Termite Damage Vs. Wood Rot

Termites and wood rot are common problems that can affect the structural integrity of your home. While they may seem similar, some key differences exist between termite damage and wood rot. This blog post will take a closer look at these two types of damage and explain how to tell them apart. We will also discuss the steps you should take to address each problem.

Termite Damage

Termites may be tiny, but they can cause big problems. These insects live in large colonies and feed on cellulose—a carbohydrate found mostly in grass, leaves, and wood. Though some termites prefer to be underground and live in damp, decayed wood, others still like dry wood. This makes them one of the ultimate household pests you’ll encounter year-round.

When termites invade homes, they tunnel through wood and create galleries that weaken the structure. As a result, termites can cause serious problems like collapsing ceilings and floors as the damage progresses. In extreme cases, termite damage can even lead to the total collapse of a building.

Termites eat wood from the inside out, meaning the damage they cause is not always visible. Fortunately, there are some telltale signs of termite damage. If you see small holes in wood, mud tunnels on exterior walls or floors, or piles of wings near doors or windows, it’s time to call a professional.

Wood Rot

Wood rot is another serious problem that can affect the structural integrity of your home. Fungi that feed on wood cause the wood to rot. These fungi release enzymes that break down cellulose and lignin—the two main components of wood.

Wood rot often starts as small patches of discoloration on wood surfaces. As the damage progresses, the wood may become soft and spongy. In severe cases, wood rot can cause wood to crumble and collapse.

Dry Rot Vs. Wet Rot

Dry rot is the most common type of wood rot. This slow-growing infection starts from inside; as the fungi burrow deep into the wood, it carries moisture inside, causing decay.

 Signs of dry rot include:

  • brittle wood
  • cracks in the wood grain
  • fungal fruiting bodies
  • musty odor


Wet rot, on the other hand, is caused by excess moisture. This type of wood rot is most common in areas exposed to water, like kitchens and bathrooms. In addition, wet rot can also occur in any area of your home that has leaks or flooding.

 Signs of wet rot include:

  • soft and spongy wood
  • discolored wood
  • musty odor

Telling Termite Damage Apart From Wood Rot

Wood rot and termite damage share many characteristics, making it difficult to tell their differences. If in doubt, it’s always best to call a professional. However, there are some key ways to tell termite damage and wood rot apart:

  • Termite damage has a hollow sound when tapped. Wood rot causes wood to shrink and crack.
  • Termite damage has mud tunnels in the interior of the wood while looking good outside. The affected area of wood rot is large and obvious.
  • Mud tubes, dropping insects, and clicking in walls are signs of termite damage, spores, and fungal growth on wood rot.
  • Termite damage causes a hole in wooden furniture, while woot rot causes spongy and chunky wood.

Which causes More Damage?

Both wood rot and termite damage can cause serious problems, even worst when these two problems are combined. Wood rot weakens the wood, making it more susceptible to termite damage. And as we mentioned earlier, termites can cause serious problems like collapsing ceilings and floors. In extreme cases, termite damage can even lead to the total collapse of a building.

Since they both work quickly, it’s important to address wood rot and termite damage as soon as possible. Ignoring these problems will only make the damage worse—and more expensive to repair.

If you think you have wood rot or termites, call a professional right away. They can properly assess the damage and recommend the best course of action.

Preventing Wood Rot and Termite Damage

The best way to deal with wood rot and termite damage is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some tips:

  • Inspect your home regularly for signs of wood rot and termites.
  • Keep your home clean and dry. Fix any leaks or flooding issues as soon as possible.
  • Don’t store firewood or other organic materials next to your home.
  • Keep your gutters clean and free of debris.
  • Ventilate crawl spaces and attics to prevent moisture build-up.
  • Remove any dead trees or tree stumps from your property.
  • Regularly treat wood surfaces with a fungicide or insecticide.

Following these tips can help prevent wood rot and termite damage. But even if you take all the necessary precautions, these problems might still occur. That’s why it’s important to inspect your home regularly and call a professional at the first sign of trouble.

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2415 River Rd,
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Serving Nashville and Surrounding Areas

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