How To Tell the Difference Between Leak-Rotted Wood and Termite Damage?  

By Big G Roofing & More  

How To Tell The Difference Between Leak-Rotted Wood and Termite Damage?  

If you see any cracking or staining near the wood, it often means wood damage which you’ll need to get fixed soon. The most common cause of wood damage is Termite and Rotten wood. A termite is an insect that eats wood, and rotten wood can be because of water damage, but how will you know whether the wood is termite damage or wood rot to repair your home?   

Termite Damage  

There are many types of species of termites in the United States, they live in large colonies. Their main source of food is cellulose, which is mostly found in grass, leaves, and wood. Some termites live under the surface of the earth, and others prefer dry wood. They can be found year-round. Dry wood is often used in household things so, making it the best place for termites. They eat wood from the inside out, so tracing the damage is almost impossible until it becomes extreme. The only way to track them is by the sound they produce while eating the wood: Clicking or chewing sound.   

 Wood Rot  

Wood Rot is caused by a fungus that uses cellulose as a food source. Wood rot is common in water-damaged areas or where there is heavy moisture. Once an infestation has started, it spreads much faster and makes the wood weak. You can spot wood rot if there is a fungal and earthy odor. The affected wood begins to shrink as the cellulose is broken down. In the worst case, it’s possible to spot fungal growth.  

What is the difference between Wood Rot and Termite Damage  

It’s nearly impossible to know the difference between Wood Rot and Termite damage as both cause similar visible issues. There are a few things that help you differentiate between both: 

Termite Damage Wood Rot 
Termite colony insects, mud tubes, and clicking in walls) Fungal growth and spores 
Maze-like tunnels in wood The affected area is large and obvious 
Hollow-sounding wood Wood shrinks in size 
Small holes in furniture or wallsSoft wood to the touch

What to do When you find Damage 

Once you find wood damage or water leaks, it’s better to bring a professional for the inspection. As both can lead to major issues if not treated well. For damaged wood, there are minor repairs, like replacing the damaged wood or adding support to the affected part. In a wood rot where the damage is minor, you can normally fix it yourself. First, you need to find the water source and fix that, and then you can simply treat it with fungicide. It’s always better to replace some wood in any case as it will be more economical in the long run. Always dry the wood before any repair.   

Pro Tip: If the damage has significantly affected an integral structural part, always replace the wood.  

How to Prevent Wood Rot and Termite Damage  

The following are the precautional measure that can be taken to avoid future wood damage:  

  • Addressing any leaks near the wood as wet wood will cause several problems. Fix any leaks and keep your house as dry as possible.  
  • The quality of the wood should be professionally rated wood. There are woods that termites don’t like at all, like Pressure-treated plywood and lumber, Redwood, Teak, and others.   
  • Get your house inspected annually by professionals.   
  • Always keep noticing the cracking, chewing noises from the wood, water leaks, and wood swelling, and don’t leave them untreated for long.  

For the Wood rot, you can look around for any water leaks if there is a water leak near the wood, chances are high that it might have been affected. For water leaks near roof wood or flooring, always hire a professional roofing company. If you have identified termite damage, you should be looking for a pest control company. 

If you have any questions, please visit Big G Roofing & More online or call us at (786)-442-2842