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Thread: Dry rot inquiry

  1. #1
    David Edens's Avatar
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    Default Dry rot inquiry

    Recently, I saw a wooden support beam, that was fairly new, in a basement that had seen some previous standing water. It was dry and solid again at the time of inspection. The water problem has been solved. Basically, I want to know if dry rot exists and can it continue to deteriorate wood even after it has been dry?

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  2. #2
    Patrick Norton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Dave,

    Do you mean wood support column? I dont see how a beam would be affected by water on the basement floor.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    If it's only been wet a few times it's likely not rotted. Generally, rot takes prolonged water/moisture contact to develop. Probing with an awl is the best way to ID something that's rotted. Basically, if 'explodes' into sawdust when you probe it or if your awl sticks in the wood, it's rot. Otherwise, nope.

    Here's a picture of a rotted post for reference.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Good morning, Mr. Edens:

    Mr. Fellman is not quite correct. Dry-rot gets its name by virtue of the fact that the wood may still rot in spite of the fact that it is otherwise dry. The reason for this is that the organism(s) responsible for the degradation is capable of transporting its own water source to the food source (the wood).

    Therefore, even dry wood can be attacked and completely degraded by the dry-rot organism, even when the wood appears dry.

    I have some photos of dry-rot fungi on my web site.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    Good morning, Mr. Edens:

    Mr. Fellman is not quite correct. Dry-rot gets its name by virtue of the fact that the wood may still rot in spite of the fact that it is otherwise dry. The reason for this is that the organism(s) responsible for the degradation is capable of transporting its own water source to the food source (the wood).

    Therefore, even dry wood can be attacked and completely degraded by the dry-rot organism, even when the wood appears dry.

    I have some photos of dry-rot fungi on my web site.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG
    I didn't say it had to be wet to be rotted... the OP said it had only been wet a few times and is now dry.


  7. #7
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Its not dry rot its fungus damage. stop uesing the words dry rot. the damage is from a fungi. 4 elements of life. life being fungus. 1. water or moisture 2. food the wood. 3. air. and 4. temp. 65F to 95F
    control the water or moisture and the fungus will go domant.
    ID the infection prob with a pick or anything if it has a sharp crisp snap to it. its ok. If it has a soft pry-out to it. its infected with fungus.

    Never use that crap copper green on or in a house it just stinks up the place. Proper treatment replace the damage materials or treat the infected condition with TIMBOR.

    Best

    Ron


  8. #8
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Slightly penetrate it with your awl and try to pry a splinter from it. If you get a tapered splintery shape, it is ok (at least for now), if you break out a small chunk of it it is damaged to some extent from WDO.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Oh Ron, stop whining. You know very well that (at least in California) a home inspector is not allowed to use the words "dry rot", "fungus", "termite", "beetle" or any of those words that the Structural Pest Board has usurped and claimed as the professional domain of the wood destroying pest inspector. Might be the same story in TN.

    I have started using "decayed" wood. At least until someone slaps me on the hand.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I have started using "decayed" wood.
    Everything "decays" over time, thus *all dead wood is decaying*, i.e., all dead wood is " "decayed" wood ".

    Even plutonium "decays" (half life is 24,000 years ).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Everything "decays" over time, thus *all dead wood is decaying*, i.e., all dead wood is " "decayed" wood ".

    Even plutonium "decays" (half life is 24,000 years ).

    JP,

    I did not write "decay" or "decays", I wrote "decayed". "Decaying" is not synonymous with "decayed" in the same way that "dying" is not synonymous with "dead". "Decaying" and "dying" are a process. "Decayed" and "dead" are essentially finished with that process. As an example, Vladimir Lenin is "dead", but not decayed. Currently, his corpse is rather well preserved.

    From the Mirriam-Webster online dictionary: Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online


    de·cay Pronunciation: \di-ˈkā\ Function:verb Etymology:Middle English, from Anglo-French decaïr, from Late Latin decadere to fall, sink, from Latin de- + cadere to fall — more at chanceDate:15th century intransitive verb 1: to decline from a sound or prosperous condition 2: to decrease usually gradually in size, quantity, activity, or force 3: to fall into ruin 4: to decline in health, strength, or vigor 5: to undergo decomposition <decaying fruit>transitive verb 1obsolete : to cause to decay : impair <infirmity that decays the wise — Shakespeare> 2: to destroy by decomposition
    — de·cay·er noun
    synonyms decay, decompose, rot, putrefy, spoil mean to undergo destructive dissolution. decay implies a slow change from a state of soundness or perfection <a decaying mansion>.

    Extrapolating the definition above, "decayed" would have gone through, and completed or nearly completed the process of "decay" or "decomposition". Not just dead, no longer sound or serving its intended function.

    Now, the real question is: Are you going to let this rest and let me have the last word, or are you going to keep this silly discussion alive?


    Department of Redundancy Department
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  12. #12
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Hey gunnar. good point on the Calif Lic# info.

    As to all wood decaying. this is not true. if it has a fungus infection then it is being decayed by the fungus. but without the fungus its just wood.

    Now you can have the last word. Rest in peace.

    Best

    Ron


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    WORD (variety: last)

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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Extrapolating the definition above, "decayed" would have gone through, and completed or nearly completed the process of "decay" or "decomposition". Not just dead, no longer sound or serving its intended function.


