Pest and Dry Rot

Pest and dry rot? Salem, Oregon home inspector defines “dry rot.”

Earlier I wrote two posts (Part 1 ad Part 2) on the terms: “pest and dry rot.” I detailed what the inspection was about and what the term “pest” might mean. Now I will try to describe the term “dry rot.”

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Wood destroying Fungus on a Salem Oregon Home Inspection

In the real estate world any rot or deterioration refers to dry rot. The term is a bit confusing because all fungal deterioration requires moisture. The term dry rot actually refers a very specialized fungus that actually consumes wood that is dry or does not have a available water source.  The fungus actually grows hyphie (root like structures) up to 8 feet long! These root structures reach out from the dry piece of wood into the ground and collect and shuttle water to the dry piece of wood.

This type of fungus is very unusual around Salem, Oregon and I have only seen it twice in 5 years of inspecting homes!
Most all of the deterioration that I see is caused by a white rot or a brown rot. Both are fungi and both require direct and chronic exposure to moisture to allow them to consume the cellulose or lignin in the wood.

I know, I know this is earth shattering news.  But you can see why I prefer to call damaged wood: “deterioration” rather than “Dry Rot.”

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Pest and dry rot?? More confusing real estate terms (part 2 of 3)

What is “pest and dry rot?” Seriously I am a home inspector, shouldn’t I know to what these

terms are referring?

The words, “pest and dry rot,” are really confusing to this poor home inspector. What exactly is a pest? I know a family here in Salem, Oregon that has the south side of their home covered in box elder bug

s every year! They do not do any damage to the home (they eat tree sap) but they definitely qualify as pests.

To limit the confusion with these terms I try to not use them. I will always trade P&D with WDO

(wood destroying organism report).

Spiders, box elder

Not even close to a Wood Destroying Organism

bugs, nosy neighbors can all be terrible pests however they will not destroy your home.

Carpenter ants, wood boring beetles, termites, fungal deterioration will be part of my report and they are what home owners need to pay close attention too and control aggressively.

Pest and dry rot Wood Destroying Organism Part 1

P and D Wood Destroying Organisms Part 3

Not even close to a Wood Destroying Organism.

Pest and Dry Rot? What is That?? Explanations of some confusing Salem, Oregon real estate terms.

Pest and Dry Rot.  Seems like some pretty straight forward items eh?  Actually this can be a little more confusing than you might think.

Pest and Dry Rot is an unbelievably ambiguous term that gets thrown around a lot during the course of a real estate transaction.  To limit the amount of confusion lets dissect the parts and expectations of a Pest and Dry Rot inspection:

Most of the time, around Salem, Oregon the “P and D,” is what loan companies want to see (if anything) as far as the inspections.  So right from the start, things can get weird.  Unlike an appraiser I, the home inspector, do not work for the loan company.  My contract is with my clients (usually the buyers) and I do an inspection for my client’s benefit.  I do not care about what a loan company finds important, they did not hire me.

What is a pest?  I have had neighbors that definitely qualify as pests.  I have even known some real estate agents and mortgage officers that might fall under that guise.  So how am I, your well meaning home inspector, supposed to comment on Pests?  Stay tuned and I will further delve into what this term actually means……:

Wood Destroying Organisms Part 2

Wood Destroying Organisms Part 3

Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
http://SalemOregonHomeInspections.com
503.508.4321         jallhiser@perfectioninspectioninc.com

“Always on the cutting edge”

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This Carpenter is going to Destroying your Home

These carpenters just don’t care what you want and they are just going to make themselves at home.   They are just one of the three big players in the wood destroying insect world around Salem, Oregon.  Or the pest part of a “Pest and Dry rot” Inspection.  Overall carpenter ants are relatively easy to control but this control does require some environmental adjustment and future vigilance.

One of the most common conditions that cause ant activity is Bark dust/mulch.  Bark dust is used in this area as a mulch to beautify flower beds, limit rain splash and stifle weed growth.  Another thing that a thick layer of this stuff does is it provides a very favorable home to carpenter ants.  The large bulk piles the suppliers have are usually filed with ant nests and when your neighbor gets a large pile delivered you had better watch out!
The nest that was harmless in the bulk pile is relocated and now these ants start looking for a better home.

Depending on your home’s condition it might provide the perfect areas for the ants to move-in.  Another often overlooked area for carpenter ant activity and nest making is wood retaining walls.  Yes even the treated wood can be a great place for these critters to call home.  The reason poisonous treated wood is a good home for carpenter ants is because they do not actually eat the wood.  Unlike termites and anobiid beetles carpenter ants just hollow out the wood to make nests.  The ants eat insects and other little woodland creatures but not wood, so the poison does not effect their ability to make a nest.

Plants up against the home are probably the next big issue that contribute to ant activity.  The plants seem to keep the home more humid and may damage the siding allowing easier access.  Also if you are applying a perimeter treatment the ants can gain elevation on the plants and enter your home without touching the poison.
Any way you look at it plants in contact with your home, wood retaining walls and thick bark dust are all bad news and any of the many types of carpenter ants we have around the Salem, Oregon area would love to make themselves at home in yours.



Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
http://SalemOregonHomeInspections.com
503.508.4321         jallhiser@perfectioninspectioninc.com

“Always on the cutting edge”

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