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Sawdust-like Deposits Under Carpet: Mold, Dry Rot, or Carpenter Ants?

  • Transcript

    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.

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