Treating Rot in Unifinshed Hardwood Flooring

Many homeowners prefer using unfinished hardwood flooring since these floorings help to establish a rustic ambience. Hardwood flooring is among the most durable of residential flooring options but unfinished hardwood flooring presents some typical maintenance problems. The most common of such problems is the presence of wood rot. Wood rut is essentially a fungal growth that seeps deep into the most durable of woods, feeding upon the moisture and cellulose found in wood.

Unfinished hardwood flooring is more vulnerable to this problem. This is primarily because unfinished hardwood floorings lack the outer waxed or sealed surface that help to neutralize the invasive nature to the fungus. Such floors are slightly more vulnerable to moisture too. The unfinished surface presents easier access to wood fibers that are the source of nutrition for the wood rot fungus. However, unfinished hardwood floorings affected by rot can be easily treated using the following information:

Getting Started

Begin by assessing the flooring. You need to establish the exact spots affected by rot that often seem like dark stains. This is why paint spots or spots caused by spillage of food often resemble wood rot spots. For properly assessing the surface and treating it, it is vital that you dry it. Drying also ensures that the spread of the fungus is arrested.

You can use simple methods to dry the floor like wiping it repeatedly with dry cloth, opening the windows and switching-on the fan. You can use a blowlamp for ensuring that the water soaked into the fibers is comprehensively evaporated. Now, carefully identify the areas that need rot treatment. Usually, these areas will have a slightly different coloration from the surrounding surface. You might find the rot-affected areas to be slightly roughened or with small cracks on the surface.

Understand Wood Rot Treatment Options: Borax

Borate is an effective fungicide and it is commonly used in woodworking and gardening projects to protect surfaces against fungal attacks. Borate is commonly recommended for treating both wet and dry wood rot. Wood fungus has the ability to seep within the wood fibers and lay dormant for years. Thus, you need a potent treatment option and borax fulfills this need.

Borax is also retailed as sodium borate or just borate. Please note that borate powder is also available. However, this is useful only when the rot has affected the hardwood flooring in a very minimal manner. For instance, if the spot made by the fungus seems to be just limited to the surface, you can rub some borate powder on it.

For all other types of treatment requirements, borate solution is recommended. The solution ensures that borate is delivered deep into hardwood flooring. This cures the wood and immunizes it against future infestations. Borate solution doesn’t harm the natural coloration of hardwood. It also kills carpenter ants and wood termites. You can apply the borate solution with a paint-roller. You can also buy fused borate pastes that are easier-to-apply and offer similar results. However, these are a bit more costly than the solution.

Basic Repairs

Please note that treating the hardwood flooring may cure the rot problem but it doesn’t improve the appearance of the blemished surface. You need to combine the rot treatment with some basic woodworking to improve its aesthetics. This can be done using basic supplies like sandpaper. This is used for scraping-off the wood rot spots. You can use wood filler to plug the surface damage and re-sand the floor to ensure that the filler compound is impacted deep into the surface. You can also use wood stain to camouflage the damage caused by the rot.