Dry Rot & Brown Rot in Wisconsin & Illinois Basements & Crawl Spaces

Dry rot damaging wood in Caledonia

Damage from dry rot creates small, rectangular pieces of crumbling wood on the surface.

Dry rot damage is often mistaken as from a termite damage, due to the appearance of the damaged wood.

Dry rot (also known as brown rot) is one of the most damaging forces on household wood in the world.

Approximately 20 billion board feet of timber are destroyed by wood rot in the United States each year-- far more destroyed wood than is damaged annually by fire!

Replacement wood used to repair damage caused by wood rot accounts for almost 10 percent of the annual wood production in the U.S. alone.

Badger Basement Systems has a long history of experience in eliminating, preventing, and controlling dry rot infestations in homes throughout Wisconsin & Illinois, including Sun Prairie, Beloit, La Crosse, Menomonee Falls, Belvidere and areas nearby.

If you have a dry rot problem in your home and would like more information, call or e-mail us today for a free dry rot control estimate!

What is Dry Rot & Brown Rot?

"Dry Rot" is a term most often used to describe a particular kind of dry, cracking, rotting wood. However, dry rot occurs because of a variety of brown rot species, most notably the "true" dry rot fungus known as Serpula lacrymans. Dry Rot originally got its name from the thought that it didn't need water to live, but instead used a fermentation process to survive. Research long ago proved that theory untrue, and dry rot is now more appropriately called "brown rot."

However, dry rot needs much less moisture than other types of wood rotting fungi--a wood moisture content of just 28-30%-- to survive. While there is no official proof on the subject, many contractors have observed that dry rot also will not grow on wood with too much moisture.

Protect Your Home From Dry Rot!

The Bad News
The Good News
  • While dry rot is not the most common type of rot, it can deal serious damage to your home and endure conditions that are too dry for other types of rot to thrive. In fact, up to a 75% loss in the toughness of the wood [PDF] is possible with just a 1% decrease in the wood's weight of the wood.
  • Dry rot fungus spores are present in most homes and can survive for several years, waiting for the right conditions to grow.
  • Dry rot can pull moisture from moist areas to dry areas. It grows through mortar, concrete, masonry, and behind plaster.
  • Despite its name, dry rot needs moisture to produce spores-- at least 28-30% moisture content within the wood with a relative humidity of 95% or higher. Most softwood timbers in dry homes, especially in the upper levels, have a moisture content of 12-15%.
  • Dry rot problems in basements and crawl spaces can easily be solved by controlling moisture by sealing and dehumidifying the space.
  • Treatment of the wood products such as boric acid are known to eliminate and prevent dry root fungi.

Identifying & Treating Dry Rot or Brown Rot Problems in Wisconsin & Illinois

Wood severely damaged by dry rot damage in Belvidere

The USDA Forest Service reports that just a 1% decrease in the weight of dry-rot-damaged wood can lead to a 75% loss [PDF] of its the wood's toughness overall.

A common first indication of dry rot in a home is the appearance of a "red brick dust". This is actually an accumulation of fungal spores that are covering the surface, waiting for the proper conditions to start to grow.

An outbreak of dry rot commonly occurs several months after a household water event, such as flooding, bursting washing machine hoses, a failed water heater, or leaking pipes.

Dry rot is also common in vented crawl spaces and basements with groundwater flooding.

Dry rot is often not detected until the damage is already very significant. At this point, the following steps are recommended:

Steps to Dry Rot Cleaning & Repair

  1. Remove Damaged Wood: All wood that shows decay or visible fungus should be removed, as well as all wood within one meter of the visible decayed material.
  2. Remove Materials Near Damage: Plaster, paneling, linings, and ceilings around the dry rot areas can also contribute to the damage and should also be removed.
  3. Wire brush Affected Area: Using a wire brush, loose material is removed from all surfaces within 1.5 meters of the furthest edge of the infestation, including metal, masonry, and pipes. Resulting dust and debris is removed as well.
  4. Disinfect area: A disinfectant is applied to all wood, masonry, and exposed soil in within 1.5 meters from the damage.
  5. Rebuild: Substantially rot-damaged beams, joists, and posts are replaced with pressure-treated wood.

