Wood is actually one of the oldest building materials and it is used in construction since prehistory. Wood is a wonderful material, beautiful and renewable and can be easily worked in almost any shape by a skilled carpenter or craftsman.
But at the same time, wood is a natural element that is exposed to many aggressive factors.
a) Wood can be affected by mold and fungus.
b) Termites love to eat wood.
c) Carpenter bees drill a lot of tunnels into the wood for their nest.
d) Squirrels and rats use also wood for their homes.
e) Poor protected wood is affected by moisture.
In conclusion, a poor maintained and not protected wood will begin to rot and decay quite quickly.
Moisture: Besides termites, one of the worst enemies of the wood is moisture. If it has an entrance point moisture can affect large areas at a rapid pace. Moisture can find its way into the wood, behind the protection layer (paint or stain) by capillarity and will start its destructive action. Invisible to the naked eye, moisture will act fairly quickly and the wood will begin to rot.
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Outside Wood Areas: Wood is extremely sensitive to temperature changes. It contracts and expands visible and if you have large areas exposed to the vicissitudes of weather or other factors such, rain snow, wind, sun heat, light, dripping plants, sprinkler system, etc, you can have big problems with your wooden deck, patio or other outside wooden object.
Wood Siding: Houses with wood siding have usually, horizontal siding and vertical corner boards. While horizontal siding expands, vertical corner boards shrink causing the wood to crack. Why? Because wood tendency is to expand across its grain, not with it. Moisture will penetrate through this crack and affecting your home. You should inspect regularly the siding of your home to check for cracks or wet spots that can lead to cracks. Use an ice pick to find if it is some rot behind a wet spot.
Clogged Rain Gutters: Clogged gutters present a huge risk for your house integrity. When it is raining, they will overflow and the water will affect the house soffits and fascia causing them to rot. You should clean periodically your home gutters, removing dirt, leaves and debris. A smart solution is to install screens on your gutters to prevent dirt accumulation.
Termite Infestation: Termite infestation is quite a serious problem and you definitely need a professional help. Perhaps you will be able to see tubes of the subterranean termites but other species like dry wood termites are difficult to detect. They do not build tubes and the only clue may be a small pile of sawdust or droppings around your windows. Therefore, it is highly recommended to have a professional inspection when you deal with these terrible little creatures.