Wood rot is a byproduct of too much moisture, the same culprit that can cause mold and other water-related issues. It is a common problem within the home improvement industry, so much so that it drives upwards of 10% of wood production sales. The good news is that there are a number of routine measures that homeowners can take to prevent most, if not all, wood rot and moisture related problems around the home:

• Check your basement or crawlspace. Poor ventilation, structural issues, and/or plumbing leaks can result in moisture accumulation, resulting in wood rot and/or mold.
• Pressure wash your home annually, repair damaged wood, and apply touch-up paint and caulk to secure paint-integrity and prevent further rotting.
• Also, apply caulk around your windows and doors, to prevent water from entering and causing wood rot or damaging other items in your home.
• Keep gutters clear of debris and working properly so that water is safely carried away from your home. A poorly-maintained gutter system will drop water near your home’s foundation, allowing moisture into your basement or crawlspace and leading to land erosion and foundation issues.
• Inspect your attic and roof for possible leaks and/or water damage. A home’s roof is its most critical barrier to inclement weather. Roof failure will lead to a host of issues including water damage, wood rot, and mold development.
• Repair or replace caulking around your tubs and showers, and make sure that tile grout is not broken-down so it continues to provide a strong moisture barrier.
• When taking a shower use your ventilation system to remove steam from your bathroom.
• Check pipes under sinks, in basements and crawlspaces, and in other areas around your home. Even small plumbing leaks can result in wood rot, mold, and pest related issues.

Carefully executed, these steps will go a long way toward preventing moisture, wood rot, and mold, altogether. That being said, it is possible–even with the above-listed precautionary measures–that homeowners will experience water-related damage at some point during the life of their home. In these instances, it is important to consult a professional company that specializes in wood rot repair, waterproofing, and mold remediation.

Be sure to ask them the tough questions: Do they have the appropriate experience for the job? Can they provide referrals for jobs similar in scope? Do they carry proper insurance and licensing? How long have they been in business? What is their rating on the Better Business Bureau? Are they listed in HomeServiceReports.org or other similar rating agencies? You get the idea.

And, remember, just because a contractor says there are “mold issues” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. There are some less-reputable companies that regularly use mold and associated health risks as scare tactics to create urgency with unsuspecting homeowners. Bottom line: check all contractors out thoroughly before inviting them into your home, especially in this category.

In the final analysis, homeowners can prevent most–if not all–wood rot, mold, and other water-related problems, by taking relatively easy precautionary steps. And, in those rare instances where they cannot, it’s best to consult the experts who know how to do the job right. In the end, you and your family will be glad that you did!