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Signs of Exterior Wood Rot

Got rot? It can be tough to tell…

You might feel like you have your exterior home maintenance bases covered. You keep the gutters clean, the landscaping looks sharp, and when you see peeling or chipping paint, you always give it a touch-up.

Pretty solid.

As a professional Central Connecticut painting company though, we see another issue all the time that tends to slip a little more easily under the radar. But if you ignore it, or miss it, you can be in big trouble.

Wood rot.

Let’s dig a little deeper into exactly what you need to know.

What causes wood rot?

Wood rot, or fungal growth, can be traced back to a high moisture content. That’s why you often find rot in shady areas of your home, where wood is exposed to wet conditions but shielded from the drying power of direct sunlight. That lingering dampness becomes a breeding ground for fungal rot.

This also means that rot isn’t always super obvious: it can be hidden from sight.

Where do you find wood rot?

Here are just a few of your most at-risk surfaces:

  • Thresholds
  • Sills
  • Eaves
  • Wood siding, especially lower down toward the ground
  • Anywhere that wood contacts the ground itself
  • Posts and structural elements of your deck

How do you find wood rot?


Now that you know where to look, you have to know what to look for.

Peeling paint can be a sign of an at-risk surface. Catch it early and there’s still time to save the wood underneath and prevent rot altogether. If you’re a little late to the game, peeling can be a sign of underlying rot that’s causing the wood to swell.

Check at-risk surfaces for softness. You can do this with a small screwdriver, poking the wood to see if it’s firm to the touch or gives under pressure. Obviously you don’t want to pick away at healthy wood, but rot will feel soft and spongy to the touch.

How do you prevent wood rot?

There are two primary facets to your proactive wood rot approach: prevention and protection.

On the prevention side, be sure to eliminate consistent exposure to moisture. Keep your gutters clear and operational, remove debris (like leaf buildup) from your deck, and make sure that any moisture that does accumulate on your home has a place to go, rather than be allowed to sit and saturate.

On the protection side, be sure that your home’s wood has a healthy coating of stain or paint. Finish coats may be aesthetically pleasing, but their primary job is to protect raw, vulnerable surfaces. Refresh your stain every couple of years, and be sure to invest in routine cleaning and touch-ups.

Have more questions about exterior painting in Connecticut?

Contact us at Southington Painting! We have decades of experience and insight to draw from, and would love to help you keep your home healthy and beautiful.

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