Whether you are a homeowner or have a business in Florida, it is important that you take great care in keeping your property in tip-top condition. 

This might include having the roof inspected for signs of significant wear and tear, cleaning the HVAC system, or fixing a leaky faucet before it turns into a major problem. 

One less-oft considered factor for your home or office is the integrity of the wood that is holding your structure together and providing support.

When it comes to the wood structure that actually keeps your building standing strong, there are a few different things that may affect it. One major issue that cannot often be helped is severe weather. 

If a hurricane comes through, you may not be able to help the potential damage it may do to your home or business.

However, things like termite damage and wood rot are preventable and do not necessarily have to be a completely destructive force. 

Before you start searching your home for little bugs or testing the integrity of every beam in your business, you must first understand what wood rot is, what termite damage is, and how to tell the difference between the two.

What Is Wood Rot?

If you have ever walked through a forest and seen a tree that has fallen, you may notice that the tree is likely showing signs of decomposition. 

Wood rot is the combination of moisture and fungi that breaks down organic material. The wood rot process turns full-size trees into usable, nutritious soil for the living plants all around it. 

However, while this is extremely helpful in nature, it can be seriously detrimental to a home or business.

A couple of different types of wood rot may affect your home’s support posts, beams, ceiling joists, roof decking, flooring, and more, depending on the moisture content of the type of wood used in the structure.

Dry Rot

The most common type of wood rot is called dry rot. Dry rot, also known as brown rot, is created by humid conditions which allow a specific type of fungi to grow and thrive. Dry rot can appear on any untreated wooden surface. Essentially, the fungi that grow will erode the wood and shrink the grains of the wood, leaving them brown in color (hence the alternate name of the rot type). Any wood that has a moisture content of 20% is susceptible to dry rot.

Signs of dry rot to be aware of include cracks in the grain of the wood, damp odor, fruiting bodies like mushrooms, and a yellow hue to the wood. One of the tricky parts about dry rot is that it may not affect the surface veneer, so a homeowner or business owner may not know that they have dry rot in the wood until it is too late. Dry rot can spread very quickly and consume an entire structure in less time than you would expect.

Wet Rot

The other prevalent kind of wood rot, also caused by a fungus, is called wet rot. This type of wood rot develops due to water damage from such things as leaking pipes or the consistent presence of moisture in the air. Unlike dry rot, wet rot often does affect the surface of the wood, so it may be easier to spot.

Signs of wet rot to look for include cracks in the wood, soft or sponge-like feeling to the wood, discoloration, and a damp odor. It is common in humid areas but does not spread as rapidly as dry rot. That makes it easier to treat and eliminate without major damage to your whole structure.

Signs of Termite Damage

Unlike wood rot, termite damage is not caused by any type of fungi. Termites are tiny insects in the same family as wood-eating cockroaches (though they look like white ants). These insects feed on wood and paper, including the wooden supports and posts that make up most homes and businesses.

If you think you may have termites (drywood termites or subterranean termites) in your house, it is critical that you have them exterminated as soon as possible to avoid major structural damage. Here are some signs used to identify if you may have termites or termite damage:

  • The bugs themselves
  • Tiny holes in the wood (a likely place where a termite burrowed into the wood)
  • Discarded termite wings
  • Fecal pellets from swarmers
  • Peeling paint
  • Buckling, loose, or squeaky flooring
  • Hollow wood sounds
  • Discoloration of the drywall


Whether you see a termite or not, noticing any of the above signs should definitely send up red flags in your mind because there may already be serious termite damage to your house.

Termite Damage vs. Wood Rot

An interesting issue for many homeowners and business owners is how to tell the difference between termite damage vs. wood rot. It may be difficult to determine the source of the types of damage you have because wood rot (especially wet rot) can be conducive to attracting termites. 

A termite will not only seek the wood in your home for nutrients but also any moisture in the wood itself. You could have termite damage and wood rot at the same time.

If you believe that you may have damaged wood present in your home from either termites or wood rot, there are some differences you can spot in the damaged wood itself. 

In the case of wood rot and decay, the wood is spongy, stringy, and will break into cubes. Termite-damaged wood will likely look normal on the outside, but the interior of the wood contains tunnels and galleries made by the chewing of termites throughout the wood. 

It may not be easy to spot the difference between fungi-induced decay and termites, but the need for repair remains constant.

Contact Our Professional Florida Termite Infestation Specialists

At Biotherm Green Solutions, our professional exterminators are here to help you identify if you have damage to your home or business from termites or wood rot. 

We know the difference between the types of damage and are happy to inspect your property. We will check walls, floors, ceilings, cracks in the floorboards, and anywhere else we know that pests like termites like to hide.

If we see signs of termites, we will give you solutions to your problem and tell you the extent of the repair needing to be completed. We use non-chemical, non-toxic heating treatments for termites to introduce clean, dry heat to your home to eliminate the termite infestation from structures.

Call Biotherm Green Solutions today to find out more about our heat treatments and schedule an inspection at your home or office!