As beautiful as your wooden floor might seem, water and moisture can lead to permanent damage. If water was present for an extended time, the floor could start rotting. This could be dangerous to the safety of everyone living under your roof.
Fix Wood Flooring That Is Starting To Rot
Start with checking the type of wood rot, dry rot of wet rot. Continue with removing all the rotted wood. Always remove an area greater than the damaged part you can see. Clean the whole surface and treat it with a suitable fungicide. You can purchase some or make it yourself. Add new wood to the parts you have removed. Ensure that the beams under the floor are not damaged.
In this blog post, I will show the types of rot, and how to spot it. How to fix the floor that is starting to rot will be explained in more detail, and some additional frequently asked questions I get will be answered.
- 1 Dry Rot And Wet Rot
- 2 How To Check If Your Floor Is Starting To Rot?
- 3 Fix Wood Flooring That Is Starting To Rot
- 4 How Long Does It Take For Wood To Rot?
- 5 How Far Can Dry Rot Spread?
- 6 How Quickly Can Dry Rot Spread?
- 7 Does Rotted Wood Continue Rotting?
- 8 Does Dry Rot Continue To Spread?
- 9 How Long Does It Take For Dry Rot To Appear?
- 10 Can Dry Rot Spread From House To House?
- 11 Can Dry Rot Spread Without Moisture?
Dry Rot And Wet Rot
Understanding the cause of wood rot is the first step to dealing with the menace. The environment we all live in is laden with millions, if not billions, of fungi. Under the right conditions, the fungi cause fungal decay in the timber used in various parts of your house. If left untreated, over time it can even pose a risk to the structural soundness of the house.
The two types of fungal decay are wet rot and dry rot, which must be identified early enough if mitigation is effective:
● Wet Rot
Wet rot thrives by the fungi feeding on the moisture and wood nutrients, producing spores in the process. On the other hand, it requires moisture to spread. Its presence is characterized by darkened timber that may also be soft and spongy and breaks upon touch, damp, musty odor, localized fungus growth, and wood shrinkage.
● Dry Rot
On the other hand, dry rot is lethal compared to its wet counterpart and spreads faster. Spreading for dry rot is not water or moisture-reliant, as such. The fungi involved digest part of the wood, mostly the area that gives the wood its strength. It can thrive in poorly ventilated areas.
How To Check If Your Floor Is Starting To Rot?
To check whether you may have dry rot your wooded floor, poke the wood, preferably using something like a screwdriver. How does it feel? Is the wood spongy? Does the screwdriver go all the way in? That’s how you know that the wood is affected.
Visible signs would include green algae on wood, white or gray growth, mushroom-like body, cracked or peeling paint, and a darker shade of wood compared to the surrounding wood.
Fix Wood Flooring That Is Starting To Rot
Fixing the problem of dry rot will involve either repairing the affected wood or replacing it altogether. The extent of the damage involved dictates this. If the affected area is relatively small, and the parts are not load-bearing. you could treat the area. If the area is bigger, or involves a load, replacing it is recommended.
Using home remedies is also an option you may consider. This usually involves mixing up household ingredients to come up with makeshift fungicides. The idea is to spray this fungicide on the affected wood to make it hostile to the growth of the rot-causing fungal.
If you opt to repair the damaged part, you may remove it with the help of a hammer or chisel and a wire brush. In doing so, you’d want to remove as much of the afflicted area as possible.
Injecting an epoxy consolidant also helps a great deal. This can be done via drilled holes, which go a long way in reinforcing the wood fibers.
You may also use a wood patching product and apply it to the affected wood, which is later shaped by an appropriate tool.
To fix wood flooring that is starting to rot, use the following steps:
● Step 1: Remove all rotted wood
Ensuring all the rotted and potentially rotted wood is removed. While removing the wood, don’t just remove the affected wood. It is advisable to extend to at least three feet beyond the affected area to encompass all the potential areas the rot would spread to.
If a plank has a lot of damage, I recommend replacing it entirely. Always check the construction under the floor planks. You want to ensure that this part is not damaged. If possible, try to check under the house and check the different beams.
● Step 2: Clean the wood surface
Cleaning the surface of the wood is really important. This helps to ensure that no fungus remains on the wood. Any fungi remaining on the surface have the capability of affecting the wood later again.
● Step 3: Treat the surface
Treating the surface- This is done by applying a fungicide, either industrial or homemade. You can find multiple options in your local hardware store, or online. Try to treat both the top and the bottom of the floor. The bottom in case you can reach it.
