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Wood Decking. What Is Wood Rot and How Can You Prevent Your Deck From Rotting.

What Is Wood Rot and How Can You Prevent Your Deck From Rotting?

Nothing poses a greater threat to your lovely wooden deck than rot and moisture. While the lifespan of a deck is typically around 20 years, this can vary depending on the deck’s construction, materials, weather, and other environmental factors. If exposed wood starts to rot, you may need to replace your deck sooner rather than later. In this blog, we will discuss what wood rot is and how you can prevent it!

What Is Wood Rot?

Wood rot is a serious problem that can affect any type of wood. It is caused by a fungus that attacks the wood, causing it to break down and crumble. This can lead to serious structural problems and even cause the wood to catch fire. Wood rot is difficult to detect and can be extremely destructive. That is why it is important to be aware of the signs and take steps to prevent it.

Causes of Wood Rot

There are as many as five million types of fungi that exist in the air and soil around us. While many varieties, including yeast and mushrooms, are beneficial, some are harmful. The various types that cause wood rot are broadly categorized into three groups based on the effects they have on wood.

  • Brown Rot
    • Brown-rot fungi attack the cellulose in the wood’s structure and are frequently referred to as “dry rot” because the surface of the wood appears to be dry. The wood shrinks, turns a deep brown color, and fractures into little cube-shaped pieces as the cellulose is destroyed in a process known as cubical fracture. Brown rot spreads quickly once it begins to grow and thrives in temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • White Rot
    • White rot is the likely culprit if the wood starts to turn whitish or light yellow and feels spongy. White-rot fungi degrade lignin, another component of the wood’s structure, leaving the light-colored cellulose behind, in contrast to brown rot, which affects cellulose. White rot develops at temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, just like brown rot.
  • Soft Rot
    • Soft-rot fungi, which thrive in temperatures between 0 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, decompose wood more slowly than brown-rot and white-rot fungi. While it is typically found in fallen logs and trees and is not frequently found in homes, if the right circumstances exist, it may strike a home. Soft-rot fungi break down cellulose, leaving the wood with a honeycomb-like appearance.

Prevention of Wood Rot

There are a number of ways to prevent wood rot, including the following:

  • Keeping the environment around the building dry and well ventilated
  • Inspecting your deck regularly for signs of dampness or decay
  • Repairing any leaks or other sources of moisture as soon as possible
  • Treating the wood with a fungicide to prevent the fungus from taking hold

If wood rot is found, it is important to treat it immediately to prevent further damage. The best way to do this is to remove the affected wood and replace it with new, untreated wood. With the onset of cold weather comes the threat of wood rot or dry rot. When exposed to moisture, the wood undergoes a process of decay which breaks down the wood into smaller and smaller parts.


We hope you found this information helpful so now you know what wood rot is and how to prevent it! With Crosby Home Services you can get all of these issues diagnosed and treated with the services offered by our experts. Contact us now to find out more.