5 Tips For Repairing Damage From Dry Rot

Dry rot is a type of fungus that grows and spreads on wood, masonry, and brickwork. The spores of dry rot thrive in areas with poor ventilation and humidity. This type of fungus causes damage to wood by feeding on its cellulose, making it fragile. A dry rot infestation can damage the structure of homes and other wooden structures which would usually require professional treatment. However, repairing localized damage is also possible in many cases.

Here are some signs of dry rot on wood:

  • Cracks and warps on wooden surfaces
  • Peeled or cracked paint
  • Parts of the wooden structure feel brittle and would easily crumble when touched
  • A damp smell similar to wet soil or mushrooms
  • Visible green algae on the wood surface
  • The wooden structure has uneven color, with some parts darker than others

While surfaces damaged by dry rot can be repaired, replacements are highly recommended for safety reasons if the affected areas are essential to a home’s structural stability, such as flooring, wooden beams, and joints. In such cases, consulting with professionals would be advisable before deciding whether a repair or a replacement is needed. There are companies like Seattle contractors that specialize in dry rot damage to help homeowners with damage assessment, repair, and replacement processes.

If you’re worried about having dry rot wood damage in your home, you can consider the following tips to help you get started with the repair.

1. Stop The Moisture

The key step to repairing dry rot damage is to identify where the moisture comes from. To do this, you can check around your house for damaged gutters, roof and plumbing leaks, and poor ventilation. If you have found any leaks, they need to be repaired first to avoid the same environment where dry rot can thrive.

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After fixing leaks, you can also check if the wooden surface or structure has any moisture build-up. In this case, you’ll need to ensure that the moisture dries out by allowing air to circulate the area or by exposing it to direct sunlight. This way, you can prevent the fungi from reappearing in any part of your home.

2. Remove The Dry Rot

After letting the wooden surface or structure dry, the next step is to remove the dry rot. To prevent regrowth, you’ll need to remove the rotten wood including all visible spores and fruiting bodies, if any. For smaller areas, you can use a putty knife to scrape the brittle wood in parts and then clear the residue using a wire brush. For larger areas, you may need to use a handsaw to cut off the damaged part. Additionally, you’ll have to ensure that the surrounding areas are also clear of any signs of the fungi.

3. Use Wood Treatment

For smaller damages where the wood was only discolored but not weakened or brittle, you can consider applying a wood preserver treatment that uses copper or borate as the main ingredients. Commonly, these wood treatments can sufficiently stop the fungi from spreading. However, there’s still a possibility of other fungal infestations so it may be helpful to continue monitoring the area for any signs of regrowth.

You can also treat the wood with a fungicide to prevent it from spreading onto other materials in the structure such as brick and plaster. In some cases, sterilization using a biocide comes after the fungicide has been sprayed for added protection.

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Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

4. Repair The Wood

Before repairing the wood, you can apply a wood hardener on the cleaned surface as this would stop the dry rot from spreading. If there’s a cavity on the wood, you can create holes in the wood and pour the hardener into them to ensure that all affected areas are covered. After the liquid has dried, you can either use a wood filler to fill in shallower damages or use another piece of wood to fill the void. If you decide to use a piece of wood as filler, you’ll need wood glue to fix it into place and use clamps to secure it until the glue dries.

5. Sand And Paint The Surface

Once the damage has been repaired, you can sand down the wood filler or the piece of wood used to smoothly blend it with the surrounding surface. For the finishing touches, you can choose to paint, stain or seal the whole surface to create a unified look.


To effectively deal with dry rot infestation, the key is to detect the presence of fungi in its early stages and prevent further growth so that the damage can be minimized. Given this, homeowners need to be on the lookout for common areas where dry rot can occur such as windows, doors, floorings, basements, etc.

When it comes to damage repair, it may be important to note that there’s a risk of not completely removing damaged wood which will allow the fungi to continue growing and spreading on the structure. This is why if you think repairing on your own would be challenging, it may be best to hire professional services to ensure the quality of the repair done. After all, protecting your home from further damage is always a worthwhile investment to make.

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