Decomposition is a natural and organic process in nature. All biodegradable items from food to human hair will break down into simple organisms. Wood is an organic material that decomposes completely for centuries. However, fungi and other factors can accelerate it. Unfortunately, wood is a primary material for residential attics and other parts of an Edmonton AB home. For this reason, structural wood rot repair and replacement services are extremely important.
However, all knowledgeable and experienced Edmonton AB roofing contractors know about the different types of wood rot in existence. All types of fungi, molds, and mildew affect wood in different ways. Bob Vila has a great explanation on the differences between brown, white, and soft rot.
Structural Wood Rot Repair: Different Types of Fungi on Wood
- Brown Rot: Often called “dry rot” because the surface of the wood appears dry, brown-rot fungi targets cellulose in the wood’s structure. As the cellulose is destroyed, the wood shrinks, turns deep brown in color, and breaks into small cube-shaped bits—a process known as cubical fracture. Brown rot thrives at temps between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and once it starts growing, it spreads rapidly.
- White Rot: If wood takes on a whitish or light yellow shade and feels spongy, it’s probably white rot. Whereas brown rot affects cellulose white-rot fungi break down lignin, another element of the wood’s structure, leaving the light-colored cellulose behind. Like brown rot, white rot occurs in temps between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Soft Rot: Soft-rot fungi decompose wood more slowly than brown-rot fungi and white-rot fungi, but thrive in temperatures too hot and too cold for the other types to survive, between 0 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Soft-rot fungi break down cellulose, leaving the wood with a honeycomb-like appearance, and while it is usually found in fallen logs and trees, not commonly in houses, it can strike a home if conditions are right. (Continued)
The article above mentioned something about “dry rot.” In fact, it is quite a common issue in structural wood rot repair and replacement. However, rotting may seem dry especially in wood’s case, but a “wet” type of rot definitely exists.
Both will affect wood in different ways but achieve the same result: the accelerated decomposition of the material, which puts your home at risk of possible long-term damage. Timberwise has a great explanation on the differences between wet and dry wood rot.
Structural Wood Rot Repair and Replacement: Wet and Dry Rotting
Identifying Wet Rot
- The wood is more often than not going to feel soft and spongy – a clear indication of structural damage to the wood.
- Typically a black fungus appears on the infected wood.
- Any paint finish on the timber will become damaged. However, in some instances, the paintwork can look perfect on the exterior but may well be rotting underneath the paint.
- If the decay is in an advanced state it will have dried out the wood. This then means that the wood will crack and crumble easily.
Identifying Dry Rot
- When exposed to light the fungus appears to have a lemon almost yellowish tinge look to it.
- Dry rot leaves deep cracks running across the grain of the wood along with evidence of mycelium growth on the wood.
- The affected wood will be brown in colour and will crumble due to a lack of structural integrity as a result of dry rot using the wood as a food source. (Continued)
Indeed, homeowners with sufficient DIY experience can definitely handle structural wood rot repair and replacement. However, if you lack any equipment, it might put your roof and attic structure in jeopardy. It is for this reason we highly recommend working with a trusted roofer. On the other hand, it helps to know the processes involved in structural wood rot repair and replacement.
Extreme How-To has a great section on how to proceed with roof rot repair and replacement. If you’re attempting to DIY repair your roof structure on your own, take heed of this section’s warnings and instructions.
Structural Wood Rot Repair: Identifying and Fixing Wood Rot Damage
Do not attempt to replace or repair rot-damaged wood without first determining the source of the problem and correcting it. Begin at ground level. Make sure there is proper drainage away from the foundation and/or floor slab. If water collects in one particular area, you may have to do some grading work on the soil around the foundation.
In many instances ground water will also collect in porous areas. This often shows as long-time dampness of basement walls, or even cracks or water seepage. In this case, you must first dig down, expose the foundation, apply a waterproofing material to the outside, add a drain tile next to the foundation and down on the footing, then add a layer of coarse gravel to help drain water away. Make sure the soil is graded properly to drain surface rainwater away.
Another common cause of ground-level dampness is rainwater from the roof. Good gutters and downspouts are a must to direct rainwater away from foundations. In many instances, however, splash blocks must also be used to direct the flood further away.
A properly installed drip edge is also important. If the drip edge isn’t installed properly, or is missing, water seeps back around the edge of the roof line, runs back over the top of the soffit, and causes unseen damage in the soffit area and even in the roof sheathing until suddenly you notice water marks on the soffit, or worse, your ceiling. (Continued)
If you have yet to find a roofer with in-depth experience and knowledge and can deliver the quality of roofing service you need in Edmonton AB, you can count on DDCL to help. We have been servicing properties across the local area for decades. We can deliver the structural wood rot repair and replacement your property needs. Contact us today!