Dry rot is a very common problem in the NW because we get so much rain. Dry rot creating fungus grows well on all lumber. Moisture and lack of air circulation is all you need for dry rot to appear on wood. Dry rot problems are especially dangerous when rot appears on the wooden structure of the house. Once the fungus starts to grow on your structure, it destroys wood tissues which are responsible for the wooden structure to be firm and solid. Dry rot causes wooden parts of your house to decay, become soft, lose its shape, and loses the ability to withstand weight pressure. This leads to the leaning of the house to one side, dropping of the floor level, sagging in open spans of wood (such as garage door openings), and roof structure deformation. All these signs are warnings to us that something is going on inside the structure of our house and something may be affected by dry rot. The rot problem has to be taken care of right away once it has been determined!
If you notice a sagging corner on your window sill it didn’t appear there over night. If you are able to see dry rot with your naked eye without taking apart your wall it means that the rot has been inside for quite some time and is in the stage where the rot starts to affect the surfaces that are visible. One sagging corner of the window sill may not just be a simple repair of a small piece of your sill but it might mean that the whole window frame is affected by dry rot and has to be repaired. That’s why it’s very important to fix the rotted areas once you suspect that you have a dry rot problem.
Now fixing dry rot damage is not a simple procedure, most of the time dry rot has to do with your structural framing, except when it’s just the exterior siding trim that is rotting. But most cases, dry rot gets to your framing. You have to realize that the part of your wall that is rotting is actually holding the wall itself, so if you will just start taking studs out to replace them with new framing, the whole wall may just collapse. It is the same story with the floor joist system or roofing trusses. So dry rot repairs often require building additional support walls or installing supporting posts to hold the rest of the structure while you are doing the rot repairs to the wall. Things get more complicated when you are dealing with two or three story homes. Then you have more weight pushing on your damaged walls and you need additional support to withstand all that weight. Fixing dry rot requires not just good carpentry skills but also engineering knowledge of weight distribution and support.
Since construction in the Pacific NW doesn’t stop for the rainy season, homes are being built under all conditions. So just imagine when Tyvek or other poor performing vapor barriers are installed right on soaking wet plywood, all that moisture has no way to escape. You basically have the conditions for dry rot right from the very beginning.
So take good care of your house, watch for any signs for dry rot and deal with the problem right away.
For more information visit Decco Design LLC