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Victor Construction
Serving the San Francisco and Marin County areas

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structural and earthquake engineering in the San Francisco and Marin County Areas
Victor Construction

Dry Rot Repair: Frequently Asked Questions

The San Francisco and Marin Country Earthquake Seismic Retrofitting and Dry Rot Repair experts


What is Dry Rot?

Dry rot, also known as brown rot, is an aggressive form of fungal growth that causes degradation and damage to timber and wood when it comes into contact with it. It is triggered by the combination of moisture and microscopic organisms (fungi). In order for fungi to damage wood, the wood must be damp continuously over a period of time. Fungi does not grow on dry wood. The fungi targets cellulose in the wood’s structure and causes the wood to shrink and eventually experience cubical fracture. Dry rot thrives at temperatures between 65- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit and spreads rapidly once it begins to grow.

A window that has been affected by dry rot

What Causes Dry Rot?

Dry rot is triggered by a combination of moisture and improper ventilation. When humidity levels in a certain part of a structure remain between 18% and 30% for a length of time, it creates an ideal habitat for fungal growth. Accordingly, any type of building, regardless of age of building materials, is susceptible to dry rot. Timber could become moistened for a number of reasons, including:

  • Leaking pipes
  • Faulty drainage
  • Broken roof tiles
  • Flooding/weather
  • Leaking appliances

How Can Dry Rot Damage a Home/Building?

Dry rot moves quickly throughout wooden components of a structure. It eats through the cellulose of the wood and continues to seek out more wood if left unchecked. Dry rot will continue to wear through the structural elements of the building until it is removed. This can cause critical parts of a building to weaken and eventually collapse. Dry rot can cause serious problems in any building, regardless of size, and needs to be addressed swiftly once discovered.

Is it Safe to Live/Work in a Building with Dry Rot?

Once any timber affected by dry rot has been removed and replaced by a trained dry rot repair professional, the structure will be safe to inhabit again. However, it is absolutely critical that a professional removes the wood and replaces it with strong structural components. Dry rot removal is not a job that an untrained person can complete with safe and secure results. A building with progressed dry rot damage may not be safe to inhabit until a dry rot service has been employed to correct it, especially in areas, such as Southern California, that are susceptible to seismic activity or heavy storms.

How is Dry Rot Treated?

There are a number of ways that a trained dry rot repair technician can address dry rot in a home or commercial property. Common methods include:

  • Epoxy treatments – Channels within damaged wood are filled with epoxy treatment to kill the rot and strengthen the structure.
  • Commercial antifreeze – Wood is treated with antifreeze to kill the fungus and prevent any further growth of dry rot.
  • Copper compounds – The rotten section of the wood is removed, and the remaining wood is saturated with copper.

After dry rot is treated, the affected structural components need to be repaired in order for the building to remain safe. It is important to work with a professional who can take preventive measures and ensure the dry rot will not return in the future.

How Can I Prevent Dry Rot in the Future?

After a trained dry rot repair service professional has removed the rot and repaired the damage, there are steps you can take to ensure the problem doesn’t return. Sealing cracks around exterior doors and windows with caulk and replacing old, hardened caulk with fresh caulk can help keep excessive moisture out. Clean your gutters regularly to prevent blockages that can lead to water running down the side of your building. Install exhaust fans in your bathrooms and run them after showers to prevent steam from building up. Sweep away any standing water on your porch or deck regularly. Make use of dehumidifiers throughout the entire structure, especially if your building is subject to especially high humidity levels.

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Contact VCE

If you have noticed signs of dry rot in your San Francisco, California area home or commercial property or want to take preventive action, contact VCE today or call 415-472-9144. We offer comprehensive dry rot repair and deterrence services throughout Marin County.