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What Causes Wood to Rot?

Wood rot can be a frustrating, troublesome, and a taxing issue that can seemingly engulf a home, and hopes of eradicating the issue upon its inception. So, what really causes wood to rot? As it would seem that, if one knew the roots of the cause (no pun intended), then one could eradicate it, right? I believe so; and, with that being said, here are the primary causes of wood rot.

1.) Fungi (NOT A Fun-Guy)
While fungi might be the most simplistic organisms of all plant life, there can be serious ramifications that follow its presence about your wooden establishments, or wood supply. Why, you ask? Well, in essence, fungi eat (rot) whatever wooden material they are placed upon; and, coincidentally, microscopic spores of fungus float all about us within the air, and are placed upon varying surfaces by the wind. How convenient!

2.) Presence Of Oxygen
Unfortunately, fungi will have the potential to thrive wherever there is oxygen present, which is luckily, and literally, everywhere that we, as humans, are permitted to venture to. Oxygen provides the fungi with life, and the ability to continue to flourish uncontrollably.

3.) Temperature
Where the sun is both radiant, and shining, you can almost definitively bet there are fungi lurking about (great, yet another factor that resides just outside of our control). Thriving in temperatures that range between 40 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, fungi will continue to flourish under the permitting ultra-violet rays of the sun, and do so relentlessly when in the presence of heavy moisture. Which, coincidentally, provides a Segway to the fourth, determining factor that causes wood to rot.

4.) Moisture
Now, moisture can either significantly augment the destructive potential of the fungi infiltrating your wooden establishments, or, in the absence of, be your saving grace. The presence of moisture is absolutely imperative to the production, and growth, of fungi; as fungi are heterotrophic organisms, meaning that fungi obtain their nutrients from external sources. As opposed to their autotrophic, plant brethren, who have chloroplasts and produce their own food via photosynthesis, fungi are utterly dependent upon what surrounds them, with respect to sustaining life. Moisture (water) provides fungi with nutrients to continue to thrive, grow, and flourish within their newfound place of residency about the wood. Similar to all living organisms, water is of vital importance, and significance, with respect to the ability to live. However, fortunately, this contributing factor of fungi growth can be easily hindered by the removal of moisture from the infected site. Hooray! Finally, we have control! Although it should be noted that, while mold differs from wood rot, mold could augment the process of wood rot, and this is how.

5.) Mold
While mold is similar to fungi, with respect to presenting itself about pockets of moisture, mold, itself, cannot actually rot the wood, or cause wood to decay, for that matter. However, mold possesses the ability to enhance the absorption capabilities of the fungi, when coupled with it, and therefore enables the infected site to become more prone to fungal growth and infection. Watch out for mold! If you think you may have mold, it would be best to contact a company such as Air Quality Assessors to get your home tested.

Read More: Staining Your Deck

Why is Wood Susceptible to Mold?

Most of us have experienced finding an unsightly spot of mold on lumber or another wooden item. You may wonder if this small patch of spores can damage the structural integrity of the wood, and question how this mold appeared at all. This article will examine why wood seems to be so susceptible to mold and what to do when those sneaky spores strike.

Why Does Wood Become Moldy?

An important concept to understand is that wood, no matter how strong, is still an organic material. Wood is composed of sugars and starches even after it is cut down, which mold craves to consume. This means that wood can and will be decomposed by mold if left in the right conditions.

What Conditions Allow it to Thrive?

Think about the areas where you commonly find mold. Most likely you’ll find it growing around shower tiles, sinks, or somewhere in a basement or cellar. Mold always survives best in warm and wet conditions. In order to protect wood from becoming moldy, we must try to secure it from moisture. Wood can oftentimes become exposed to moisture discreetly through condensation, so it is important to remain vigilant when storing lumber.

What Should I Do if I Find Mold?

Luckily, mold isn’t always detrimental to the structure of wood. Many times the mold can simply be cleaned off as it hasn’t penetrated the wood’s surface. However, it is important to check whether or not the wood is rotting, especially if it is being used as structural support.

How to Check for Rotting Wood

It is easy to tell whether mold is causing the wood to rot or just sitting harmlessly on its surface. Take a nail and try to push it into the wood. If it can be forced through completely, the wood is most likely rotten and should be thrown away. If not, the wood is structurally sound and needs only a quick clean to get rid of the surface mold. It is always good to get your home tested for mold, since some parts of homes have mold hiding in their attic.

How to Remove Mold from Wood

Mold can be easily removed with bleach and a little scrubbing. It is important to spray down the area with a cleaner before wiping to ensure that mold spores aren’t being spread into the air. Check that the storage space is completely secure from moisture before cleaning off the mold. Otherwise, you’ll most likely have to repeat this process.

Preventing Mold

Now that you understand why mold occurs so frequently on wood, you can easily prevent a mold outbreak from happening in the future. As long as your lumber is stored properly and you use a cleaner to prevent spores from spreading, you will have to worry about your wood rotting no longer. Be sure to share this information with your friends and family so that they can combat wood mold, too.

Staining Your Deck

How long does it take for deck stain to dry before rain?

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Many homeowners love using their wooden deck throughout the year, but decks require periodic maintenance efforts to keep them looking great and to promote maximum longevity of the wood. You may have applied a protective stain or sealant on the wood at the time of original construction, but stains and seals can wear off over time and must be re-applied. Smart homeowners will check outdoor weather conditions to choose the best day to apply stain. After all, rain can easily wipe away the efforts of a hard day’s work if it rains before your stain is dry. By understanding the factors that affect stain drying times, you can better plan when to apply stain to your deck.

The Type and Amount of Stain Used

There are several factors that influence stain drying time, and one of the most significant of these factors is the type of stain that you use. You can choose between a water-based or an oil-based stain product. If you are concerned about the potential for a storm to pass through the area, a water-based stain is ideal. This type of stain will dry significantly faster than an oil-based stain. In addition, the amount of stain being applied should also be considered. Deck stain should only be applied with a roller or a stain pad rather than with a paint brush. It should be applied spar
ingly so that the stain can be absorbed into the wood rather than sitting on top of it. This will promote a faster overall drying time. To learn about specific drying times for a particular type of stain product, read your product’s label.

The Humidity Level

The average drying time for stain products can vary from two hours to 48 hours or longer, and weather conditions will play a key role in this variation. If you live in a high humidity area or if you happen to choose a rare day when humidity levels are higher, you can expect your stain drying time to fall on the latter end of this spectrum. However, if you apply stain on a warm, low humidity day, it may only take a few hours for a water-based stain product to dry.

The outdoor temperature, as well as the exposure your deck has to sunlight, can also influence stain drying time. Warmer weather conditions promote a faster drying time, and this is particularly true when the deck is fully exposed to sunlight for several hours or more after the stain is applied. Applying stain on a windy day can also promote a faster drying time, but be cautious with windy conditions. After all, dust and other debris could blow onto your deck when the stain is wet, and this can cause particles to dry into the stain to give it a rough appearance and feel.

Staining a deck is a great do-it-yourself project that can breathe new life into an aging deck and that can prevent further weather-related damage from occurring. Selecting the right day with optimal weather conditions and choosing a water-based stain product can help you to minimize drying time when applying stain.

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