In most cases, the presence of brown rot could indicate a potential termite infestation.
Here’s what you need to know about this destructive fungal disease that could impact your home.
Brown rot colour
Characteristics of brown rot
Wood affected by brown rot acquires a brownish stain and shrinks abnormally during drying, resulting in a cracked, cube-like appearance. The cracks run perpendicular to the natural woodgrain. When this cube-shaped wood is dry, it crushes easily into powder. Brown rot produces fruiting bodies which look like crusts, shelves, or mushrooms, with a tough, leathery, corky or woody texture when mature.
Where is it found?
Brown rot occurs throughout most of the United States where there is abundant moisture.
Comparison with other groups: Some sap-staining fungi do cause brown or black stains, but do not result in abnormal shrinkage of the wood into brittle cubes that crumble when crushed. Surface-staining fungi which also result in brown or black stains give the wood surface a powdery or fuzzy appearance, but these types do not produce shrinkage or cubes either.
Brown rot biology
Brown rot is spread by spores. It can reduce the strength of the wood, and cause it to absorb more moisture. Some brown rot fungi can withstand high heat and dryness. Some species can remain dormant for long periods, and then revive when moisture is present.
Damage to wood
Affected wood becomes brownish. While drying, the wood tends to crack perpendicular to the grain, resulting in cube-like structures which are easily crushed into powder when dry.
Get rid of brown rot
A thorough inspection is needed in order to identify the source of moisture, and to lower or preferably eliminate it. Structural modifications may be needed, depending upon the extent of damage.