Find Rotten Wood Before it Destroys Your Home.


Understanding wood rot is the first step towards fighting it, so take a minute to think about what causes wood to rot. It is actually fairly simple – lingering moisture in wood creates an environment conducive to fungi growth, which in turn causes the wood’s fibers to deteriorate. So, when water contacts an unprotected wood surface for a long enough period of time, the wood begins to rot.

rotten wood

So, how do you actually go about finding wood rot? You’ll need both your senses of sight and touch for this task, as well as a screwdriver, flashlight, and binoculars. Keep in mind that, although sometimes the rot you are looking for may be easily visible, in plain sight, quite often it will be hidden, for instance behind cracked paint or underneath siding. To evaluate the health of the wooden components of your home, you do need to give them a good poke and see how they feel. Be on the lookout for any sign of soft, brittle, or crumbly wood. In extreme cases rotten wood may even disintegrate as you touch it.

Specific Areas to Check for Rotting Wood

  • Wooden Window Frames.

Water tends to remain on window sills longer than on the rest of the window frame.

  • Exterior Doors.

There is a good chance that your exterior doorways contain a lot of wood, which gets damaged over time from normal wear and tear, making it vulnerable to rainwater.

  • Interior Spaces.

Check the floor areas around your water heater, washer, dishwasher, toilet, tub, and the bottom of your sink cabinets.

  • Decks.

First, inspect the wooden components that make up your deck and deck stairs for signs of rot – looking from both above and below. After that, direct your attention to the piece of wood that attaches your deck to the house.

  • Roof.

Go out to your yard with binoculars and train them on your roof. Make a close inspection of both the roof itself, as well as the area directly below the roof line, for any wear and tear. This inspection could take a little while. It might feel a bit strange to be standing in the yard or out by the road scanning your roof with binoculars, and you might get a few looks from the neighbors, but take the time to be thorough.


Preventing Wood Rot.

Now that you know where to look to find rotting wood in your home, here are some tips to prevent it in the first place.

  • Maintain your gutters.
  • Instead of using wood in areas of your house where rot is common, consider using composite building materials with no wood fibers.
  • Next time you re-do your roof, add overhangs and covered entryways if you do not have them already.
  • Keep condensation at bay inside your home.
  • Keep any caulking on your home’s exterior in good condition.


When you do find rotting wood on your property, get if fixed right away so it does not turn into a larger problem. Finally, take all the preventative measures you can to prevent rot in the first place.


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