Sawdust-like Deposits Under Carpet: Mold, Dry Rot, or Carpenter Ants?
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Joan in Illinois on the line who’s dealing with a mold issue. Tell us about it, Joan.
JOAN: Well, I’m wondering what causes dry rot and how you can tell if you have it.
TOM: OK. Well, what are you seeing, Joan?
JOAN: Coming down to the floor, there’s about an inch below the molding. And I took the carpet up and I saw sawdust down there. And I wondered if it was dry rot.
TOM: Alright. So, first of all, there’s no such thing as dry rot; there’s only wet rot. Wood that gets wet – it gets over 25-percent moist – can start to decay. Then, if that wood also dries out, that’s what people call “dry rot” but it’s really sort of a misnomer because it’s not really dry rot; it’s wet rot that has dried out.
JOAN: Oh. So we can’t cause it by overheating or under-humidifying a house.
TOM: No. Well, not overheating but if you over-humidify, I guess it’s technically possible because you’d put a lot of water in there. But no, you’re not going to cause it by overheating.
In terms of what you’re seeing under this molding, I think that would bear some further investigation. When you mentioned “sawdust,” I think about carpenter ants, for example. And so, I would make sure that I know exactly what’s causing this.
One of the things that you could do is you could take a picture of it and you can post it to our Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit. We’ll take a look at it and give you an opinion. Or you could post it to the Community section at MoneyPit.com. How about that?
JOAN: That sounds great.