How to Identify Rotten Wood Versus Termite Damage 

Are you seeing damage anywhere in your property, especially around the parts that are made of timber? If you are living in a place where termite attack is a constant threat, you’d probably be wondering whether it’s termite damage or simply wood rot.

If you see timber damage, don’t just fret yet. Here are ways to identify rotten wood from termite damage.

What is Wood Rot?

Damp conditions attract fungi that cause wood rot. Once the fungi take hold, the wood weakens and breaks down over time. Water can enter through rotted wood and into the wall cavity, which can lead to further damage.

Wood rot is prevalent in properties near vegetation or forest. The wood-decaying fungus that causes wood rot infects the tree’s vascular system, causing the inner part of the tree to dry out. This opens the wood to rot.

Wood can experience both wet and dry rot. The difference the is how moist is the wood. Dry rot is characterised by its smell – damp, earthy and musty. Dry and wet rot can be prevented by keeping the wood clean and free of mould.

Signs of wood rot:

  • Damage in the home’s exterior, such as siding, roofing, window frames and door frames.
  • Wood damage, which may appear in various forms, including discolouration, shrunken size, cracks and splintering
  • Fungal growth and spores
  • Musty odour
  • Peeling paint
  • Excess moisture
  • Finding insects such as termites and carpenter ants.

Where to look for wood rot?

  • Window and door frames
  • Kitchen and sink cabinets
  • Deck and patio structures
  • Kitchen, bathroom and basement baseboards
  • Near gaps in exterior siding or roof shingles
  • Attic joists and rafter
  • Beneath the eaves of the roof
  • Basement and crawlspace structures
  • Habitually damp areas like near bathtubs, shows, household appliances and water heaters

Need pest treatment services? Call our team of professionals today!

How do you prevent wood rot?

The first step in preventing and handling wood rot is always being vigilant about the potential for wood rot to occur and actively looking for signs of wood rot. There are other proactive measures such as using a dehumidifier or exhaust fan in rooms or areas with high moisture content. These areas can also benefit from increased insulation.

For the exteriors, regular cleaning and fixing any wood, paint or roof defects immediately will prevent wood rot. Install awnings over windows and exterior doors to keep them from getting wet from rain. Make sure your gutters aren’t clogged and forcing water to flow down the sides of your home.

How do you treat wood rot?

Wood rot can be treated. If discovered in its early stages, treatment can be especially effective.

Before applying treatment, dry out the decaying wood entirely using a humidifier. With a wood preservative, apply on the affected area to prevent to further rotting.

A wood rot that is soft is next to impossible to treat. In this case, you have to consider removing and replacing the affected wood altogether. This project can be quite expensive, so prevention is essential to keeping your home healthy.

Need termite inspection & management services for your home and commercial properties?

What is Termite Damage?

Termite eat wood, nothing else. Once they gain access into a property, expect them to wreak havoc, especially on the timber parts of the house. They feed on wood from the inside out, so damage can remain undetected until it becomes extensive and noticeable.

Termite damage may look similar with wood rot. In the case of termite activity, you would be able to observe these signs: swelling of wood, the scent of mould, blistering and signs of “water damage.”

In most situations, by the time termite activity is undeniable, the damage is already extensive and significant. It might take a few years for termites to eat an entire house, but since they can stay hidden, it is vital to take preventive measures as soon as you or your neighbours discover a colony.

What is the Difference Between Wood Rot vs Termite Damage?

Look for these signs to help you determine whether you are seeing termite damage or wood rot, or both (it’s possible) in your property.

  • Termite Damage
  • Evidence of a termite colony, such as faeces, mud tubes and clicking noises in wall.
  • Mud tunnels in the interior of the wood
  • Hollow-sounding wood when tapped
  • Tiny holes in furniture or walls
  • Wood Rot
  • presence of fungal growth and spores
  • Damaged area is large and noticeable
  • Springy and squishy to the touch; may disintegrate in large parts or to powder when pressure is used

Tell Us How We Can Help You With Your Termite Problems

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Which is worst? Termite Damage or Wood Rot?

Both termite damage and wood rot can comprise the structural integrity of your house. What is worst is that both can cause one another. Wood rot may catch the attention of termites, which consider soft wood as a source of food and habitat. Meanwhile, wood damaged by termites leaves holes where moisture can gather, which triggers the beginning of wood rot.

When to Call a Professional Pest Control Service

It’s not easy to tell termite damage apart from wood rot because both cause similar issues. If you are unsure of your findings and conclusion, it is best to consult a professional, for example, a residential pest control expert who can conduct a thorough inspection and assessment to identify the type of damage, recommend a proper solution and apply the solution themselves.

Copyright ©2023 Bob Gunn - Termite Solutions for Residential & Commercial. All rights reserved | Legal & Disclaimer | Sitemap