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Common Reasons for Wood Rot

Common Reasons for Wood Rot

Wood rot in homes and buildings on the OBX is a common occurrence. It is caused when bacteria and fungi have a chance to grow in a damp environment. Our weather (high humidity, nor’easters, hurricanes, etc…) provides enough moisture to promote wood rot. If you know what to look for, you can often catch the rot early enough to avoid major structural damage.

The three most common reasons for excessive moisture in the home are lack of maintenance, bad design, and slip-shod construction.

If your home has water infiltration issues, most often the fix of the cause is very simple, but the damage may be widespread and requires some amount of expertise to fully repair it. Building permits are usually required and local municipalities require inspections before granting a certificate of occupancy. It can be a very costly process.

Here are some common areas to check for water intrusion:

Roof to wall flashing. Look for any degradation in your siding at the step flashing or flashing separating from your chimney, dormers, or gable returns. Look for damage where multiple rooflines come together or tie back into the house.

Bad Step Flashing

Deck Flashing. It can be difficult to fully examine your deck flashing over the rim joist, but if the flashing has deteriorated you should be able to see it if looking from below the deck. Galvanized flashing was once commonly used on the OBX and it will deteriorate over time.

Window/Door Flashing and Trim. Your windows and doors should have a flashing above the head trim. It can be stainless steel, copper, or PVC. Exterior trim needs to be caulked and painted regularly.

Bad Trim

Door Sill Pans. Sill pans are necessary to allow water to weep out beneath the door. How important are sill pans? They are important enough that every door manufacturer requires it.

Door Pan

Wood in contact with soil. Wood components on your home should be at least 6 inches away from soil.

Once sheathing rot is discovered and repairs have begun, the NC Building Code requires that the contractor remove siding and trim until sound plywood is located. Any plywood with signs of rot needs to be removed and the framing behind it needs to be inspected. If you see signs of rot it is important to address the problem as soon as possible.

Sheathing Rot

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