THE TRUTH ABOUT WOOD ROT (You need to watch this!!)

Don’t get fooled by contractors! Wood rot is the most misunderstood concept in home improvement. Many homeowners fall victim to wood rot scams and bad building science. This video from The Honest Carpenter will explain the TRUTH ABOUT WOOD ROT!

If you have questions about your home, book a consultation with us at The Honest Carpenter Website. Our trade experts can answer your most important home-related questions:

Be sure to check out our the other Wood Rot Repair videos:
Repair Trim Rot (Skirt Board):

How To Repair Rotted Door Jambs:

Fix Rotted Door Frame (Brick Mold):

How To Replace Deck Handrails:

Most homeowners can’t identify wood rot. This is a serious issue, because it means that they are reliant on contractors to identify wood rot for them! While many contractors are honest and hardworking, BAD CONTRACTORS can use this lack of information to their advantage, selling unnecessary wood rot repairs and pumping up bids.

Homeowners need to understand 3 things:
1) Where wood rot comes from.
2) How it spreads.
3) What it looks like.

Here’s a guid to doing just that!


Wood rot is caused by fungal infestation.

The fungi that cause rot need certain levels of temperature and moisture to exist (50-90 degrees farenheit; 25-30% moisture content in wood).


The fungi that infest our homes must have water in order to cause wood rot. Therefore, cutting off the water source that has initiated rot, and letting the area dry out, will prevent the spread of rot.

DRY ROT is an erroneous term. Most experts now call dry rot “BROWN ROT.”

BROWN ROT is caused by the fungus Serpula lacrymans. This fungus breaks down wood fiber, leaving it weak and brittle. When a rotted area dries out, it has a desiccated appearance, which probably led to widespread usage of the term “dry rot.”


Bad contractors will tell clients that “dry rot” will continue spreading throughout the house no matter what. BUT THIS IS WRONG!

The priority in every wood rot repair should be determining how water or moisture entered the area. This water source should be eliminated, then wood rot repairs can proceed.


Wood rot is often visible. Search for very dark areas, or dark staining in wood. Also look for areas that seem collapsed, or possibly even bloated.

If you can’t tell if an area is rotted visually, try these two tests:

1) THE POKE TEST: Just poke the area with your finger, or possibly a small screwdriver or knife. If it is soft to the touch, rot may be forming. If a tool sinks in more than 1/8″, wood rot may be forming.

2) THE PICK TEST: Dig an awl or knife into the wood grain, and break out a piece. Healthy wood will produce a long, linear splinter, accompanied by a snapping, cracking sound. Rotted wood will come out in little crumbles or clumps, and make a rustling sound.

Some areas SEEM rotted, but actually aren’t. In the video I call this FAKE ROT.

The most common source of “fake rot” is peeling paint. UV sun rays and heat can often bake paint and caulk off of a house, causing the surface to look decayed. But testing the wood will reveal that it is healthy. These areas may not need any repair–just re-caulking and painting!

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Be sure to visit us at The Honest Carpenter website:

(Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Apex, Cary, Wake Forest–North Carolina)

Thanks for watching!!

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