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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

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