North Orange County (714) 389-7999 • Central Orange County  (949) 681-6630 • South Orange County (949) 600-7832

FUNGUS & DRY ROT

Most fungus damage is caused by excessive moisture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per the Structural Pest Control Act regarding “wood members weakened by fungus and wood destroying pests.”

Structural members which appear to be structurally weakened by wood-destroying pests to the point where they no longer serve their intended purpose shall be replaced or reinforced. Structural members which are structurally weakened by fungus to the point where they no longer serve their intended purpose shall be removed or, if feasible, may remain in place if another structural member is installed adjacent to it to perform the same function, if both members are dry (below 20% moisture content), and if the excessive moisture condition responsible for the fungus damage is corrected. Structural members which appear to have only surface fungus damage may be chemically treated and/or left as is if, in the opinion of the inspector, the structural member will continue to perform its originally intended function and if correcting the excessive moisture condition will stop the further expansion of the fungus.

Wood Destroying Organisms & Fungus

Fungus (fungi, plural) is a plant that lacks chlorophyll. Unable to synthesize their own food, they feed off of cells in the wood. The fungi secrete enzymes that break down to wood (into usable food) and can significantly reduce the strength of the wood. It is estimated that Wood-Decay Fungi (found throughout the United States) causes as much, if not more, damage to homes as termites. While the average moisture content of wood is between 13-17 percent, fungus generally occurs when the wood moisture content exceeds 20 percent, coupled with mild temperatures.

Non-Decay Fungi.

Sap-staining fungi leave wood with a bluish, bluish-black, gray or brown stain color. Surface-staining fungi (mold and mildew) leave the surface of the wood with a powdery or fuzzy appearance that varies in color. Though sap and surface-staining fungi do not significantly reduce the structural strength of wood, they are considered precursors to wood-decay fungi. White pocket rot produces small pits in wood and is only active in living trees.

 

Wood-Decay Fungi. White rot leaves wood with a bleached appearance and a spongy and stringy texture. Brown rot leaves wood with a dark brown, checkered appearance and a brittle texture. Note: wood that exhibits brown rot has lost its structural integrity and is easily crumbled. Water-conducing fungus or “dry rot” produces a decay similar to brown rot, but may vary in color.

Treatment

Proper identification of the type of fungus is essential to developing the proper control measures. Surface-staining fungi can be cleaned with a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water, using a brush or power washer to remove the fungi from the surface of the wood.

For other fungi, the application of Borate wood preservative is a simple and effective control method. Borate is highly toxic to all wood destroying organisms and, unlike other wood preservatives, they are non-volatile, odorless, and are less toxic than table salt. They do not discolor the wood, are non-corrosive, environmentally safe and known to be effective in controlling more than 45 different species of wood decaying fungus. They are also effective in controlling beetles, termites, carpenter ants and a host of other insects.

If the fungi have actually damaged the wood, the corrective action will depend on the severity of the damage. The most effective and common method for moderate to severe damage is to replace the area of damaged wood. However, if only a small area is affected, borates and epoxies are a cost-effective alternative. The rotten wood is excavated and treated with borates. A liquid epoxy consolidant is then applied to harden the soft wood and, once cured, the epoxy wood filler is packed into the void. The surface can then be sanded flush and repainted.

Finally, all reasonable attempts should be made to remove the conditions that allow the growth of fungi, especially moisture. This may include installing a vapor barrier in the crawl spaces, sump pump and dehumidifier in the basement, providing proper drainage of rain and surface water away from the structure, removing sources of water penetration into the structure, and properly ventilating affected areas.

 

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England Exterminating

20331 Lake Forest Dr  #C10

Lake Forest, CA 92630

North Orange County (714) 389-7999  *   Central Orange County  (949) 681-6630  •   South Orange County  (949) 600-7832

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