Wood rot, sometimes known as dry rot, is a living fungus that can destroy the supporting structures of your home. Although wood rot fungus can attack just about any kind of frame house, structures with crawl spaces and low pier and beam foundations are especially vulnerable to hidden deterioration.
How to recognize crawl space wood rot under your home
Wood rot fungus usually comes in “white” and “brown” varieties. The science books say that the names have more to do with how they attack the wood than their visible color, which can vary a lot from white to many hues of yellow and brown. It feeds on either the cellulose or lining in the subfloor, joists, wood blocks, sill plates and other supporting wood parts underneath your house. The spores aren’t directly harmful to humans, but exposure can cause allergic reactions.
One of the reasons wood rot is so destructive is that it can live and spread unseen for a long time in areas that are hard to reach. Structural parts that are compromised by wood rot lose their load-bearing capacity over time, and it doesn’t take much of it to do serious damage. Excess humidity and unwanted moisture combined with old, untreated wood create the ideal conditions for wood rot spores to get established and start to grow.
To recognize wood rot, grab a flashlight and look around your crawl space for a powdery or foamy discoloration on beams, piers, joists, or exposed areas of subflooring. You’ll want to take an especially close look in areas where materials join or where moisture can invade.
What to do if your crawl space home shows signs of wood decay
First, don’t panic. While it’s true that wood rot will only get worse over time, repairs can be effective and affordable. The earlier you get started, the better. Before inspecting your crawl space, take a walk around the inside of your home. Are there spots on your floor that have recently begun to flex or dip? Are you noticing any new musty odors? These are areas that you’ll want to check when you inspect your crawl space.
In cases of excess moisture, you can often solve the problem by improving drainage or with crawl space encapsulation. One common cause of unwanted water in your crawl space may be a one-off problem like flooding or an extreme weather event. Another might be chronic issues like poor grading, faulty rain gutters, or worn out seals or piping underneath your house. Professional encapsulation or drainage improvements can help prevent wood decay.
Standing water isn’t the only thing that can invite wood decay into your home. Hot air trapped under the house by ventilation problems, or condensation from extreme temperatures can drive up humidity and create ideal conditions for wood rot, mold and fungus. Crawl Space Encapsulation combined with dehumidification and waterproofing can be a very effective protection and restoration measure. Another great way to protect untreated wood with a polymer sealer. Polymer sealants are long-lasting treatments that can effectively lock out chronic moisture for years.
Options for repairing crawl space subfloor damage
Due to the time, craftsmanship and “art” required to repair wood subflooring, some foundation and crawl space repair companies will tell you that you need a general contractor to deal with damaged wood. SouthernDry crews specialize in the kind of woodwork you need to stabilize your floors and remove damaged structural elements. Depending on the extent and location of the damage, our technicians can either carefully remove and replace the compromised wood, and/or use steel SoDry jacks (made right here in Alabama) to restore your home’s foundation and add lasting structural integrity you can count on.
SouthernDry is a complete Crawl Space Waterproofing and Restoration Service Provider. That means we don’t believe in a “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to working with our customers. We focus on creating a customized solution that best fits your needs and budget.
We offer a hassle-free crawl space evaluations to Alabama homeowners. Our estimates are free, and they’re the best way for our skilled team of Project Planners to evaluate issues in (and under) your home.
Don’t live with wood rot, mold, or mildew. SouthernDry does the job right the first time, and we offer a transferable warranty on our Crawl Space Waterproofing and Encapsulation Systems.