Microbial Pests

We previously discussed the creepy crawly pests. Now let’s look at the even smaller ones, the microbial pests like mold and fungus.

The most common and biggest culprit here is

Dry rot

The term is a bit misleading because this issue requires moisture to occur. However, in more severe cases, it does make the wood appear very dry. It also thrives at a moisture content that is dryer than your finer and won’t feel wet to the touch.

Dry rot is a type of wood-eating fungus. It only eats the celous fibers that give wood strength. Dry Rot leaves a board behind that looks more stable than termite damage but can be just as weak, and compromised. Dry rot will cause a board to swell at the edges and suck in around the middle. In the earlier stages, it can leave hair or root-like look lines on the surface of a board. As the damage gets more advanced the wood will develop a charred or burnt looking appearance.

Dry rot thrives in wood that is 25-35% moist, while healthy wood should be 13-19% moist. If something is wetter, it can cause wet rot, which is a type of fungus. However, wet rot only occurs when the wood is constantly soaked, such as with a plumbing leak.

To prevent dry rot one must control moisture as it cannot take hold of wood that stays dry. Once dry rot is present it can be difficult to determine the structural integrity of the boards. To prevent further damage, dry things out and replace weak or uncertain wood.

Because dry rot is a fungus once it is present it can release spores and spread to other neighboring boards. As the amount of the fungus increases each year, it slowly damages things at first. The damage then worsens more rapidly.

General Mold

There are multiple types of mold and plenty of other fungi that can do damage to wood. We’ve seen crawlspaces so full of a white mold (that one is pretty common) that it looks like a snowstorm took place. We’ve seen mold growing on the wood where dry rot has already started just working as a team to cause maximum damage.

Identifying specific mold types is not our specialty and does not rank high on our priority list. It likely doesn’t need to be high on yours either unless you have specific allergies. How do we stop mold growth, has always ranked higher on our priority list. Maybe because that’s the question we know the answer to.

Mold needs moisture to live. Moisture is the easiest thing to eliminate to stop mold growth.