09 Nov How to treat wood rot

Wood is a traditional and aesthetically pleasing material that’s popular amongst many homeowners. However, regular maintenance is required to ensure that anything from your wooden driveway gate to your garden shed remains in tip-top condition. When subjected to typical UK weather conditions, the unwelcomed appearance of wood rot is not uncommon. But fear not! With this guide on how to treat wood rot, you’ll know exactly how to spot it, and how to avoid a future occurrence. 

What is wood rot?

Wood rot leads to the decaying of the material, caused by a wood-loving fungus that thrives on timber’s moisture. Once these spores settle on the wood, they start to germinate, producing small strands of growth, known as hyphae. As time goes on, they begin to consume the affected area, producing a rather unpleasant odour in the process. If left untreated, the wood will lose its strength, attractive colouration, and in severe cases can result in structural collapse. So, if there’s anything to learn from this guide, it’s that you should always keep your senses open to check for any sign of this troublesome fungus, tackling the problem before things escalate. You’ll have two different types of wood rot look out for too, so read on to understand the key characteristics of each. 

Types of wood rot 

Dry wood rot

Being the most serious of the two, dry wood rot can lead to severe decay. Even if only one area is affected, it can spread viciously, often resulting in irreversible damage. The fungus can be recognised by its yellow tinge, leaving behind crumbling timber and deep cracks. 

Wet wood rot

Wet wood rot, on the other hand, remains confined to the affected area, caused by prolonged periods of wetness on timber. Look out for a soft, spongy, black fungus to avoid further cracks to the wood or paint damage. This type of wood rot can be easily recognised by an unpleasant, earthy smell. 

Wood rot repair

Finding the source of wood rot

The first step to wood rot repair is to find the source that’s causing the damp. Seasonal changes cannot be helped, but it is important to look out for possible damage. Other than during the hottest parts of the summer and cold winters, wood rot will find a way to grow between these seasons, but there are further steps you can take to lessen the chances. 


One of the main ways to prevent wood rot is to trim back tree branches and shrubbery that could rub their damp against your fence, garden shed or driveway gate when the wind starts to pick up. By making a conscious effort to prune, you’ll be able to keep the fungus from taking up residence.

Repairing rotten timber

To begin repairing timber that’s become a victim of wood rot, arm yourself with a hammer and claw out as much of the damp wood you can. In order to prevent causing too much damage, only claw areas that are soft and spongy. You can then start to sand down the wood with sandpaper to make the surface as smooth as possible, being sure to move in the direction of the wood’s grain. You can then start to fill in any newly formed gaps with wood filler, sanding down once more after it’s set. 

Wood preserve

One of the best gate maintenance methods is wood preserve, used as an undercoat to stabilise moisture, preventing decay and wood rot. Its natural look leads to a seamless application, but the wood should always be completely dry before painting or spraying the surface, making sure to wipe away any excess afterwards. 

Painting/ staining your gate 

Using either paint or a stain as your top coat is another way to guarantee enhanced protection against wood rot, providing a natural, yet customisable look. This additional layer is also great for lessening UV ray and moisture exposure, so that you can prepare your garden for harsh weather conditions, without the stress. Just the same as when applying wood preserve, the surface should always be smooth and clean beforehand, brushing off any excess dirt and wiping over with a damp cloth. 

Painting your gate doesn’t just serve the purpose of protecting against wood rot, it’s also one way to boost your aesthetic by being able to choose from a variety of playful colours and tones. Whatever your preference, your dream shade is waiting for you. 

When it comes to treating wooden and timber gates, our friendly teams of professionals are here to help, from initial gate installation and servicing to post-project maintenance. Together, we can work with you to make your home feel not only safe and secure, but a place to begin creating your desired aesthetic. Give us a call today and explore our wide range of driveway gates!