Dry rot is the term used to describe rotten wood, specifically in the context of construction. This “wood rot” affects all wood members exposed to the elements, such as rain, sun and wind. A destructive fungus develops, damaging the wood, which leads to the condition that we know today as “dry rot”. These conditions develop due to continuous moisture exposure from rain, sprinklers, roof leaks, plumbing leaks or gutter/ downspout malfunction.

Methods for processing rotten wood

Repairing a wooden window frame An incredibly big problem for builders can be rotten wood. In order to determine the degree of decay it is enough to dig into it with a screwdriver. All paint should be removed immediately from the undamaged wood, making room for evaporation of excess moisture.

Wet rot is present wherever rainwater accumulates. The most dangerous places are the bottom of the front door box and the bottom of the window sill. When the tree swells, the connections of windows and doors open very quickly and easily, and water seeps to the end fibers, which are most vulnerable to decay. In this case, paints and varnishes do not save.

The next danger is dry rot, which is most often found under the floor of the first floor. It can spread rapidly, ruining everything in its path, including boxes of wooden windows.

Damaged rotten wood can be repaired with putty (for this purpose, special repair kits are offered in construction stores). If the damage is too great, and the tree is varnished or painted, then the putty will stand out quite strongly, and therefore it is customary to cut and replace a similar area with a new one.

After removing the damaged areas, the tree should be allowed to dry well and only after that it can be putty put on the tree or a new tree can be built up. Drying can be significantly accelerated by using a fan heater with a pulsed supply of hot air.

In addition, you can protect the tree from rotting with polyethylene, but you should not wrap the wood too tightly. Since we do not need the greenhouse effect either.

Special antiseptic agents do an excellent job of protecting. When working with antiseptics, you should carefully study the instructions, use a respirator, safety glasses and tight gloves made of rubber. For full protection, you can use disposable protective raincoats with a hood and a respirator.

In order not to suffer subsequently with the replacement of rotten parts, you must give battle to rot in advance! A wooden surface can be protected not only with antiseptics. In the tree, you can drill holes every fifty centimeters and putty special packages with an antiseptic in them. These liners will gradually give the tree an antiseptic, and remove rot spores, protecting the tree from new attacks.

How to repair dry rot wood?

Like a cancer, the only way to repair affected areas is to remove the rotted members and treat the adjacent framing, trims, siding, etc. with a registered fungicide. There are also measures that can be taken to prevent dry rot damage, and they are these:

  1. Sealing all seams and nail holes with caulk/ silicone
  2. Painting the structure every 5-10 years
  3. Utilizing quality wood for construction
  4. Redirecting water sources away from wood members

Rotten peeling wood may look awful, but often you can save a lot more than it seems at first glance: just follow our quick restoration guide.

Repairing wood is often much easier than it seems at the moment when the rotten pieces literally crumble in your hands. If the supporting structure is still able to perform its functions, then the chances are good to save the rest. But do not hesitate …

Restoring a tree, step 1: identify dry rot

Rotten wood is not always easy to notice, especially under a layer of paint. However, rot can slowly destroy wood beneath the surface. The first and simplest check for rot is to put pressure on it. If it lends itself – is porous or springy to the touch – it is likely that the rot hit the wood. Even if it has not peeled off yet, it’s time to think about repairing wood. In the case of stained wood, another feature is the darkening of the wood in the affected areas. If you are unsure or want to know how deep the rot has penetrated, try sticking a thin finishing knife into the wood. If it slips very easily, then the wood is rotten, and you need to immediately begin the recovery course.

Restoring a tree, step 2: is it possible to save dry rot?

First you need to evaluate the degree of decay and the effectiveness of the repair plan, since otherwise a complete replacement of the wood may be required. To do this, it is necessary to clean out all the rotted wood in order to understand how much is to be repaired. Rotten through the patches easily crumble in your hands. Then you need to scrape the rest – use a coarse-grained emery cloth or wire brush to remove all decayed wood and scrape out dust particles and old paint flakes. How much wood is left? Did the remaining wood retain structural integrity (even if slightly damaged)? If it is, for example, a window frame, is it strong enough to withstand the window glass? If the answer is yes, then proceed to repair wood. If the answer is no, the wood needs to be replaced.

Restoration of wood, step 3: cleaning dry rot

Once you have established the possibility of repairing wood, you should continue sanding – a centimeter deeper than the affected area – in order to remove all traces of rot. Then, to completely clean the wood, use warm, soapy water or a surface cleaner. Before filling wood, make sure that it is properly dried. (If you are in a hurry, you can use a hair dryer for drying). If the remaining wood was covered with paint or stain, then it makes sense to clean it all with sandpaper, because in any case you have to re-paint or stain the wood.

Dry rot restoration step 4: wood puttying

At the next stage of repair, it is necessary to use wood putty. Choosing the right wood putty depends on the degree of rot spread on the wood you want to repair. If the areas affected by rot are quite small – the size of a nail head – a standard wood putty will do. If the area of ​​damage is larger, you will need a powerful two-component putty on wood. Whatever you work with, use a spatula to form a putty mass in the shape of the wood you are filling. This is the most important stage of any repair work on wood – make sure that the putty on the wood is properly hardened and protrudes slightly in height above the level of the wood, since later you have to sand this area.

Preventive actions

Make sure that the waterproofing layer began to leak moisture: for this, look for signs of dampness on the walls above the baseboards.
Dry rot will not bloom in heavily ventilated areas, so take care of good air exchange in the attic and under the wooden floor lying on the beams. If necessary, install air intakes or exhaust fans in the soffit and in the end wall of the roof. Carry out regular inspections of hollow (perforated) bricks and clean them if they become clogged with dirt.


Regularly check the condition of the water pipes, especially under the bathtub and shower tray, as well as in the attic.
Many chemicals used to combat woodworm larvae and dry rot are flammable or toxic irritants that produce persistent fumes that last at least two weeks. This means that at least two weeks after chemical treatment, precautions must be taken.

Dry rot repair cost in our company

Dry rot is found in many areas of a structure including: windows and doors, trims, siding, decks and patios, eaves and roofing members, framing and sub-framing. Poor house maintenance will expedite the rotting process, increasing future repair costs.

Repair dry rot at Good Life

Here at Good Life, we are a leader in dry rot repair, servicing the greater Sacramento region within a 50 mile radius. If you are getting your home ready for sale or just being a proactive homeowner, we are here to consult and provide professional repair services. We offer a free estimates and inspections, quick scheduling and timely project completion based on your needs and requirements.

Sacramento, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Carmichael, Folsom, El Dorado Hills, Granite Bay, Loomis, Auburn, Rocklin, Lincoln, Roseville, Citrus Heights, Natomas, Davis, Woodland, West Sacramento

If you would like to evaluate the condition of your home or address an ongoing “DRY ROT” issue, contact our office today at 916-833-1379.
Every inspection visit is FREE of charge and a detailed estimate will be provided outlining all necessary repair descriptions and associated costs. We are glad to perform a follow-up visit to walk through every item and and answer questions before scheduling work.

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