The Difference Between Wood Rot & Termite Damage

It’s true that termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage each year in the United States. Unfortunately, this cost is usually not covered by homeowners insurance. That is why it is important to proactively prevent these pests from establishing a colony in and around your home. It’s no wonder when people find wood rot that they often assume the worst-case scenario, a termite infestation. How do you tell the difference?


Wood rot occurs when moisture, warmth, and oxygen all work together causing fungi to blossom, which leads to rotting or decaying wood. Culprits causing moisture problems leading to wood rot are leaky air-conditioners, shrubs planted near the house, and improperly functioning downspouts. This type of wood rot is caused by moisture, hence, the name ‘wet rot.’


Another type of wood rot can occur without the presence of humidity and that is referred to as ‘dry rot.’ Rotted wood becomes darker, spongy, and soft. Dry rotted wood crumbles and can crack with a simple touch. You will be able to visibly see fungi growth on wet rot wood. There is also an unmistakable smell. It’s hard to describe other than it smells wet and musty. Trust me, when you smell it, you will know it.

Subterranean termites cause the majority of the damage associated with structural damage caused by termites especially around the River Valley area in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Termite damaged wooded can cause the wood structure to look wavy and some parts may appear weak and hollow.

Even considering the dissimilarities mentioned, it could be difficult to tell the difference between the rotted wood and termite-damaged wood. The best way to do this and give you peace of mind or help you develop an actionable plan is to have a pest control professional like Terminator Termite and Pest Control inspect your property. They will be able to tell if the wood has been damaged by termites. If so, they will help you develop a plan to eliminate the termite infestation so you can then move forward with home repairs. Call Terminator today, 479.783.6200.