October 13, 2015 | BY: childress_admin
Have you met the secret destroyers of log homes? We have introduced you to the turbulent termites and the pecking woodpecker, but have you met the log home destroyer who is the ultimate master of disguise? If not, let us introduce you to…fungus!
Fungi are responsible for a majority of rotten logs on log homes. In favorable environmental conditions, fungi will essentially eat the wood of your home, leading to decay and rot. Unlike more complex organisms, fungi do not have a digestive tract to breakdown and digest their food. Therefore, fungi use a straw-like structure called hyphae to release digestive enzymes into their environment that break down wood into a digestible form. Then the fungi can readily absorb the nutrients from the wood, causing rotten logs.
Fungi can wreak havoc if log home maintenance is neglected. Let’s look at the conditions that are conducive to wood rot and decay in your log home.
Fungi are the primary causes of log rot and are introduced to the logs through water or moisture. Many people erroneously believe that water causes rotting logs, but it is actual its microorganisms that cause the destruction. Logs burdened with cracks and gaps are susceptible to log rot, as these create entry channels for fungi to get within the wood. Once the fungus infiltrates the logs, it just requires a few other basic necessities for survival. These requirements are:
Microorganisms responsible for log rot thrive in temperatures greater than 60 degrees. Therefore, you may notice wood rot in the warmer months.
According to the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), fungi thrive in environments with at least 20% moisture. This is higher than the recommended moisture content of logs in log homes.
Fungi are aerobic organisms, which means they require oxygen to function. This key ingredient is needed for the fungi to begin the process of log decomposition.
Fungi enjoy eating cellulose and lignin, which are the carbohydrates found in logs. So let’s face it, your log home is like an all-you-can buffet. As fungi gorge on your log home to satisfy nutritional needs, the logs become damaged and rot sets in.
Taking measures to prevent log rot means eliminating environmental factors that support fungi growth—most importantly moisture. Here are a few tips for reducing moisture exposure to your log home:
Following these tips and basic log home maintenance will help reduce the occurrence of rotten logs. If you notice some questionable areas of log rot or think that you have a moisture problem, please give us a call. It is important to identify a potential problem before it turns catastrophic.
Having performed log home maintenance since 1972, our professionals are skilled at diagnosing log rot and fixing related problems. We can even help you develop a plan to prevent future log rot. We would be happy to come out and inspect your home for log rot and offer viable options to remedy the situation. Remember, don’t wait; contact us today!
Interested in learning more about the different log rots? Stay tune to our next post where we will talk about different log rots and potential solutions!