The need for some home repair jobs is obvious. If your bathroom’s water system suddenly starts leaking gallons through your kitchen ceiling, you’ll know that something is wrong and needs fixing pronto. But, like a disease that displays no symptoms, rotting wood can lie unnoticed in your home for extended periods of time, only revealing itself when it’s too late. It’s also the kind of issue likely to cause extensive damage, spreading far, wide and quickly. And because your property is likely composed of plenty of wood, rot can even threaten its structural integrity – meaning it might literally destroy your house.
Do it quickly, and do it properly
For all these reasons, wood rot is the kind of home improvement job that should be given the highest priority, and undertaken with the utmost urgency. The easiest answer to when you should replace rotted wood is that it should be done as soon as possible after you detect its presence. Not only that, but it’s vital that you ensure the improvement job is a thorough one. If you do only a half-hearted job of resolving the effects of wood damage, you are simply creating a ticking time bomb that will one day explode with even more serious and costly consequences.
Check for rot on a regular basis
The best way to beat wood rot, before it has a chance of spreading, is to regularly check to see whether it has begun to appear around your home’s structure. Ideally you should be doing this every two to three months. Remember, the more often you check, the sooner you’ll identify any problems and the more quickly you’ll be able to put them right.
Rot is caused by moisture trapped inside wood, which creates the perfect environment for fungi to grow, so it’s important to look especially closely at damp- and moisture-prone areas like under the guttering and around window and door sills. While there may well be no obvious visible signs of rot – especially if it is hidden behind paint or sidings – wood that is rotten will give more easily when gently pressed against. But if you’re still not sure, you should assume the worst until proven otherwise – and engage the help of a professional like Sharper Impressions Painting to give you a proper diagnosis.
Don’t miss the less obvious rot spots
Just because your home isn’t built top to bottom from wood doesn’t mean that you’re not susceptible to rot, or that you can escape having to perform routine maintenance and inspection. Houses with surfaces made of other materials – whether vinyl, aluminum, or something else entirely – still contain plenty of wood within their structures. In these cases, pay particular attention to your home’s sidings, and other similar areas that present an opportunity for water to get beneath the surface.
Whatever your property is made of – and in addition to the guttering and sills we mentioned earlier – keep an eye on the various parts of your exterior doors; areas around heaters, sinks, toilets, bathtubs, washing machines, dishwashers, and the like; outdoor decked areas; and roofs. All of these places are less obvious but equally likely places for moisture to accumulate and damp to become a problem.
How to fix the wood rot you identify
If you do discover parts of your home’s wooden structure that are rotten, you’ll need to replace the planks or panels quickly in order to remove the damp from the environment. To be sure of its future durability, you are best off having this kind of work undertaken professionally – and make certain, too, that the new wood is promptly painted in order to prevent water from penetrating the surface again and causing further spread of rot.
Prevent rot from occurring in the first place
A few preventative measures can save you from having to frequently carry out corrective work to remove rotten planks and avoid the problem spreading. Regularly maintain gutters to keep them clear for rainwater to freely pass through, try to use alternatives to wood in your home’s structure, add covered entrances to your exterior doors, and ensure your home is well ventilated to prevent moisture from becoming trapped.
You should also regularly repair and refinish caulk and paint exteriors to your home, since cracks can provide a way in for moisture; likewise, be on guard at all times for the presence of even the smallest of water leaks, which can rapidly escalate into much more troubling issues.
Back to the original questions: when should you replace your rotten wood? If you discover your home is harboring some, then right now. And why should you replace it? Because, if you don’t, it will rapidly spread and infect the rest of your home, potentially causing its entire structure to crumble.
Delaying can only increase the cost of repairs, so take action. If you think you have a rot problem, call on the professionals at Sharper Impressions today – we’ll survey your property and make recommendations for prompt and cost-effective repairs or replacement.