Home Mold in Philadelphia, Reading, Newark

Dry Rot & Brown Rot in [territory] Basements & Crawl Spaces

Dry rot damaging wood in Merion Station

Damage from dry rot creates small, rectangular pieces of crumbling wood on the surface.

Dry rot damage is often mistaken as from a termite damage, due to the appearance of the damaged wood.

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

Approximately 20 billion board feet of timber are destroyed by wood rot in the United States each year -- far more destroyed wood than is damaged annually 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.

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

Philadelphia Basement Systems has a long history of experience in eliminating, preventing, and controlling dry rot in homes throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, including Villanova, Drexel Hill, Norristown, Doylestown, Merion Station, New Castle, Quakertown and areas nearby.

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

What is Dry Rot & Brown Rot?

"Dry Rot" is a term most often used to describe a particular kind of dry, cracking, rotting wood. 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. Research has long since been proven untrue, and it is now called, more appropriately, "brown rot", although the old name hangs on.

Dry rot needs much less moisture than other types of wood rotting fungi--a wood moisture content of at least 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
  • While dry rot is not the most common type of rot, it can deal serious damage to your home 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.
  • Dry rot fungus spores are present in most homes and can survive for several years, waiting for the right conditions to grow.
  • Dry rot can pull moisture from moist areas to dry areas. It grows through mortar, concrete, masonry, and behind 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 are known to eliminate and prevent dry root fungi.
Wood severely damaged by dry rot damage in Kennett Square

The USDA Forest Service reports that just a 1% decrease in the weight of dry-rot-damaged wood can lead to a 75% loss [PDF] of its the wood's toughness overall.

Identifying & Treating Dry Rot or Brown Rot Problems in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware

A common first indication of dry rot in a home is the appearance of a "red brick dust".

This red dust is actually an accumulation of fungal spores that are covering the surface, waiting for the proper conditions to start to grow.

When Does Dry Rot Damage Occur?

An outbreak of dry rot commonly occurs several months after a household water event, such as flooding, bursting washing machine hoses, a failed water heater, or leaking pipes. In some cases, water or moisture may have been trapped in a building cavity as the home was being built.

Dry rot is also common in vented crawl spaces and basements with groundwater flooding. It's often not detected until the damage is already very significant.

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.

Permanent Solutions for Dry Rot Problems in Your Basement or Crawl Space

Philadelphia 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 problems, wet rot, and mildew, while helping to keep out termites, carpenter ants, cockroaches, crickets, and other household pests. Crawl space sealing products can also do double duty as insulation, providing you with added energy efficiency.

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, New Jersey, and Delaware, including Philadelphia, Newark, Reading and nearby areas such as Trenton, Camden, Wilmington, Cherry Hill, Bensalem, Vineland, Chester .

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Serving PA, NJ, and DE including the Greater Philadelphia area
Our Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware Service Area
Cities in New Castle County, DE
New Castle
Wilmington

Cities in Camden County, NJ
Camden
Cherry Hill
Haddon Township

Cities in Cumberland County, NJ
Vineland

Cities in Mercer County, NJ
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Cities in Berks County, PA
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Bensalem
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Cities in Montgomery County, PA
Merion Station
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