after it rains. You may need to wipe away water from exterior wood features, such as your deck. If possible, try to remove areas where water can pool near timber, so wet rot doesn’t have a chance to form. Eliminate puddles near your fence, bird feeder, and other yard features as well.

Though they are similar, it’s important to understand the key differences between dry rot and wet rot while inspecting your home. Again, dry rot can spread quickly and cause structural damage throughout, while wet rot is just as fast in appearing but is usually localized and forms due to an acute issue that arises from wood soaked with water. Both put your building or home at risk, and you must remove both to treat them. Wood rot is a serious issue you shouldn’t handle by yourself, especially if you notice it on your exterior—you’ll need a professional to help eliminate it. Note that dry rot is especially prevalent in homes around the Pacific Northwest, due to the climate.

wood rotting on corner of home | sister siding

Wood Rot on exterior corner of home.

wooden deck wet from rain | sister siding

Wooden deck, wet from rain water.

Why Is Dry Rot a Common Problem With Siding in Oregon?

The moisture in Oregon air can sometimes create high humidity levels. When humidity is matched with poor aeration, you will end up with the rapid spread of fungal growth. It is essential to engage the services of siding repair and replacement companies such as Sister Siding, to identify and repair dry rot in its early stages for timely repairs and to prevent more significant structural damage.

Peeling paint from Dry Rot on home exterior.

How to Spot Dry Rot in a Building

Dry rot commonly occurs in areas where moisture meets wood. Home siding is, therefore, one of the places you are likely to find fungal growth. The early signs of dry rot that Sister Siding will look for when inspecting your property include:

  • Darkened wood that crumbles easily to the touch.
  • Cracks on the wood.
  • White or gray mushroom-like growths on the wood.
  • Wood that yields easily on poking.
  • Damp odor in an indoor space.

How Does Dry Rot Enter the House

Dry rot fungus is present in the air at all times. However, when the fungus gets into contact with moist wood, it establishes itself and starts growing. Once the fungus takes root, it spreads to the dry parts of the wood. Avenues through which dry rot enters your home include:

  • Siding structures that show deterioration.
  • All areas with notable leaks.
  • Roofs that show signs of damage.
weather damaged roofing | sister siding

Weather damaged roof panels exhibit vulnerability for wood rot.

Why Is Dry Rot Dangerous?

During the early stages, dry rot is not easy to spot. Unfortunately, not identifying dry rot early enough gives it a chance to creep through the woodwork, walls, and even steel structures. It literally digests the surface (“What are the health risks of dry rot?”) of wherever it grows. Therefore, the building weakens over time, making it a challenge to repair.

Fragile structures call for a full siding replacement. Since dry rot is difficult to spot, engaging professional siding companies like Sister Siding during your home’s annual inspection is beneficial. Your siding contractor will know where to look for dry rot and, most importantly, know how to carry out any needed repairs even if it’s not on your siding.

Rotting wood found under old siding during Sister Siding installation.

How to Make Sure Dry Rot Does Not Reoccur

Recurrence of dry rot after the repair is a costly affair. The following are ways in which our team of dry rot repair contractors will ensure that dry rot does not occur again once repair work has been done:

  • Sealing of siding – dry rot repair contractors will ensure that your siding installation is done correctly to prevent dry rot from getting into the home.
  • Proper painting – All wood structures in contact with the elements should have a coat of paint application on them for protection.
  • Annual roof inspection – It is vital that a professional siding contractor checks the roof regularly for any signs of leaks and rotting.
  • Proper aeration – All areas in the house where moisture tends to accumulate should have proper aeration. The rooms include the kitchen and the bathroom.

Engaging a dry rot repair and siding contractor’s services to spot and repair damage due to dry rot in its early stages is the best way to ensure that it does not reoccur. It is best to catch the fungal growth early to prevent the more costly option of siding replacement. Get a professional siding contractor’s services today to stop the spread of dry rot on your property.