Will Vinegar Stop Wood Rot? 

No home-related topic is more misunderstood than wood rot. However, most people can learn to identify and prevent it. So, through this article, we will equip you with a basic understanding of the principles of wood rot. We will aim to also equip you with the knowledge that will help you avoid getting ripped off by dishonest contractors who use wood rot as an all-purpose tool for selling expensive and unnecessary work!

White vinegar will stop wood rot because it is a fungicide, which has antimicrobial properties. As wood rot is caused by fungi that require an acidic environment ranging from 0-5.5 (pH), white vinegar solves the problem by changing the pH level in the wood. Some other fungicides include hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, boron solutions, baking soda, and ethylene or propylene glycol.

How Does White Vinegar Stop Wood Rot?

In order to stop wood from rotting, you must understand that all wood rot is the product of fungal infestation. There are roughly 1,000 species of fungi that can cause it. But, these fungi alone are not capable of causing wood rot as they need a variety of conditions to be just right, so they can do their damage. These conditions include temperature, moisture, and pH level. White vinegar is an effective fungicide that changes the pH level, which in turn ruins the conditions fungi thrive on.

In general, fungicides (pesticides) are used to kill or prevent fungus and their spores from growing. They are very effective in curing wood rot as they damage the fungal cell membranes and interfere with key processes like energy generation and respiration within fungal cells.

Once water finds its way into your wood, decay and deterioration are inevitable. Read on to find out what you’ll need to do before applying any fungicide, epoxy penetrants, or fillers!

How to Apply White Vinegar to Stop Rotting

As a matter of fact, when applying a fungicide like white vinegar, it is important to take the right steps to handle the water corrosion in the wood and prevent further fungi development. Here are the steps you should follow to tackle that nasty wood rot with any fungicide:

1. Drying the wood

The first step is to dry the wood. You can do this by;

  • Repairing any plumbing leaks 
  • Running a dehumidifier 

2. Treating the wood

Once the wood is dry; you can use the following fungicides to treat the wood rot; 

  • White vinegar will increase the pH level of the fungi interrupt the growth process
  • Diluted chlorine bleach can be applied as a liquid or sprayed. It will cure all of the rot fungi and prevent them from regrowing. In addition to removing the rot, Bleach may also remove the spots left behind due to the wood rot.
  • Ethylene or propylene glycol can also be used for curing the wood. These fungicides destroy fungi and rot spores.
  • Boric acid (borate) is a highly efficient fungicide for treating wood rot. During construction, it can be applied to wood as a protective agent against future termite damage, rot, and decay or as a cure to inhibit the growth of an existing decay fungus.

You can easily find wood preservatives containing copper or borate. Trusted products like the Woodlife CopperCoat Green Wood Preservative are available on amazon.

It is important to note that you should apply these fungicides to both the damaged and undamaged parts of the wood. Doing this will further prevent the rot from spreading any further. 

3. Monitoring

Since the wood has already been damaged, you must monitor for signs of further decay as there is an increased risk of future rot. It is best to deal with fungi at the earlier stages of the development of the rot.

How to Prevent Wood From Rotting

The best way to prevent wood rot before it spreads is to proactively inspect your home’s structure to see whether it has begun to show. It would be ideal if you performed this every two to three months. Remember, the more frequently you check, the sooner you’ll notice any problems and the quicker you’ll be able to correct them!

Indications of wood rot include;

  • Damp or musty smell
  • Deep cracks in the grain of the wood
  • The wood is brittle and crumbles in your hand
  • Patches of orange-brown spore dust
  • Grey wood fibers
  • Mushroom growth

Rot is caused by moisture that has found its way inside the wood. Wood offers an ideal habitat for fungus to thrive. Therefore pay extra attention to wet and moisture-prone locations such as under guttering, around window and door sills. 

The best course of action with any wood that may be prone to moisture is to use Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES). Get a disposable brush and have lacquer thinners on hand to clean the brush. Then, using the brush, apply as much CPES to the wood as the wood will allow. Let the solvents evaporate and the CPES soak in.

