How to Stop Dry Rot

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Dry rot can cause severe damage to your home. Unlike wet rot, which occurs when wood is very wet, dry rot can occur in minimally wet conditions such as high humidity. Stopping dry rot is a difficult process. Protect your home by taking steps to prevent dry rot and avoid the hassle of replacing wood in the future.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy sheet plastic (polyethylene)
  • Borate (fungicide)
  • Drill
  • Epoxy resin
  • Treated wood

Prevent Dry Rot

Ensure your home is well-ventilated. Inspect problem areas like attics and crawl spaces. Move objects blocking ventilation to ensure air circulates freely.

Ensure your home is insulated properly. Improper insulation can cause the right conditions for dry rot, so ensure your insulation is along the attic floor, not the attic ceiling.

Inspect your home’s crawl space. Make sure standing water does not get trapped in the crawl space by ensuring proper drainage. Cover dirt floors with heavy sheet plastic to block ground moisture.

Stop Dry Rot After it Starts

Remove all excess moisture from the affected area. Fix any leaks, improve ventilation and otherwise eliminate the sources of moisture.

Apply the fungicide borate to all affected areas to kill the dry rot. This only works once moisture is under control--borate is water soluble and will wash away.

If the dry rot persists or the affected area is already severely damaged, you must replace all or a part of the affected wood. Pry away the affected wood and replace it with fresh, treated wood.

For small cases of dry rot, drill several quarter-inch holes into the affected wood and fill with epoxy resin. Fill completely with resin and finish off with a epoxy filler.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep your gutters clean to improve drainage and cut down on moisture around the base of your house. If water still drains too close to your house, consider using a rain barrel or dry well or connecting your downspout to your street's storm drain.
  • Properly diagnose your dry rot. You could confuse carpenter ant or termite damage with dry rot. Carpenter ant damage will have wood actually removed and clean cavities. Live termites should be evident in the event of termite damage.
  • Do not let dry rot go untreated. Untreated dry rot can cause the wood to weaken to the point of disintegration and cause major damage to your home.

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