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What To Know About Wood Rot And How To Prevent It

All To Know About Wood Rot And How To Prevent It - All Climate Roofing

Moisture is the number one enemy of your roof, and if you’re able to prevent water from getting into it, you’ll be able to avoid all kinds of issues. This includes wood rot which, if left untreated, can cause serious issues or even lead to you needing a new roof. Why is it so important to check for wood rot? Here’s what you need to know. 

What Is Wood Rot?

Wood rot, sometimes referred to as dry rot, is rot caused by fungi in your wood. The fungi feed on the wood cell walls, which keeps the wood strong. When the cell walls are eaten away, it leaves the wood brittle and incapable of supporting your roof. Sometimes it can be difficult to spot yourself, so you’ll need to have a contractor help you identify it. It’s always imperative that you get it treated as soon as possible to minimize any damage that occurs. 

How Wood Rot Sets In 

So how does wood rot start on your roof? Although it’s known as dry rot, it will need moisture to start. There are a couple of ways it can start to spread. Firstly, if you’ve had a new roof installed, the timber wasn’t allowed to dry properly before it was installed, leaving moisture in the beams that can lead to rot. 

It can also come about if there are leaks in your roof or if it isn’t properly insulated. Leaks or condensation will lead to excess moisture, leading to rot. The longer the rot is left, the more it will spread. Once it’s started, it will spread rapidly, so you’ll need to address it as soon as you find it on your roof to avoid having to replace it. 

How To Identify Wood Rot

The best way to identify wood rot is to have a roofer check your roof. They’re trained in spotting rot, so you can get it handled. There are some signs you can look for yourself, too. You’ll want to call for help if you see any of these. 

  • Leaks and moisture: If there are leaks in your roof, there’s a good chance that wood rot is also happening. As such, your first job is to look for leaks and places where water is getting in. Check your gutters and downspouts, the flashing in between joints on your roof, and any missing or broken shingles. 
  • Visible signs of rot: In your attic, you can start looking for any signs that rot is occurring. When you get in there, a musty or damp smell is your first clue that something is happening. Take a look at the timbers to see if there are any brown spots on them. Also, patches of purple, orange, or brown that peel away is another sign of rot. 
  • Signs of fungi: In some cases, you’ll be able to see the fungi themselves that are causing the damage. You may be able to see fluffy white cobweb-style growths, grayish strands, or fruiting mushroom bodies. 
  • Test the wood: If you’re unsure if what you’re seeing is wood rot, you can test the area by poking it with a screwdriver. If you see that the screwdriver enters the wood easily or that the wood flakes away, it’s likely that there’s rot. 

The Dangers Of Wood Rot

It’s hard to overstate the dangers of living in a home with wood rot on the roof. Firstly, there’s the issue of the fungi itself. The spores they give off aren’t harmful, but they can cause issues for those with any respiratory disease. That makes the home an unpleasant place to live until it’s treated. Plus, there’s the issue of the rot damaging the timbers themselves. Over time they’re going to take on more and more damage until your roof cannot keep the elements out anymore. That will lead to more issues and, if left long enough, will create an expensive repair bill. 

It is vital that you get rot treated as soon as you’re aware it’s in your roof. It can spread fast, so the longer you leave it, the more damage it will do to your roof. The quicker you get help, the easier it will be to put the problem right. 

How Rot Is Treated

Once you call in the experts, how do they handle wood rot? It depends on how far the rot has spread. If caught in the first stages, it can be treated with a fungicide. A borate solution will kill off the spores and stop the spread. If it has started to spread, the best solution is to cut out the timbers that have been affected by the rot and replace them. That will stop the spread at the source. 

How Can You Prevent Rot From Starting?

The best thing to do is always stop the rot from getting into your roof in the first place. It’ll be much easier and cheaper in the long run. There are a few ways you can prevent it and keep your roof in good health.

  • Insulate your attic: Condensation creates moisture, and that can lead to rot. Insulating your attic will combat this and ensure you’re saving money on energy bills. 
  • Check and replace singles: If shingles are missing or broken, that will let water into your roof. Check your roof, and replace any shingles that are damaged. 
  • Clear gutters: Clogged gutters will let water back up on your roof and cause leaks. Clear them out, and consider adding a gutter guard to prevent this from happening. 
  • Inspect your roof: Inspect your roof twice a year to check for issues, and have them put right ASAP.

Wood rot can wreak havoc on your roof if left unchecked. If you find any signs of rot when you inspect your roof, call on an expert right away to help combat it.

All To Know About Wood Rot And How To Prevent It - All Climate Roofing