One of the very first things visitors see when they approach your home is your front porch and stairs. It does a lot to improve your curb appeal and set the tone for your entire property—and when it’s in poor condition, that tone is more of a sour note.
Most porches are constructed with timber, and why not? It’s beautiful, durable, strong, and has a natural charm. It only has one weakness, but it’s a big one: wood rot. When it comes to porch repair, rot is probably the biggest issue for homeowners, and that makes sense when you consider that our annual rainfall is much higher than the national average.
Rotten timber doesn’t just look unsightly, it can cause dangerous hazards for your friends and family to dodge. The earlier you can catch it, the better. It can move from the porch to your house if it’s neglected, causing even more serious, costly damage. But what are the warning signs, and how can you keep your porch safe? We’ll cover what you need to know to find rot on your porch, and the signs that it’s crying out for help from the service.
Basically, it is decay caused by wood-eating fungi that require the timber to have a moisture content of 20% or higher to begin growing. That’s why porches, decks, gazebos, playhouses, and other outdoor wooden structures are so susceptible to rot, especially in our climate. A timber that is protected from the weather can last well over a century if it remains dry.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
- Discolored patches that appear lighter or darker than the rest of the material — or have a white, yellow, or purplish hue
- Texture changes where the timber appears spongy, stringy, or webbed with cracks
- Timber breaking into cube-shaped chunks (this is called cubical fracture) or crumbling into “sawdust”
- In very advanced cases, there may be mushrooms sprouting from the timber
Tips for Preventing Wood Rot on Your Porch
Want to know how to prevent rot from attacking? Here are some ways to help protect your porch and keep it sound for years to come.
- Check it out: Once or twice a year, take the time to do a proper inspection and check the entire structure carefully for any signs of rot.
- Trim back leaves and branches: Keep moisture-laden leaves away from the porch by trimming trees and bushes so they’re at least a couple of feet away.
- Switch it up: Move patio furniture and patio fixtures such as planters around once in a while so they can’t trap moisture against the porch timbers.
- Avoid rugs: Avoid using water-attracting mats and rugs. If you must have them, plastic is a better choice than natural fibers