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Dry Rot & Brown Rot in Michigan Basements/Crawlspaces

Dry rot damaging wood in Charlotte

Damage from dry rot creates small, rectangular pieces of crumbling wood on the surface. Dry rot damage is often mistaken as a termite infestation.

Dry rot, also known as brown rot, is one of the most detrimental forces to household wood in the world.

Approximately 20 billion board feet of timber are destroyed by wood rot in the United States each year. More wood is destroyed by dry rot each year than is damaged by fire!

Replacement wood used to repair damage caused by wood rot accounts for almost 10 percent of the annual wood production in the U.S. alone.

Wood rot in general leads to about 17 billion dollars of damage in the United States annually.

At Ayers Basement Systems, we have a long history of experience in eliminating, preventing, and controlling dry rot infestations in homes throughout Michigan, including Ionia, Big Rapids, Grand Haven, Cadillac, Charlotte, Ludington, Coldwater and areas nearby.

If you have a dry rot problem in your home and would like more information, call or e-mail us today for a free dry rot control quote!

Dry Rot & Brown Rot: The Facts

"Dry Rot" is a term most often used to describe a particular kind of dry, cracking, rotting wood. Dry rot actually stems from a variety of brown rot species, mainly the "true" dry rot fungus known as Serpula lacrymans.

Dry rot survives on much less moisture than other types of wood rotting fungi. Dry rot only needs a wood moisture content of just 28-30% to survive. Some contractors have also noticed that dry rot also will not grow on wood with too much moisture, although this is not a fact.

Protect Your Home From Dry Rot!

The Bad News
The Good News
  • Dry rot fungus spores are present in most homes and can survive for several years until the right conditions to grow present themselves.
  • Dry rot is not the most common type of rot, but it can be the most damaging to your home. Dry rot can endure conditions that are too dry for other types of rot to thrive. In fact, up to a 75% loss in the toughness of the wood [PDF] is possible with just a 1% decrease in the wood's weight of the wood.
  • Dry rot can pull moisture from moist areas to dry areas. It grows through concrete, mortar, masonry, and even behind plaster!
  • Dry rot problems in basements and crawl spaces can easily be solved by sealing and dehumidifying the space.
  • Despite its name, dry rot needs moisture to produce spores-- at least 28-30% moisture content within the wood with a relative humidity of 95% or higher. Most softwood timbers in dry homes, especially in the upper levels, have a moisture content of 12-15%.
  • Treatment of the wood products such as boric acid are known to eliminate and prevent dry root fungi.

Identifying & Treating Dry Rot or Brown Rot Problems in Michigan Homes

Wood severely damaged by dry rot damage in Charlotte

Damage from dry rot creates small, rectangular pieces of crumbling wood on the surface. Dry rot damage is often mistaken as a termite infestation.

An accumulation of fungal spores that are covering the surface and appear as "red brick dust" are a common first indication of dry rot in a home. These fungal spores are actually just waiting for the proper conditions to begin growing.

Dry rot tends to occur several months after a household water event, such as flooding, a failed water heater, bursting washing machine hoses, or leaking pipes.

Dry rot can also be found in vented crawl spaces and basements with groundwater flooding.

Unfortunately, dry rot is often not detected until the damage is already very significant. At this point, the following steps are recommended:

Steps to Dry Rot Cleaning & Repair

  1. Remove All Damaged Wood: All wood that shows decay or visible fungus needs to be removed, as well as all wood within one meter of the visible decayed material.
  2. Remove Materials Near Damage: Plaster, paneling, linings, and ceilings around the dry rot areas can also contribute to the damage and should also be removed.
  3. Wire brush Affected Area: Using a wire brush, loose material is removed from all surfaces within 1.5 meters of the furthest edge of the infestation, including metal, masonry, and pipes. Resulting dust and debris is removed as well.
  4. Disinfect area: A disinfectant is applied to all wood, masonry, and exposed soil in within 1.5 meters from the damage.
  5. Rebuild: Substantially rot-damaged beams, joists, and posts are replaced with pressure-treated wood.

Preventing Dry Rot in a Basement: It is key to remove all standing water sources. After doing this install a plastic vapor barrier on the walls and floors. Install a self-draining dehumidifier powerful enough to dry the area. (At least a 100-liter model)

Preventing Dry Rot in a Crawl Space: Seal off all crawl space vents and door covers. Encapsulate the crawl space with a crawl space liner, then install a self-draining crawl space dehumidifier.

Dry Rot Alert!

Architect's Journal reports that dry rot can grow through damp mortar, concrete, masonry and behind plaster.

This makes remediation of dry rot complicated and expensive, and it can lead to future problems with dry rot if it is not treated properly.

How to Prevent Dry Rot Problems in Your Michigan Basement or Crawl Space

Ayers Basement Systems can help you eliminate dry rot problems at their source. We can dry your basement or crawl space, eliminate flooding problems, and seal out humidity.

This not only eliminates dry rot problems, but also creates an environment that is inhospitable to mold, wet rot, and mildew, while helping to keep out termites, carpenter ants, cockroaches, crickets, and other household pests.

We offer FREE, no-obligation dry basement and crawl space estimates in our service area. We can answer all your questions and point out the sources of humidity and moisture in your home.

We service Michigan, including Ionia, Big Rapids, Grand Haven, Cadillac, Charlotte, Ludington, Coldwater and nearby.

Looking for a price? Get a no cost, no obligation free estimate.

our service area

We serve the following areas

Our Locations:

Ayers Basement Systems
2505 S. Waverly Hwy
Lansing, MI 48911
1-517-731-0784