Dry rot wood repair may seem confusing to you, but all you need to do is following our guidelines and learn about it. Dry rot is one of the most overriding concerns in the United States Homeowners. You will rarely find a home where the window frame or sill isn't suffering from dry rot. Hitherto you have possibly hired a contractor several times for dry rot repair.
But then it comes back again and causes more damage to the infected wood. Ever wonder why it happens? It is caused by a type of fungus that flourishes when the wood is wet.
Dry rot affects window sills, exterior shingles, shutters, or anywhere where the caulk doesn't work. So, before it is too late, you should think of dry rot repair. Now you don't need to think of hiring someone; instead, you can do it yourself.
Here we come with an all-inclusive and effective solution to repair dry rot wood. We'll tell you how to repair dry rot in wood so you can keep your home in tip-top shape. Following this guide will save your dry rot repair cost as well.
Before we explain how to repair dry rot wood, you should first know what dry rot is and how it happens.
What is Dry Rot on Wood?
Dry rot is basically a wood-decaying fungus that is known for destroying woods in buildings. It can spread quickly through wooden materials in a building. The possible zone for dry rot is where the wood and water meet.
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The risk of dry rot increases when the potential area takes too long to dry. Moreover, it can thrive in a place with very little moisture. Some typical sign of dry rot includes;
- Wood shrinks, cracks, and darkens
- White, fluffy 'cottonwool' mycelium
- A musty and damp odor from active decay
- Rust red color spore
What Causes Dry Wood Rot?
As mentioned, a type of wood-destroying fungus causes dry rot on wood. The fungal spores become active when it comes close to;
- Temperature between 5oC and 40oC
- Moisture content higher than 21%
The fungal spores feed the wood and make the wood brittle. Sooner or later, the wood breaks down.
It's a common problem in older homes where wood may not have been treated for a while. But surprisingly, it can happen even in recently built houses. So, a regular inspection is required.
Inspect and Identify the Dry Rot on Wood
Just the opposite of the name, the dry rot fungus needs moisture to grow. So, any area close to the water source is a potentially risky zone.
Where to Look for Dry Rot?
Outside areas where you'll find damaged gutters or downspouts, such as;
- Window sills
- A deck that is attached to the home
- A place where the water runs off the roof along a wall
- Any vertical surface that meets a horizontal surface
Inside areas like;
- Areas where there may be a leaky pipe, stuffy attic space
- Damp basements
- Rim joints
- the toilet floor or floor around a tub
What Do You Need?
You'll need a few things to check the doubtful zones in a regular search.
- Flat-head screwdriver
Start the Hunt!
So, first of all, look at window sills, fascia boards, and any other horizontal wood that meets concrete. Keep an eye on wood joints. Check if the wood in any particular area looks dark. Use the flashlight to spot the dark areas.
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Don't forget to check peeling paint, cracking, or blistering. Check the area that is near to the dirt. Test the suspected area with a screwdriver. If it makes too much sound, that means you have found the dry rot. Mark the point with a pen and guess the amount of damage.
Identify, Is the Dry Rot Structural or Non-Structural?
Now time to identify the dry rot you just found. Check if the dry rot is in its early stage. If so, then it could easily be treated. Or else the dry rot can spread to the structural framing of the building if it is progressive.
It would be best if you replaced the entire piece of the framing in that case. So, you have to identify whether the dry rot is structural or non-structural. Check if the dry rot affects the siding and roof of your home.
If it affects, it is non-structural dry rot, and you can overhaul it with any dry rot repair products. But, if the dry rot affects the framing, it requires immediate replacement.
Knowing the difference between structural and non-structural dry rot will help you understand the amount of damage. That's how you'll know if you need any contractor or you can do it yourself.
How to Repair Dry Rot Wood? – An Easy Dry Rot Wood Repair Technique
The dry rot repair process includes multiple steps. So, you'll need a lot of time to do so. There may not be a single affected area in your house. You'll need to treat each place, including the major and minor ones.
We prefer to start with the least affected areas. So, you can gain confidence as well as experience to move on further. You'll need the following things for dry rot roof repair.
- A saw or a chisel
- Wood stabilizer or wood hardener
- Wood filler
- An electric palm sander
Step 01: Get the Area Ready to be Repaired
Choose a convenient space where you can do the repair process without any trouble. Make sure to take careful considerations of children, family members, pets, and plants who will share the space.
Remove any temporary dust and debris from the affected area with a bit of shoring. The critical part, you'll continue the repair job outdoor. So, make sure to choose a suitable dry period of a couple of days.
The dry rot window sill repair process requires dry conditions so the stabilizer and filler can dry. Moreover, the place should be well-ventilated and have enough places to discard the infected wood.
A humid condition gives the fungus a chance to spread. You don't want to let it happen while repairing. Don't forget to wear safety gear as the wood stabilizer and filler are mostly deadly.
Step 02: Remove Dry Rot from the Infected Wood
Before you start to repair, you need to remove the dry rot from the fungus-infected wood. It is essential to take out every last piece that is infected. Otherwise, it can re-infect the remaining wood.
If you often do the inspection, the damage will likely be manageable. Use a chisel or a saw to scrape the infected surface. A chisel would be enough to scrape a slightly infected surface.
In case you need a saw, make sure you don't cut too much away. Keep scraping until all the loose pieces have been removed.
Step 03: Apply Fungicide to Stop Spreading
Dry rot spores tend to spread. It can spread into the healthy wood in no time. So, you need to spray fungicide in and around the hole you just created by scraping. Fungicide will take time to dry. So, make sure to follow the instruction.
Step 04: Treat the Uninfected Wood with Wood Stabilizer
Now it's time to treat the healthy wood that was exposed to the dry rot. Apply an even layer of wood stabilizer or wood hardener. Use an old paintbrush that has not been exposed to fungi.
It is crucial to put in wood hardener in all the exposed areas. If the wood is large, you can make some holes to fit them with the wood hardener. So, it can reach all the portions of the exposed area. Let it dry for a few hours.
Step 05: Apply High-Performance Wood Filler
You have come close to the end. Check whether the wood stabilizer has completely dried. Make sure the wood filler is carefully mixed. Now apply a thin layer of the wood filler over the stabilized wood surface. Let it dry for at least 48 hours, and again apply another thin layer.
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Repeat until you are satisfied. You shouldn't apply a thick layer the first time because it'll not make a bond. Once you finish using woof filler, make the layer even before it dries. It could be difficult to sand once it gets harder.
Step 06: Sand the Surface for a Smooth Finish
The wooden surface needs to be smooth for a smooth finish. You can use an electric palm sander to sand out the repair. Based on your expertise, you may need to sand a bit or more. Make sure to wear protective eyeglasses and a gas mask.
Step 07: Use an Acrylic Primer and Paint
This step is not compulsory but is required for durability. If you paint the repaired wood, it'll last for longer and also look good. So, you can protect the exterior of the wood with primer and paint. You can either match the color or pick a different color to paint.
Thereby you are done with the first infected area. Isn't it satisfying? Indeed, it is. Since you've gained some confidence and experience, you can now continue doing the rest dry rot wood repair. It may be some other days as you need to wait a while to dry and apply each substance. Once you are done with all the affected areas, it'll give you more pleasure. Your home is now well protected against further dry rot damages.