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Wood Rot

Wood rot often occurs in unprotected crawl spaces when moisture can get below your home. Here’s what you need to know about this problem sign.

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Your crawl space is arguably the most important structure in your home because it supports everything in your house, from the furniture to the people. Even though you can’t see it, you use it every day. However, most crawl spaces are constructed with wooden support beams tasked with holding up your floor and walls. Since crawl spaces are exposed to outdoor conditions, moisture easily gets trapped below your home. This leads to wood rot, which weakens your home’s walls and floors. Don’t worry, FSS has solutions that keep your crawl space protected. 

Wood Rot Explained

wood rot on beam in crawl space

Wood rot is actually a fungus that feeds on decaying wood. Fungi are microorganisms that feed on organic matter and moisture to survive. For that reason, when moisture gets into your crawl space, it creates the perfect environment for fungus to grow and break down any wooden beams or floor joists in your crawl space.

Wood rot is caused by fungus eating away at the microscopic cells and structures that make up wood. Support beams and wooden floor joists are especially affected because they have no protective shield against fungus. In nature, wood is protected by bark, but wooden materials in your crawl space have none. Keeping moisture out of your crawl space is the best way to prevent against wood rot, and you might be wondering how moisture gets below your home in the first place. We’ll answer that question in the next section.

What Causes Wood Rot?

Soil Washout

Austin and San Antonio are not known for their heavy rainfall, but despite the lower-than-average amount that both cities receive every year, light precipitation still causes problems for your crawl space. Soil washout is when water erodes the soil on your property. Southeast Texas has plenty of sandy loam soil which is easily displaced by precipitation. Keep in mind, sprinklers and drainage systems can also contribute to displaced soil in your yard. When the water is absorbed into the ground, some of it travels below your crawl space. This groundwater eventually evaporates, and the humid air becomes trapped in your crawl space. When left unchecked, it is absorbed by wooden structures and leads to wood rot.

Crawl Space Vent

Open Vents

Open vents are a design flaw in many crawl spaces today. It was once thought that designing a crawl space with vents would allow humid air to escape back into the outside environment. Unfortunately, the complete opposite is true – open vents allow humid air into your crawl space. Travis County and Bexar County both experience a rise in humidity during the summer months, and this leads to increased humidity in your crawl space. When wood is exposed to enough humid air, the moisture can penetrate it and cause the structure to break down. This is exactly what happens in your humid crawl space. Dehumidifiers offered by FSS help control humidity levels in your crawl space so that wooden structures cannot be overwhelmed by moisture.

Leaking Pipes

Important systems for your home are held in the crawl space. Plumbing lines are one of the systems located below your home, and while homeowners rely on them for many functions, they run the risk of damaging the wood in your crawl space. If any of your appliances leak or become clogged, the pipes in your crawl space could burst. This leads to massive amounts of water flooding into the foundation and soaking wooden support beams in the process. When water is absorbed by wood, it often leads to wood rot, especially in a damp environment such as a crawl space. Vapor barriers provide an impenetrable wall that leaking water can’t get through. This stops water from soaking wooden structures in your crawl space.


Wood rot is technically a fungus that breaks down wooden structures. Signs that wood rot has overtaken the wood in your crawl space include discoloration, shrunken size, cracks, and splintering in the wood. In some cases, you might also notice strips of white on rotting wood. This is a particular variant of wood rot known as dry rot. Wood rot is relatively easy to identify, especially because it makes the wood look so different from its original condition.

Treating wood rot is best handled by a professional. DIY solutions such as consumer dehumidifiers, store-bought vapor barriers, and other materials from your local hardware store are often difficult to install below your home. Also, these DIY materials never work as well as professional solutions, and often break down over time. FSS has professional-grade dehumidifiers and vapor barriers that keep moisture out for good. As a result, wood rot never has the chance to form again, and you save money in the long run, on both repairs and materials.

Yes. Wood rot is a fungus that forms when wood is filled with moisture. Unfortunately, even when the wood is “dry” again, the fungus can continue to live and break down wood. However, keeping wood dry in the first place ensures that wood rot never forms. Make sure to replace any rotted beams in your crawl space. Then, invest in crawl space encapsulation which will permanently protect your crawl space from moisture and keep wood dry. In doing so, you stop wood rot from forming ever again.

How Does FSS Fix Wood Rot?

Stopping wood rot means preventing moisture in your crawl space. Our team has years of experience dealing with crawl spaces in Texas, and we have the best solutions for the job. First, interior waterproofing from FSS drains groundwater away from your crawl space. We install sump pumps and underground drains to capture water before it has a chance to be absorbed by wood.

Next, we also install vapor barriers and vent covers, both of which keep your crawl space isolated from outdoor humidity. Additionally, our team installs dehumidifiers to continuously keep your crawl space dry. This stops humidity and condensation from seeping into wooden floor joists or support beams in your crawl space. All of these solutions work together for full crawl space encapsulation and make it impossible for wood rot to develop.

Explore Solutions

Using crawl space solutions from FSS, you don’t have to let wood rot overtake your crawl space. We use crawl space encapsulation, a combination of vapor barriers, dehumidifiers, crawl space vent covers, and more to stop moisture from collecting below your home. All of our solutions effectively prevent wood rot from having any chance at forming in the future.

Call FSS for a Free Inspection

Wood rot can cause tons of problems for both your home and its foundation. We know what it takes to stop crawl space problem signs from over taking your home. Since 2017, our neighbors in Austin, San Antonio, and Victoria have trusted us with their crawl space needs. Using high-quality tools manufactured in the USA and a team with over 20 years of combined experience, you can be sure that your crawl space receives the best possible service in the state. Contact us to learn more about crawl space encapsulation and to schedule a free inspection with one of our technicians today!

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