Basements & Crawl Spaces in PA & NJ with Dry Rot & Brown Rot

Dry rot damaging wood in [city]

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

One of the most severely damaging decaying forces on household wood in the world is Dry rot (also known as brown rot).

Far more destructive than Fire damage annually, approximately 20 billion board feet of timber is destroyed by wood rot in the United States each year!

10 percent of the annual wood production in the U.S. alone is Replacement wood used to repair damage caused by wood.

Dry rot problems have been credited for dealing about 150 million pounds worth of damage annually, in the United Kingdom, and wood rot in general leads to about 17 billion dollars of damage each year in the United States.

Eliminating, preventing, and controlling dry rot infestations is BQ Basement Systems long history of experience dealing in homes throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Trenton, Levittown, Pottstown 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 estimate!

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By Flora C. from Glenside, PA

What is Dry Rot & Brown Rot?

Dry, cracking, rotting wood are terms to describe "Dry Rot". However, dry rot occurs because of a variety of brown rot species, most notably the "true" dry rot fungus known as Serpula lacrymans. It originally got its name from the thought that it did not need water to survive and used a fermentation process to survive. Since then research has proven untrue, and it is now called, more appropriately, "brown rot", although the old name hangs on.

Unlike other types of wood rotting fungi, dry rot needs much less moisture--a wood moisture content of just 28-30% -- to survive. While there is no official proof on the subject, many contractors have observed that dry rot also will not grow on wood with too much moisture.

Protect Your Home From Dry Rot!

The Bad News
The Good News
  • Serious damage to your home can occur, fortunately, dry rot is not the most common type of rot, and 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.
  • Waiting for the right conditions to grow, dry rot fungus spores are present in most homes and can survive for several years,
  • Pulling moisture in dry rot can affect areas once dry. It grows through mortar, concrete, masonry, and behind the plaster.
  • 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%.
  • Dry rot problems in basements and crawl spaces can easily be solved by controlling moisture by sealing and dehumidifying the space.
  • Treatment of the wood products such as boric acid is known to eliminate and prevent dry root fungi.

Dry Rot or Brown Rot Problems and Identifying It In Pennsylvania and New Jersey

Wood severely damaged by dry rot damage

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

The appearance of "red brick dust" is a common first indication of dry rot in a home. This is actually an accumulation of fungal spores that are covering the surface, waiting for the proper conditions to start to grow.

After a flooding, bursting washing machine hoses, a failed water heater, or leaking pipes an outbreak of dry rot commonly occurs several months later.

Common areas for dry rot are vented crawl spaces and basements with groundwater flooding.

Usually, significant damage occurs before dry rot is detected. At this point, the following steps are recommended:


Steps to Dry Rot Cleaning & Repair

  1. Remove Damaged Wood: All wood that shows decay or visible fungus should 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: Remove all standing water sources, then 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 the 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.

In Your Basement or Crawl Space Preventing Dry Rot Problems

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

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

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

We service Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Trenton, Levittown, Pottstown and nearby.

our service area

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Our Locations:

BQ Basement Systems
525 Bethlehem Pike
Erdenheim, PA 19038