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Essential Guide on How to Prevent and Repair Dry Rot

Dry Rot Repair
Though wood is versatile and durable, certain types of fungi are capable of causing serious damage to wood. Dry rot refers to wood decay caused by a fungus. The following write-up provides instructions for dry rot repair.
Smita Pandit
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
Dry rot occurs when certain types of fungi feed on damp wood thereby causing it to dry up or crumble. The spores of fungi send filaments down into the damp wood. These filaments digest the wood as the fungi spreads through a network of thread-like filaments called hyphae. As the filaments eat into the wood, they cause the wood to shrink, leaving behind a wrinkled mass. This mass is capable of producing several spores which in turn can cause structural damage to the wood. Thus it is essential to identify the signs of wood decay caused by this fungus at an early stage to prevent structural damage.
How to Repair the Affected Wood
If wooden doors, window frames or furniture in your home are showing signs of decay, you must immediately try out the tried-and-tested methods of dry rot repair. Epoxy fillers, borates or wood-patching products are readily available, and can be used to stabilize deteriorated wood.
Things You Need
  • Borate-based fungicide
  • Drill
  • Treated wood
  • Epoxy resin
  • If you see signs of decay, improve ventilation and take steps to ensure that moisture does not seep into the wood.
  • Once you have tackled the ventilation issue, apply the borate-based fungicide.
  • Since borate is water-soluble, dry the wood first otherwise borate will get washed off with water.
  • If you see small areas of wood affected by this fungus, drill small holes into the wood and fill these with epoxy resin.
  • In case of serious wood decay, you might have to replace the damaged wood by treated wood.
Method 2

Things You Need
  • Primer
  • Wood hardener
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood chisel
  • Putty knife
  • Powder sander
  • Wood dowels
  • Rasp tool
  • Awl
  • Drill and bits
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Scrape off the decayed wood using a wood chisel. If the wood is damp, let it dry.
  • Use an awl for drilling small holes in the wood. These holes must measure about three millimeters in diameter.
  • You will need to inject a wood hardener so as to reinforce the wood fibers. Do make sure that you follow the safety instructions and the directions for mixing and application given by the manufacturer.
  • The two-part epoxy compounds that contain resin and hardener must be mixed just before use.
  • Use the putty knife to fill the holes with the epoxy filler for building up the affected area. Apply pressure for it to set in.
  • Use a rasp tool to shape, level or get rid of the excess epoxy wood filler before it dries or hardens.
  • Once the filler has completely dried up, use a sandpaper to shape the patch.
  • Use wood dowels for contoured surfaces. If the surface is flat, use powder sander to back the sandpaper.
  • Look for any depressions. If you find any, apply freshly mixed epoxy filler on them.
  • Wipe off dust and check the shape.
  • Move a fine sandpaper over the patch to ensure that the surface is even. Join it into the surrounding wood.
  • Apply primer on it. Then apply paint to touch up the patched area.
Preventive Measures
If you are planning to buy a home or have one constructed in a region where humidity levels are high, it would be best to consult a contractor about precautionary measures.
  • Do ask the contractor about wood-preserving products that can be used to repair wood affected by this fungus.
  • The types of fungi that cause wood to rot and crumble will become active only if the moisture levels are high and the temperature ranges between 40 to 100ºF. So, one needs to make sure that water or moisture is not coming in contact with wood furniture, window sills and shutters. If you find changes in the color or appearance of wood, look around for leakage.
  • A rusty-red colored dust is one of warning signal that shouldn't be ignored. So take action before fungal growth causes structural damage. Make sure that you repair plumbing leaks or roof leaks as soon as possible. You need to check the wood for cracks or other signs of decay or damage.
Prevention is always better than cure, so try to eliminate the conditions in which fungi may flourish. You could do so by waterproofing wood. If you ever notice signs of dry rot in your home, use the aforementioned instructions to prevent wood from getting damaged. Wood fillers and stabilizers are easily available in the market and the repair work will certainly not cut a big hole in your pocket. However, one may need to replace the wood if the wood has already been damaged beyond repair.