Home > Wooden Screen Frame Rot: What is it?

Wooden Screen Frame Rot: What is it?

A window screen can make enjoying a beautiful, breezy day or evening a delight. Without one, however, you may be welcoming annoying insects such as mosquitos, road dust, leaves, spiders, birds, and even small mammals into your home. A screen allows you to enjoy fresh airflow in your home and on your back porch without the hassle of unwelcome intruders from nature.

Depending on the era of when your home was built, you may experience something that more modern homes and window screens made from newer technologies do not: screen and window rot. Especially if you have purchased a home that was built in, or before the 1930s, the old wooden window screens if the original remain will no doubt need replacing.

What is wood window screen rot?

Homes that use wooden frames for their window screens may not know this yet, but one of the most common issues homeowners run into is wood rot on window frames, sills, and trim. While wood has its uses, when it comes to what is holding your window screens in place, you may want to move to a material that can withstand almost any environment and is virtually rot- and corrosion-free.

In nature, wood rot is a vital decomposition process, turning fallen trees, branches, or logs into nutritious soil that helps the ecosystem. But when it comes to your home, discovering that parts of it may be rotting can lead to panic. In the case of wood window screen frames, should wood rot be allowed to continue unabated, the cost to repair that damage can soon run over budget.

Discovering what causes wood rot, how to prevent it, what to do to prevent it, or how to replace already affected wood is important. Especially learning to spot it, as wood rot is often hidden from view beneath or behind other items.

Wood rot is a form of decay triggered by the combination of moisture and fungi. For the fungi to thrive, the wood needs to be continuously damp, as fungi do not grow in dry areas. More than 5 million different types of fungi surround us at all times in the air and soil, so there's no way to escape them. Some are beneficial, such as the yeast we use to bake bread and mushrooms, but others, the type that begins to break down your wooden screen frames are destructive.

• White Rot: If you notice that any exposed wood has taken on a whitish or light yellow shade and has begun to feel almost like a sponge, it is probably white rot. White-rot fungi break down lignin, an element of the wood's structure, leaving light-colored cellulose behind. White rot can occur in temps anywhere between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Brown Rot: This is commonly known as "dry rot," because the surface of the wood appears dried out. Brown rot targets cellulose in the wood's structure and destroys it. As it is destroyed, the wood shrinks, turning a deep brown and breaks into small cube-shaped bits, called a cubical fracture. Brown rot thrives in temps between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and once it starts growing, can spread rapidly.

• Soft Rot: Soft-rot fungi decompose wood much more slowly than brown or white-rot but thrive in the temperatures that are too hot or too cold for the others to survive in, between 0 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Like the other fungi, Soft rot breaks down cellulose, leaving behind wood with a honeycomb-like appearance, and while usually found in fallen logs and trees more commonly, it can strike a home if conditions are right.

How to spot it.

Checking your home for wood rot should be a yearly task. Luckily, all you will need is a long-handled screwdriver and a good flashlight.

  • Examine the wood frame around your screens, any siding around the windows especially if they are wood, as well as beneath the windows for signs of swelling or discoloration. Paint can hide wood rot, so poke the tip of your screwdriver along the wood frame. It should be firm and hard. If the tip of your screwdriver sinks into the wood, then most likely that wood has rotted. The wood around your screens and windows should never be soft.

Can wood with rot be treated?

Softwood damaged by rot is not salvageable and should immediately be replaced as soon as possible to keep the rot from spreading to other areas of your home. You could try treating it, but the steps involved are complicated and require a dehumidifier, a wood preservative, and careful monitoring to ensure it is not spreading.

Replace the wooden window screen frame.

The easiest way to stop wood rot in its tracks is to remove it completely. When it comes to replacing old wooden window screens, we have the easiest solution that will save you time, effort, and the cost of having to potentially deal with wood rot moving outside of the window screen frame.

We offer all of the products and items you could need to assemble a gorgeous looking window screen with updated materials that will outlast and outperform wooden frames for years to come. Without sacrificing your curb appeal, you can find our Do It Yourself Screen Kits have tons of options for frame color, screen color, and the option of a crossbar if needed.

If you would like to keep the authenticity of a more vintage look to your older home, you will find we have a huge selection of options. Besides pre-cut window screen frames, we offer full boxes as well as our Copper Bronze screen which resembles the more antique materials used in window screens. It's also ideal home use in coastal areas.

Do not let wood rot creep any further into your home. When you need a quick and easy replacement that is water, rot, corrosion, and weather-resistant, Quality Window Screens will have everything you could need. From tools specifically engineered to make window treatments a breeze regardless of whether you work in the home construction profession or want to do a little home improvement yourself. Questions about our window screens, frames, kits, or any of our products? Contact us at any time. It would be a pleasure to help you find exactly what you are looking for.