How To Deal With Dry Rot - July 30th 2015
Q: We live in a 25-year-old house, and are doing some work in our bathroom. When we removed the baseboards beside the tub, we found the wall board was crumbling to pieces because of exposure to water.
After removing the crumbled drywall, we found we were able to stab a pen knife about an inch into the two-by-three toeplate. We assume this is because the wood has rotted from moisture. The area appears to be a few inches wide and about an inch up from the plywood underlay.
Will the rot continue to spread through the framing even after we repair the source of the leak? Do we need to replace the wood toeplate?
A: Dry rot in wood is caused by constant dampness that forms a fungus, turning to rot.
Stop the leakage of water and the rotting will stop as long as the wood is dried out completely before closing the area with drywall or cement board. If this is on a partition wall, it is not likely a load-bearing wall and could be removed and replaced with treated two-by-fours. However, I would suggest that you leave it rather than disturb it. For the small area you have indicated, you could use a hair dryer to speed up the drying, and then paint over the dried area with a solvent-based primer.