How to Prevent Timber Rot in 2018

Picture of an Old Building with Timber

Late in 2017, the Property Care Association reported a surge in both wet and dry rot cases. The Association blamed the combination of an especially rainy summer and mild temperatures for creating conditions ideal for both kinds of timber rot last summer and autumn. There are lessons for us to learn as we approach summer 2018.

Believe it or not, many cases of wet and dry rot begin during the early stages of spring when it's damp and rainy. This tells us that spring is the best time to get ahead of timber rot. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Doing just a few things in the spring can protect your timbers against rot this summer.

Seal External Surfaces

Both forms of timber rot require moisture to flourish. You can create a moisture barrier by making sure all external surfaces on your home are sealed. Any and all exterior timbers should be painted or finished with a material that blocks moisture. If your home includes concrete or exposed brick, finish it with a special penetrating sealer.

Clear Away Soil and Debris

Whether external timbers go all the way to the ground or just to a stone or concrete foundation, be sure to clear away any soil and debris that could collect water. It is a good idea to clear the area directly surrounding a masonry foundation as well. You do not want any material up against your house that can collect and retain water.

In addition, make sure that the area directly around your house is properly graded with a slope away from the building. The purpose of sloping is to encourage water to run away rather than collecting around the foundation of the home.

Inspect the Roof

Spring is a great time for inspecting the roof of your home – both inside and out. Make sure there is no space for water ingress anywhere. If you notice any holes or loose tiles, don't delay in getting them repaired. Even a slight amount of water allowed into your home could set the stage for timber rot.

Inspect Internal Walls

Moisture trapped inside a home's walls is an open invitation to timber rot. So take a few minutes to walk around your home and look for any signs of moisture. Look for water stains, peeling wallpaper or paint, paint bubbling, and so forth. Any signs of water should be taken very seriously. Find out where the water is coming from and take care of it.

Check Interior Plumbing

Your house could be completely sealed against external moisture and still be subject to significant timber rot. Indoors, the culprit is almost always plumbing. Take the time to walk around the house and check all the visible plumbing you can find. That includes checking under the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom. If you can check the connections behind the shower or bathtub, do that as well.


Westmorland Gazette –