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Any way to prevent wood rot?

My garage was built about 10 years ago, completely out of wood. Of course, it is now showing signs of rot, especially near the foundation. A home inspector suggested using boron rods to prevent further damage. Has anyone had any experience using the product? Is there another "fix" to help prevent further damage?

Re: Any way to prevent wood rot?


"...Of course it is now showing signs of rot". This should not be a natural consequence in a properly built garage. Just what is rotting? What was used as sill plates? Was it pressure treated where it sits on the concrete?

Are you keeping earth away from the structure? Is water draining away from the structure?

The posters here might have more constructive solutions if the nature of the problem were clearer.

Suffice it to say that already rotted wood should be replaced, possibly with pressure treated. Existing boards can be sprayed with wood preservative treatments. These function by being toxic to mildew and fungus . Rot is nothing more than plant organisms feeding off the cellulose of the wood. Keeping the wood dry is also important. Dry wood does not rot.

Another problem is involvement with carpenter ants or termites. The chemicals used in pressure treated wood will also protect against them. I have heard of boron containing products being used for protection against insects. It is also a fire suppressant.

A. Spruce
Re: Any way to prevent wood rot?

Rot is a byproduct of constant/excessive moisture. Stop the moisture problem and you stop the rot problem.

How do you prevent excessive moisture. 90% of the rot repairs I have performed were from sprinkler systems hitting the structure, insufficient drainage, or earth/wood contact. 10% were from poorly maintained systems such as roofs, gutters, failed paint, etc.

With more specific site info we may be able to direct you more to the exact cause and possible remedies.

Re: Any way to prevent wood rot?

Rot can be managed by good design, proper materials, and good upkeep. Poor materials and design will always require more maintenance.
Design keys are keeping wood at least 12" above grade, on a garage that would mean a course (or two) of block atop the slab, and roof overhangs to move the drip line further from the walls. And gutters.
Materials should be selected for water resistance, and installed with water shedding details. Exterior wood products from the home center are doomed. They will rot within 5 years (here on the east coast) no matter what steps are taken. So any wood near the drip zone has to be a tropical hardwood, or simply use plastic.
Of course, this isn't limited to garages.

Re: Any way to prevent wood rot?

I agree with all of the above.

At 10 years old, your walls should not show so much rot damage.
Eliminating the sources of moisture and/or wood eating insects should be your first priority.

Re: Any way to prevent wood rot?

Thanks for the responses! I'll try my best to explain more in detail...The garage walls are wood, and have direct contact with the soil. There is a concrete foundation, but from what I can tell, the walls were built around the foundation and do not actually prevent the wood from contacting the soil. The walls are starting to rot in some areas from the ground to about 12 inches up from the foundation (since I recently bought this house, I'm not sure when this problem started.)

Re: Any way to prevent wood rot?

You need to clear the dirt around the footing/foundation/slab to make sure there is no contact betwwen the wood structure and the soil. You also have to improve the drainage around the foundation, to take water away from it.

This will help in preventing future damage. Then you have to deal with the existing damage.

Re: Any way to prevent wood rot?

The rods are Borate rods and they do work, BUT, maybe not in your case. The rods release sodium borate every time they get wet, which means they eventually dissolve and have to be replaced. Since you have ground contact, they won't last very long. They are used in log homes to preserve the logs.

You are going to need to make a false wall on each side of your garage, on the inside, then remove the bottom foot or so of the exterior wall. Use a course or two of concrete blocks, then PT between the blocks and the rest of the walls. Then paint the exterior walls.

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