● Step 4: Add new wood
If you have removed part of the wood, replace them with new parts. As said before, if the damaged parts are more significant, I recommend replacing the whole plank or planks.
In case you have removed only small parts, or even only the surface, you can replace it with epoxy wood filler, or other wood restoration material.
● Step 5: Finishing
Finish off by applying paint or other finish you are used to using onto the replaced parts. Do not forget the underside of the wood.
How Long Does It Take For Wood To Rot?
Wood can start to rot in after one week under ideal conditions. But it will take up to 6 months to see real signs of rot. It greatly depends on moisture, temperature, and exposure. The environment is always laden with wood-rotting accelerators such as fungi that create the perfect wood rot once combined with moisture humidity and exposed wood.
Depending on whether you’re dealing with wet rot or dry rot, the amount of time taken by the wood to rot will vary. The proper temperatures must obtain for wet rot, i.e., 65-90 degrees F, oxygen, dampness/moisture, and the actual wood. Once these conditions are favorable, it takes approximately one week to ten days for the rot to develop. Noticing the actual rot, however, takes much longer.
Wet rot spreads quicker to the dampest regions of the wood and as such should be removed immediately, one notices its presence. Dry rot will spread quicker in poorly ventilated areas.
How Far Can Dry Rot Spread?
Discovering wood rot at its initial stages is not easy. Mostly, we come to realize the presence of wood rot upon seeing its impact. Once dry rot takes hold of your timber, the ramifications can be far-reaching if not properly kept in check. What makes it even more dangerous is that spreading doesn’t need much moisture. In contrast to wet rot that needs moisture or dampness. Dry rot spreads to all areas on the wood floor where conditions are suitable. It doesn’t stop with the floor. Dry rot can spread to and damage your house’s support beams, ceiling joists, roof decking et Cetra.
How Quickly Can Dry Rot Spread?
Once the right conditions prevail, the dry rot can spread really quickly. Dry rot thrives at 66 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and likes poorly ventilated areas. It needs no abundance of moisture for it to spread on your wooden floor. 30 to 40 percent moisture is just as sufficient. Wood experts agree that dry rot has the capability of spreading up to 3 inches per day, under perfect conditions.
Does Rotted Wood Continue Rotting?
Rotted wood will continue rotting, and can spread across your floor if not stopped correctly. Wet rot will continue as long as there is a wet or damp environment. Dry rot can spread in a dry environment and likes poorly ventilated areas.
Depending on the scale of the damage, treat the damaged areas. Or replace the wood if the damage is more severe. Ensure that you treat the other wood close to it with an effective fungicide. If you are unsure what to do, ask a professional for help.
Does Dry Rot Continue To Spread?
Dry rot will continue to spread when it is not treated correctly. It does not need a wet or damp environment. Particularly when the area is poorly ventilated, it is prone to spread further. I recommend replacing the infected wood and treating other areas with an effective fungicide.
It is slightly different compared to wet rot, which does not spread. However, this doesn’t mean that wet rot is less dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, dry rot is by far much worse in terms of spreading.
How Long Does It Take For Dry Rot To Appear?
Two things should not be confused here, the first one being the time taken for the dry rot to infect your wood and the time such infection manifests itself. Ordinarily, dry rot will be discovered through its effects on the wood.
This does not mean that it needs time to develop and grow. As captured in this article, the dry rot, all suitable conditions prevailing, takes approximately a week to ten days for the rot to develop. It takes much longer for the effects to appear. Once spotted, you’re best advised to fix the problem without delay. The longer you wait, the bigger the problem will be.
Can Dry Rot Spread From House To House?
Dry rot is caused by a fungus that can spread rapidly if untreated. It can spread all over your house and cause extensive structural damage if the situation remains uncontrolled. Spreading from house to house is a different issue altogether and is uncommon. However, if the houses or some of their parts are joined or connected with wood, then the dry rot may spread from one house to another.
If wood is moved from one house to another one, it is possible that the dry rot is moved as well. I always recommend being extremely careful to move wood or timber from one house to another one when rot or harmful insects (like the long worm or woodworm) are involved.
Can Dry Rot Spread Without Moisture?
Dry rot is capable of spreading without moisture. However, it is essential to know that moisture is an important element for its growth at the initial stages. It occurs much more often in poorly ventilated areas. However, as for spreading, dry rot can spread with minimal moisture requirements.