Preventing Dry Rot in a Basement: Remove all standing water sources, then install a plastic vapor barrier on the walls and floors. Install a self-draining dehumidifier powerful enough to dry the area. (At least a 100-liter model)

Preventing Dry Rot in a Crawl Space: Seal off all crawl space vents and door covers. Encapsulate the crawl space with a crawl space liner, then install a self-draining crawl space dehumidifier.

Dry Rot Alert!

Architect's Journal reports that dry rot can grow through damp mortar, concrete, masonry and behind plaster.

This makes remediation of dry rot complicated and expensive, and it can lead to future problems with dry rot if it is not treated properly.

Preventing Dry Rot Problems in Your Basement or Crawl Space

Badger Basement Systems can help you eliminate dry rot problems at their source. We can dry your basement or crawl space, eliminate flooding problems, and seal out humidity.

This not only eliminates dry rot problems, but also creates an environment that is inhospitable to mold, wet rot, and mildew, while helping to keep out termites, carpenter ants, cockroaches, crickets, and other household pests.

We offer FREE, no-obligation dry basement and crawl space quotes in all our service area. We can answer all your questions and point out the sources of humidity and moisture in your home.

We service Wisconsin & Illinois, including Sun Prairie, Beloit, La Crosse, Menomonee Falls, Belvidere and nearby.

Looking for a price? Get a no cost, no obligation free estimate.

our service area

Cities in Boone County, IL
Belvidere
Caledonia
Capron
Garden Prairie
Poplar Grove

Cities in Dekalb County, IL
Kirkland

Cities in Mchenry County, IL
Alden
Harvard
Hebron

Cities in Stephenson County, IL
Davis
German Valley
Ridott
Rock City

Cities in Winnebago County, IL
Cherry Valley
Durand
Loves Park
Machesney Park
Pecatonica
Rockford
Rockton
Roscoe
Seward
Shirland
South Beloit
Winnebago

Cities in Adams County, WI
Adams
Arkdale
Friendship

Cities in Barron County, WI
Almena
Barron
Cameron
Chetek
Dallas
Prairie Farm
Turtle Lake

Cities in Buffalo County, WI
Alma
Cochrane
Fountain City
Mondovi
Nelson

Cities in Chippewa County, WI
Bloomer
Boyd
Cadott
Chippewa Falls
Cornell
Holcombe
Jim Falls
New Auburn
Stanley

Cities in Clark County, WI
Chili
Curtiss
Granton
Greenwood
Humbird
Loyal
Neillsville
Owen
Thorp
Willard
Withee

Cities in Columbia County, WI
Arlington
Cambria
Columbus
Doylestown
Fall River
Lodi
Pardeeville
Portage
Poynette
Rio
Wisconsin Dells

Cities in Crawford County, WI
Eastman
Ferryville
Gays Mills
Prairie Du Chien
Soldiers Grove
Steuben
Wauzeka

Cities in Dane County, WI
Belleville
Black Earth
Blue Mounds
Cambridge
Cottage Grove
Cross Plains
Dane
De Forest
Deerfield
Madison
Marshall
Mazomanie
Mc Farland
Middleton
Morrisonville
Mount Horeb
Oregon
Stoughton
Sun Prairie
Verona
Waunakee
Windsor

Cities in Dodge County, WI
Beaver Dam
Horicon
Hustisford
Iron Ridge
Juneau
Lowell
Neosho
Randolph
Reeseville
Rubicon
Watertown

Cities in Dunn County, WI
Boyceville
Colfax
Downing
Eau Galle
Elk Mound
Knapp
Menomonie
Ridgeland
Sand Creek
Wheeler

Cities in Eau Claire County, WI
Altoona
Augusta
Eau Claire
Fairchild
Fall Creek

Cities in Grant County, WI
Bagley
Bloomington
Blue River
Boscobel
Cassville
Cuba City
Dickeyville
Fennimore
Glen Haven
Hazel Green
Lancaster
Livingston
Montfort
Mount Hope
Muscoda
Platteville
Potosi
Stitzer
Woodman

