Just say the words, "dry rot" to a Class C Motorhome owner, and you will send chills up their spine. Very seldom will you see this descriptive phrase and the phrase, "low cost" in the same sentence. Almost always if there is wood rot in a motorhome's sub frame, it will put you back at least a couple thousand dollars... if you are lucky.
Repair Rotten Wood
However, this need not be so. Recently, I performed some wood repair caused by water damage on my Class C Motorhome. After completing this wood repair, I got some feedback about the subject of dry rot. It seems that there are various opinions and misconceptions out there on this topic.
Some people are thinking that once this classical rotting condition occurs, it is just a matter of time before all the wood is consumed... supposedly, it will become brittle and turn to dust. Well, this is a yes and no situation and deserves a little bit of discussion.
left of my basement... hmmm!
The classical dry rot is a condition that is caused by wood becoming wet, and then drying out... repeatably. This wet/dry syndrome will give you problems by becoming a home to fungus. Once this wood rotting pattern starts, each time the wood gets wet, the fungus grows further into clean wood, causing more damage. This damage may, or may not be repairable. It just depends where it is located, and to what extent it has degraded the original wood's integrity.
In many dry rot situations wood repair or replacement is necessary. However, if you are able to locate the defective water barrier that is letting in moisture and you do this at an early stage, you can probably prevent further rotting of your wood subframe. This is because, when the wood dries out, the fungus will stop growing and go dormant. This means there will be no further damage.
Let's throw in a little background to this subject. First of all, as the discussion above points out, the word "dry" is not a true identifier of this condition.
You cannot have rotten wood if it is kept dry. It must be wet... or has been wet for an extended period some time in the past. Rotten wood issues will appear only when moisture content in the wood reaches 20 percent or more. Also, as an aside, this rotting will not occur in salt water. Our friendly fungus likes fresh water and temperatures between 75°F and 85°F. But, it will grow in temperatures as low as 40°F and as high as 100°F.
rotting condition occurs. The end result is that the fungus will
eat all of the nutriments (cellulose)... this leaves it in a
dried out condition... thus the term dry rot.
Stop This Wood Rot
Class C Motorhome owners can repair a dry rot situation using epoxy... if they catch it at an early stage of growth. If at all possible, boric acid should be used to kill any fungus.
necessary in the majority of cases.
As I mentioned above, another way to help control this problem is to use boric acid. If you can get to the wood, boric acid works as an ideal fungicide against dry rot fungus.
If you do use a boric acid, it is water soluble and will need to be reapplied if it gets wet. So, bottom line, keep your Class C Motorhome dry.
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