There are plenty of reasons why you should keep up with a regular roofing maintenance routine. One of these reasons is to prevent dry rot.
What Is Dry Rot?
Dry rot is deterioration caused by certain species of fungi, such as Serpula lacrymans, Coniophora puteana (cellar fungus) and Poria vaillantii (pore or mine fungus). Unlike the kind of rot caused by moisture, dry rot can cause damage even in dry environments, hence the name. As the fungi grows, it sends out microscopic strands that eventually split the wood fibers, resulting in softened wood.
A standard sloped roof has many components made of wood. The roof’s main framing components and decking are mostly made of it. If you chose to have cedar shakes on your roof, that’s even more wood. Even “organic” asphalt shingles, which are made of recycled paper, are made from wood pulp and are, therefore, vulnerable to dry rot.
Signs of Dry Rot
Check your roof for dry rot by climbing into your attic. Bring an elongated tool like a large screwdriver, gloves for protecting your hands against fungi and a flashlight. Inspect the wooden parts of the roof, and look for cracks on the wood and a distinctive white growth. If your attic has blown-in insulation on the floor, then the underside of the decking should be readily visible, so look for the same signs. Affected parts can be removed with your hands with little effort. You can also tap the same parts using your screwdriver and pieces will fall off.
How to Prevent Wood Rot
The types of fungi that cause wood rot do not require much moisture, but they can thrive in humid areas like a poorly ventilated attic. If the attic feels too warm and humid, it means it’s not getting enough ventilation. Exhaust fans can be installed if the ridge vents are not enough. If you’ve already found signs of dry rot, have your roofing contractor inspect it as soon as possible before major structural components are compromised by it.