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crawl space wood rot problems

Wood Rot and Mold, What Are the Differences?

While wood rot and mold can have terrible affects, they are distinctly different. What can mold or wood rot mean for your house and family members?

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If it looks like mold, smells like mold, and acts like mold, then you’re dealing with mold, right? Not always. To the inexperienced eye, wood rot and mold can look pretty similar. It’s important to know the difference, however, so you can better develop a plan for dealing with an infestation should one start to plague your home. 

crawl space wood rot problems

What to Know About Wood Rot 

As the name suggests, wood rot primarily targets unprotected wooden supports throughout your home. This rot does not develop out of the blue, though. You can instead trace wood rot back to fungi, and Serpula lacrymans is known as the destroyer of indoor wood. It gets into your home mainly through your HVAC system and settles into exposed wood. The humid continental type of climate in Ohio is the perfect environment for this fungus to thrive. It will not survive unless it has ready access to moisture and warmth. Wood rot has an incubation period, during which you have the opportunity to try and prevent it from spreading through the rest of your home. Once it’s settled in, wood rot will tear through your wooden supports. Before you know it, you may find yourself contending with an unstable floor, bowing walls in your basement or crawl space, or even a sinking foundation. 

Eliminating Wood Rot 

The good news is that there are a few different ways to get rid of wood rot or to prevent it from settling in your home. If you know you live in a place that’s at risk of developing wood rot, you can work with different professionals to first waterproof your home and then treat any exposed wood in your basement or crawl space. Ideally, you’ll want to create a hydrophobic barrier between your wood and the rest of the world. While that barrier won’t keep this fungus out of your home, it will deny wood rot the moisture it needs to thrive. 

Your other preventive measures can include but are not limited to: 

  • Painting your wooden supports – While not all paints are going to force water away from your wooden supports, they do create an effective barrier between the wooden pores and the fungus and moisture that might otherwise settle there. 
  • Inspecting your HVAC system – As mentioned, wood rot enters your home via air currents. If you want to prevent that fungus from getting into your basement, crawl space, or foundation, you can schedule regular HVAC system inspections and cleanings. 

All About Mold 

Wood rot can be traced to a single type of fungus. Mold, on the other hand, is much more difficult to pin down. Many kinds of mold can worm their way into your home. The most common categories of invasive mold include: 

  • Toxic molds – Toxigenic molds are especially dangerous, as they can have an immediate impact both on the safety of your home and on your family’s health. Common toxigenic molds include black mold, which can cause serious respiratory problems for those exposed, even if the person in question didn’t show signs of health conditions before. 
  • Allergy molds – Allergenic molds can exacerbate your allergies or cause people who previously did not have allergies to develop them. 
  • Pathogenic molds – Pathogens tend to make any underlying conditions that you or your loved ones are contending with worse by irritating your immune system. While pathogenic molds can cause you to develop new health conditions, they more often exacerbate the ones that you or your loved ones are already contending with. 

The Dangers of a Damp Home 

The dangers that come with mold and wood rot may not be exactly the same, but that doesn’t mean they’re not similar. You may find yourself contending both with damaged property and dangerous health conditions the longer you allow these conditions to flourish in your space. 

Wood rot tends to focus on the wooden supports it’s attached itself to, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have an impact on your family’s health. Instead, as this fungus eats away at your supports, you can find yourself contending with moisture-related health conditions, like respiratory problems or allergies. Wood rot’s destruction throughout your home can even make it easier for certain types of mold to make their way indoors. 

Speaking of mold, nothing has quite the impact on your family’s health as the presence of mold in the house. The most well-known symptoms of illnesses caused by mold include but are not limited to: 

  • Itching eyes and/or skin
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Congestion 
  • Coughing 
  • Asthma in younger children 
  • Wheezing 

With that in mind, the longer mold and wood rot linger in your home, the worse the conditions the property and your family suffer from are going to become. If you suspect something’s wrong in your home, get in touch with area professionals as soon as possible to discuss the removal process. 

Protecting Your Home from Wood Rot and Mold 

When it comes to removing wood rot or mold from your home, don’t go it alone. Instead, reach out to mold removal professionals to effectively rid your home of these nuisances. Then, experts serving Cleveland, OH, can walk through your home with you and provide you with suggestions for preventing this kind of damage in the future. 

If you’re ready to get started, you can reach out to local professionals at Ohio Basement Systems today for a free inspection and services quote. 

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