Wood rot is more than just a nuisance to the beauty of your home; it can cause devastating structural damage if left unchecked. When rot gets a hold in your property, you don’t always have to tear out and replace the wood. Sometimes all you need to treat and control wood rot is a small amount of household chlorine bleach.
Common household bleach is a powerful disinfectant that can kill and stop the spread of the fungi that causes wood rot. However, chlorine bleach can cause excessive pulping of wood and alter its color. To avoid this, dilute chlorine bleach with warm water before applying it to the infected wood.
This article will discuss in detail how chlorine bleach can be used to treat wood rot. If you’d also like to learn how to prevent rot from forming on your timber in the future, read on.
What Causes Wood Rot?
Understanding wood rot is key to treating it effectively. Rot occurs when the wood is attacked by excessive moisture. This condition allows wood-destroying fungus and different bacteria to infest the wood and feed on its cells. As the wood is consumed, fungus spores germinate and spread in search of more wood, resulting in visible signs of rot damage.
Wood rot can exist as dry rot or wet rot. Dry rot is more destructive and will start eating through wood that has a moisture content of about 20%. Wet rot requires a high moisture content, usually about 50% for it to grow. Regardless of the type of rot in your home, it’s important to treat it as soon as you discover it.
How to Treat Wood Rot with Bleach
If given enough space and time, rot fungi will spread to other parts of your home and compromise the integrity of the structures holding your building together. Just like other forms of fungi infestations, wood rot is treated in a step-by-step process.
1. Identify the Source of Moisture
The first step in dealing with wood rot is to identify the source of moisture and eliminate it. This makes sense since rot fungi only attacks damp wood with a moisture content of at least 20%. Rot can grow as a result of roof defects, leaking windows, penetrating damp, rising damp, plumbing leaks, condensation, and washing machine leaks.
As soon as you identify the source of the dampness, repair the leaks and allow the wood to dry to be able to observe the extent of the damage properly. To speed up drying time, you can use a dehumidifier.
2. Prepare the Wood for Treatment
Locate the infected wood and dig out the decay. Window frames, garage doors, roofs and eaves, decking, and wet rooms such as kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom are the spots most vulnerable to wood rot.
Scrape out the cavities in the wood and remove all visible spores. A stiff brush may be necessary to completely remove all the spores, strands, patches, and fruiting bodies.
In cases where the decay is extensive, you may have to replace the infected wood. If the wood is seriously damaged but can still be salvaged, you’ll need the help of a professional.
3. Apply Bleach on the Affected Spots
Dilute chlorine bleach can be applied in the form of liquid or spray. It will kill all the rot fungi and prevent it from growing again. Besides killing the rot, bleach can also remove rot stains on the wood. Be sure to wear protective gloves and goggles to prevent skin or eye damage.
- Dab the affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in chlorine bleach. Alternatively, you can spray diluted chlorine bleach on those spots.
- After applying the bleach, allow it to soak into the wood, wipe off excess bleach, and allow the wood to dry.
- When all the affected wood has been treated, fill the cavities and channels with wood putty or epoxy wood filler to strengthen the wood’s structure. You may also stain, prime, or paint the area.
How to Prevent Future Rot Problems
Prevention is the best way to deal with wood rot. A good way to prevent rot is to seal all cracks in your doors and windows with caulk. To protect your front door, add an entry roof to prevent rain from getting to it.
Bleach can be used to effectively kill wood rot and stop its spread. It attacks the fungi that causes rot and stops it from growing. Bleach can be applied as a spray or directly on the rotten areas with a cotton swab. To prevent discoloration or degradation of the wood when using chlorine bleach, dilute it with clean, warm water and apply it in small amounts.