    So, what you are saying is that you are looking at wood which *will not decay any further* ... ?

    I doubt that is what you are saying as we all know that if you went back and checked that same wood a few years later, it would be "more decayed" that it was at first check.

    Meaning your extrapolation was incorrect.

    Now, the real question is: Are you going to let this rest and let me have the last word, or are you going to keep this silly discussion alive?


    Oh, wait, I guess I already answered that question ... didn't I ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
    Richard Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    JP,

    ...Now, the real question is: Are you going to let this rest and let me have the last word, or are you going to keep this silly discussion alive?
    To paraphrase Charlton Heston..."You will have to pry his keyboard from his cold decayed hands" before that's very likely.


  16. #16

    Talking Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Good morning, All-

    The mind boggles. You lot are either drunk or too sober by half! Either way, y'all are too esoteric for me. I will stick to bugs and poisons – a lot easier to understand than the wandering mind of an Home Inspector!

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  17. #17
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    Good morning, All-

    The mind boggles. You lot are either drunk or too sober by half! Either way, y'all are too esoteric for me. I will stick to bugs and poisons – a lot easier to understand than the wandering mind of an Home Inspector!

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG
    Caoimhín. Even if we boggle your mind, you do not boggle ours. Keep up your timely post. Much appreciated.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    WORD (a last attempt at last)

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  19. #19
    William Brady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    If you go to your Doctor and he thinks you have a fugus infecton is he allowed to say that work or does he have to send you to a WDO inspector for the final report????


  20. #20
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    The mind boggles. You lot are either drunk or too sober by half! Either way, y'all are too esoteric for me. I will stick to bugs and poisons – a lot easier to understand than the wandering mind of an Home Inspector!
    As a carpenter, remodeler and boat builder I am in complete agreement with your take on the term "dry rot". So, I might add, are Webster's, the OED, and a nearly endless list of authorities on the subject of definitions.

    Expertitis (feigning knowitallism) is a common disease in this profession. But, some of them mean well . . .

    Cheers,

    Aaron


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Caoimhín,

    Echo on Aaron's post. Personally, I'd be flattered to have you take the time to reply. Your website is a wealth of info. Thanks.

    Ross
    Morgan Inspection Service
    Niwot CO


  22. #22

    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    Hello Ross:

    Thanks for taking a moment. Actually, I am flattered that HI’s are as receptive to my posts as they are. I see HI’s and Industrial Hygienists in rather the same light – which is we both need to be a competent generalists in order to keep the big picture in mind.

    I greatly enjoy meeting with HI’s in the Front Range area when you guys invite me to your luncheons and dinners.

    I have done a fair bit of training in the Niwot area (and Boulder Co.) for local law enforcement and they too are a good bunch.

    Thanks for the hospitality.

    The dry-rot issue is rather interesting, I recently had a project wherein a bogus “Environmental Scientist” did a “toxic mould” inspection on an eight building complex. Although he falsely identified multiple areas of horrible toxic moulds that were sure to kill all the occupants, steal their cars and do gawd knows what with the pets – he focused on the science fiction and entirely and completely overlooked a very real fungal problem associated with the buildings – dry rot. Initially, we were called in to investigate his bogus claims of toxic mould – although we didn’t find a mould problem as claimed, we did find a major dry-rot problem that he entirely overlooked (in fact, until he met us, he didn’t know what dry-rot was). In the end, seven buildings had to go through major structural renovations – at a cost that surely must have run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Although we don’t see a lot of dry-rot in the Front Range area, it definitely can be a serious problem.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)


    AMDG


  23. #23
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Dry rot inquiry

    The dry-rot issue is rather interesting
    Caoimhín:

    In case these guys are thinking about ragging on you again with their specious inspector mythology regarding the non-existence of dry mold, I thought I'd make this preemptive move on your behalf. Not that you need the help, just because I can't stand the blatant display of stupidity which runs amok here from time to time.

    Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition

    dry rot, dry-rot

    • A decayed condition of timber in confined situations, in which it becomes brittle and crumbles to a dry powder; caused by various fungi, esp. species of Polyporus and Merulius, or by slow chemical processes. Also applied to any fungus causing this.


    Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, Third Edition

    dry rot n. 1: The decay of seasoned timber caused by certain fungi (as the house of fungi and some polypores) that consume the cellulose of wood leaving a mere soft skeleton that is readily reduced to powder.

    Though I will agree with Arnold Mallis, Associate Professor of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University (deceased) and his editor George W. Rambo, PhD in the Eight Edition of the Handbook of Pest Control that “The term “dry rot,” generally used to describe brown rot damage is a misnomer since, as already stated, high moisture levels are needed for development. The term refers specifically to the crumbly appearance of the wood.”, it has still been in accepted common use since 1795. Who are we then to alter correct common language usage?

    If we say peanuts, we are not referring to nuts at all but to legumes. If we say shooting or falling stars we are not talking about stars, are we? No, they are meteors. And if someone talks to you about palm trees do we understand that they are not really trees, but rather bamboo-like grasses? So, if we’re going to start correcting all of the misnomers in current use we will have to petition the Hann in the Sky to make us a new category on the forum . . .

    Sorry about the differnt font sizes. The Hann's text editor does not like pasted objects any more than I like re-typing.

    Aaron



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