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Caulk and Paint Prevent Wood Rot

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Caulk and Paint Prevent Wood Rot
Article by John Swygert, April 2014 Home Tip of the Month; 042014

SwygertApril2014TipWood rot isn’t something you typically think about unless you see it. Homeowners may discover that wood used in windows, doors and even decks has begun to deteriorate. This deterioration occurs as different fungi feast on wood. The fungi need a combination of water and wood to live.

Builders point out that many of the hybridized wood products available for purchase contain large quantities of spring wood. Spring wood (also called early wood) refers to the lighter-colored bands of wood visible when you look at the end of a piece of lumber. Spring wood is characterized by large, thin-walled cells that are softer and readily absorb water. (By comparison, hard wood is the harder, less porous portion of an annual ring of wood that develops as a tree matures.) If lumber containing large portions of spring wood are used in building projects, they will be more porous, and therefore more prone to wood rot.

To prevent wood rot, the answer is simple. Wood sills and trim need to be kept caulked and painted. Inspection and maintenance of wood should be done at least yearly, to catch wood rot problems when they are small and manageable.

Another way to help prevent wood rot is to keep bushes and shrubs around the perimeter of the home trimmed back away from the home at least eighteen inches.

Screens can be removed from windows that are never opened for ventilation. This prevents the metal on the screen from allowing water to pond on the window sill. As paint ages and cracks on the window sills, water can seep into the sill and rot the wood. Storm windows can also be culprits because if “weep” (drainage) holes in storm windows are blocked, water puddles will add to the problem.

Source: John Swygert, Home Inspectors of Middle Tennessee

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