Additional measures to prevent wood rot:

  • Ensure that rainwater flows freely through gutters
  • Use alternatives to wood in the construction of your home
  • Make sure your outside doors have covered openings 
  • Make sure your home is sufficiently ventilated to avoid moisture from being trapped

How to Repair Rotten Wood 

The best method for repairing rotten wood is using polyester filler to rebuild rotten wood. It can be molded to match the exact wood profile. Materials required for the job include;

Start by removing the rotten wood using a sharp tool and coat it with a wood hardener. The hardener will build a solid base for the polyester filler, which is filled in using a putty knife. Once the wood filler has solidified, carve and smoothen the excess and edges with a chisel and sandpaper.   

How Much Does It Cost to Have Rotten Wood Replaced?

If you plan to have your wood replaced, this table will help you get a rough estimate of your costs, depending on the kind of wood and size.

SpeciesWidth RangeLength RangePrice Per BF($)
Ash (White)4.00″ – 8.50″96.00″ – 144.00″5.5
Ash (White)9.00″ – 11.50″96.00″ – 144.00″7.3
Basswood4.00″ – 8.50″96.00″ – 144.00″7.0
Basswood4.00″ – 8.50″96.00″ – 144.00″8.0
Butternut4.00″ – 7.50″72.00″ – 144.00″9.0
Butternut8.00″ – 11.50″72.00″ – 144.00″11.0
Butternut8.00″ – 11.50″72.00″ – 144.00″16.3
Cedar (Spanish)4.00″ – 8.50″96.00″ – 144.00″8.0
Cedar (Spanish)4.00″ – 8.50″96.00″ – 144.00″9.0
Cherry (American)4.00″ – 8.50″96.00″ – 144.00″6.8
Cherry (American)9.00″ – 11.50″96.00″ – 144.00″15.3
Chestnut (European)3.00″ – 11.50″72.00″ – 168.00″9.0
Chestnut (European)3.00″ – 11.50″72.00″ – 168.00″10.0
Ebony (Gabon)4.00″ – 12.00″48.00″ – 144.00″150.0
Ebony (Gabon)1.00″ – 6.00″12.00″ – 72.00″100.0
Mahogany (Genuine)4.00″ – 8.50″96.00″ – 144.00″10.5
Mahogany (Genuine)9.00″ – 11.50″96.00″ – 144.00″17.5
Maple (Big Leaf)4.00″ – 12.00″48.00″ – 120.00″15.0
Maple (Big Leaf)4.00″ – 12.00″48.00″ – 120.00″100.0
Oak (English Brown)4.00″ – 18.00″72.00″ – 168.00″15.0
Oak (English Brown)2.00″ – 10.00″72.00″ – 168.00″18.0
Pine (Eastern White)4.00″ – 7.50″96.00″ – 144.00″6.0
Pine (Eastern White)8.00″ – 11.50″96.00″ – 144.00″5.0


  1. Does wood continue to rot after being dried out?

Wood weakens when moisture seeps in from the outside. Dry rot (also known as brown rot) is a fungus that requires water to grow but can continue to thrive and develop inside the wood long after it has been dried out. 

  1. Can you cover rotten wood with paint?

Rotten wood becomes highly porous making it impossible for the paint to settle. It must be sealed before painting. So, before you begin painting, please treat it with a wood hardener. The hardener will soak into the rotten wood and form a solid foundation for the paint. If your wood has large areas of deterioration, it is better to remove them.

  1. How to cure dry or brown rot?

The best way to cure brown rot and prevent it from spreading is to use a 3:2 mixture of borax and boric acid. Create this mixture and stir over low heat until the crystals disappear. This dry rot treatment is most suitable for areas with temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Final Thoughts

In order to prevent the outset of heavy repair and replacement costs, you should monitor the woodwork in your house actively. In some cases due to long lack of monitoring and care, wood can deteriorate beyond repair. We hope our article has helped you learn how to care for wood properly, as goes a long way in reducing home maintenance costs!

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

Recent Posts