Cities in Green County, WI
Albany
Brodhead
Brooklyn
Browntown
Juda
Monroe
Monticello
New Glarus

Cities in Iowa County, WI
Arena
Avoca
Barneveld
Cobb
Dodgeville
Edmund
Highland
Hollandale
Linden
Mineral Point
Rewey
Ridgeway

Cities in Jackson County, WI
Alma Center
Black River Falls
Hixton
Melrose
Merrillan
Millston
Taylor

Cities in Jefferson County, WI
Fort Atkinson
Helenville
Ixonia
Jefferson
Johnson Creek
Lake Mills
Palmyra
Sullivan
Waterloo
Watertown

Cities in Juneau County, WI
Camp Douglas
Elroy
Hustler
Lyndon Station
Mather
Mauston
Necedah
New Lisbon
Wonewoc

Cities in Kenosha County, WI
Bristol
Kenosha
Pleasant Prairie
Powers Lake
Salem
Silver Lake
Trevor
Twin Lakes
Wilmot

Cities in La Crosse County, WI
Bangor
Holmen
La Crosse
Mindoro
Onalaska
Rockland
West Salem

Cities in Lafayette County, WI
Argyle
Belmont
Benton
Blanchardville
Darlington
Gratiot
Shullsburg
South Wayne
Woodford

Cities in Marquette County, WI
Briggsville

Cities in Milwaukee County, WI
Cudahy
Franklin
Greendale
Hales Corners
Milwaukee
Oak Creek
Saint Francis
South Milwaukee
West Allis

Cities in Monroe County, WI
Cashton
Kendall
Norwalk
Sparta
Tomah
Warrens
Wilton

Cities in Ozaukee County, WI
Cedarburg
Grafton
Mequon
Saukville
Thiensville

Cities in Pepin County, WI
Arkansaw
Durand
Pepin
Stockholm

Cities in Pierce County, WI
El Paso
Elmwood
Maiden Rock
Plum City
Rock Elm
Spring Valley

Cities in Polk County, WI
Amery
Balsam Lake
Clayton
Clear Lake

Cities in Racine County, WI
Burlington
Caledonia
Franksville
Kansasville
Racine
Sturtevant
Union Grove
Waterford

Cities in Richland County, WI
Cazenovia
Gotham
Lone Rock
Richland Center
Viola

Cities in Rock County, WI
Avalon
Beloit
Clinton
Edgerton
Evansville
Footville
Janesville
Milton
Orfordville

Cities in Rusk County, WI
Conrath
Sheldon

Cities in Saint Croix County, WI
Baldwin
Cylon
Deer Park
Emerald
Forest
Glenwood City
Hersey
Wilson
Woodville

Cities in Sauk County, WI
Baraboo
Hillpoint
La Valle
Lake Delton
Loganville
Merrimac
North Freedom
Plain
Prairie Du Sac
Reedsburg
Rock Springs
Sauk City
Spring Green

Cities in Taylor County, WI
Gilman
Lublin

Cities in Trempealeau County, WI
Arcadia
Blair
Dodge
Eleva
Ettrick
Galesville
Independence
Osseo
Strum
Trempealeau
Whitehall

Cities in Vernon County, WI
Chaseburg
Coon Valley
De Soto
Genoa
Hillsboro
La Farge
Ontario
Readstown
Stoddard
Viroqua
Westby

Cities in Walworth County, WI
Darien
Delavan
East Troy
Elkhorn
Fontana
Genoa City
Lake Geneva
Lyons
Pell Lake
Sharon
Walworth
Whitewater
Williams Bay

Cities in Washington County, WI
Colgate
Germantown
Hartford
Hubertus
Jackson
Richfield
Slinger
West Bend

Cities in Waukesha County, WI
Big Bend
Brookfield
Butler
Delafield
Dousman
Eagle
Elm Grove
Hartland
Lannon
Menomonee Falls
Mukwonago
Muskego
Nashotah
New Berlin
North Prairie
Oconomowoc
Okauchee
Pewaukee
Sussex
Wales
Waukesha

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