Dryrot is always a concern in extreme weather locations that swing from hot and dry to cold and wet. Weather like this stresses building materials and creates ideal conditions for dryrot to develop. Dryrot is particularly insidious in homeowner associations since it impacts the pocket book of every owner in the community. Learning to take steps to prevent it, and to catch it early when it does develop, can save big bucks.

Dryrot is a generic term for a variety of wood fungi which cause mildew, mold, staining and decaying in wood. In order for dryrot to develop, it requires a certain combination of moisture and heat and air. If the conditions are right, it can occur before you can visually detect it, sometimes within months. Infected wood loses its structural integrity. Damaged wood must be totally replaced or the fungi, which are living organisms, will continue to spread and cause more damage. Dryrot can also attract pests such as termites, which will only compound the problem. Repairing dryrot cannot be postponed, because the damage and costs will only increase dramatically. Dryrot can be found many places but the most common areas are the bathroom walls/floors, around windows and sliding glass doors, decks, around roof gutters, improperly designed or installed roofs and in wet crawlspaces.

  • Inspect the attic for roof leaks and moisture from improperly vented dryers or exhaust fans.
  • Check interior walls around windows for mildew.
  • Ask residents if any detect a persistent mildew/mold odor. Besides the damage dryrot does to wood, it can lead to concentrated mold that is a severe health problem, especially for those that suffer from asthma or other lung ailments.
  • Check crawlspaces for ground water or wetness. Probe floor joists, posts and flooring with a small screwdriver in suspect locations.
  • Probe decks and deck rails wood in suspect areas.
  • Check the sprinkler heads to make sure there is no direct spray hitting the buildings.
  • Check for dirt to wood contact on fences, siding and deck posts.
  • Look for evidence of termites and carpenter ants, both moisture loving pests.

    A special warning about buildings clad with synthetic stucco (also called EIFS-Exterior Insulation & Finishing System). The addition of styrofoam sheeting used in this product adds fuel to the dryrot fire. The styrofoam provides a moisture barrier around the structure that retains water in the walls and provides the cooler temperature which dryrot thrives in. Synthetic stucco should be monitored extremely carefully using special moisture detection equipment at annual intervals. Caulking around windows and key roof locations should also be inspected annually. For more information, see www.eifsinfo.net.

    Dryrot doesn't happen by accident. It's the result of material, installation or design problems that need to be corrected along with the removal of the dryrot itself. Left to do its dirty work, dryrot can create enormous damage in a short period of time So when it comes to dryrot, deal with it. For more information about dryrot and building maintenance, .

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