5 Places to Look for Wood Rot at Your Home This Summer
Summers in Nashville, Tennessee are undoubtedly beautiful, but they can also be oppressively hot and humid. Temperatures tend to linger around the 90-degree mark in July and August, with average relative humidity levels of about 74%. There are plenty of ways to beat the heat and handle the mugginess, but your home’s various structures might have a harder time combating these conditions. Indeed, the warm, humid air provides the perfect conditions for rot to take hold of your property’s wooden features. If you’re not vigilant, wood rot can quickly spread and weaken the integrity of these surfaces until they’re virtually useless. This can also become a major health and safety hazard, as weakened structures can cause collapses and lingering rot may lead to respiratory issues for those nearby.
A previous blog of ours, “How to Spot the Signs of Rotting Wood,” provides detailed information on identifying wood rot in the first place. Still, you might not even know where to begin. As it turns out, certain features and areas of your home are more likely to experience rotting than others -- this is where you should begin your search. Let’s outline five common places to check for wood rot at your home this summer and beyond.
1. Your Wooden Deck
If rot ends up encroaching any part of your property, there’s a good chance that your wooden deck is the primary target. This feature is constantly vulnerable to outdoor conditions such as precipitation, sunlight, falling debris, pests, wind, and more. Applying a high-quality waterproof deck stain every 2-3 years and keeping it clean is crucial for protecting your deck’s surfaces from the weather. However, even if you take great care of your deck, rot can make its way onto your deck, especially during the summer. As you inspect your deck for rot this summer, pay particular attention to its posts and other features that are touching or close to the ground. Moisture in the soil can creep its way up your wooden deck and allow rot-causing fungi to thrive. Over time, this rot can spread upwards to other portions of your deck. Additionally, if your wood deck stain has deteriorated, rain and water vapor from the humid air can make their way into your deck’s pores, leading to rot and other issues. Look for telltale signs of rot such as darkened discoloration, softened wood, warped and/or cracked boards, chipping stain/paint, and a musty scent.
2. Wood Siding
Homes with wooden siding are highly susceptible to rot, which is in part why many homeowners go with other types of siding like vinyl, fiber-cement, masonry, metal, etc. This isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with a wooden house exterior, just that wooden siding is relatively high maintenance. Like wooden decking, wood siding has no respite from environmental conditions. The only thing protecting your wood siding from rot and other forms of damage are the coats of paint adhering to its substrate. If this paint begins to loosen from the siding, moisture can quickly find its way into the wood’s pores and create the right conditions for rot to form. Therefore, maintaining your home’s exterior paint job via periodic pressure washing and paint touch-ups is crucial to keeping rot at bay. It’s also important to ensure that your roofing and gutters are performing properly in order to keep rainwater from dripping down your siding and lingering around your home’s foundation.
3. The Basement
While your home’s exterior wooden features like its decking and siding are at the greatest risk of rotting, your interior spaces aren’t entirely off the hook. Damp areas of your home such as your basement, attic, and laundry room also stand to experience rot over time. Your basement is a good place to start in your search for interior wood rot this summer. Wet soil awaits right outside each of your basement’s walls -- if your basement isn’t thoroughly sealed, this groundwater can easily enter your home. Even if water doesn’t directly leak into your basement, the ambient moisture can increase humidity levels in this space, allowing vapor to stick to surfaces. Installing dehumidifiers in your basement and other damp rooms can help suck up the moisture in the air and keep your surfaces relatively dry. Sump pumps are also crucial in most basements, actively pumping groundwater away from your home’s foundation.
4. Window Frames and Trim
The trim surrounding your windows both inside and outside is also a prime contender for wood rot. During the summer, water from rain and condensation can cling to these features, especially the sills underneath your windows. When moisture lingers around your windows, it can creep its way into any gaps and cracks available, which are common around these areas. Proper caulking is meant to seal these breaches, but caulk loses its effectiveness over time. If you haven’t replaced your caulking in over five years, it’s probably time to tackle this project. Otherwise, you’re giving moisture ample opportunity to not only deteriorate the wooden trim outside your home but also the wooden features inside your home.
5. Wooden Doors and Frames
Just like wooden window frames, wooden door frames are also vulnerable to rot. The threat doesn’t stop at the trim around your doors, however -- you should also inspect your doors themselves for signs of rot, especially exterior-facing doors. Painting your wooden door about every 5-7 years (like your wooden siding) will help prevent rot. That said, it’s important to protect your front-facing doors in other ways, too. Installing storm doors, for instance, will shield your exterior doors from rain, wind, pests, and other outdoor threats. If rot does occur, it might be necessary to replace or refinish your door, depending on the severity of rot in question and how widespread it is.
Root Out Rot at Your Home This Summer
Summer is the season of sunshine and relaxation -- unfortunately, it’s also the season of rot. By taking the proper precautions and regularly checking up on your home’s wooden features, however, you can stop rot in its tracks and prevent it from popping up in the future. At Nash Painting, we’re all too familiar with rotting wood and the trouble it can cause. Our experience and wide range of services allow us to identify rot on your property, resolve the problem, and preserve your wooden surfaces for summer and beyond. We’ve delivered our painting, light carpentry, surface prep, refinishing, and pressure washing services to countless homes and businesses across Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN.
To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!