Fungus or Lichen

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I put up this deck cover in November 2001.  The the structural members are untreated yellow pine from Home Depot.  In less than four years it developed a severe case of rot from fungus or lichen or something.  This wood does not remain wet.  It dries quickly after a rain, so it shouldn't have rotted.  The untreated yellow pine members I replaced when I built this new structure were 20 years old and showed no signs of rot.  It's clear the lumber from Home Depot had a disease inside it that has rotted the wood from the inside out. 

Letter to Home Depot that received no reply

The History Below Was Written Over Several Years and is in Inverse Chronological Order

Table of Contents
2008 Report
2007-2 Report
2007-1 Report
2006 Report
2005 Report

 

Here's what the deck cover looked like about a year after it was finished,
before the disease began to emerge

September 2008 -- At seven years the rot has reached failure in several areas.

Four of the cross members had rotted to the point they were breaking of their own weight.   Two cross members were being held up by the lattice.  Of course, they were very light now as the rot has consumed them.   Two more were barely hanging together.  I've had to spend the last two weeks replacing these four members.  More need to be replaced but these were the worst and all I was up to.  The pictures below show the extent of the rot.

These cross-section views show how they rotted from the inside out

The board below didn't split -- it rotted into

The Following Two Pictures Are of the Top Edge of 2x6's

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After learning antifreeze kills rot, I had soaked the outside of the wood with it every year since I discovered the problem.  It never seemed to affect the progress of the disease.  After replacing the four cross members described above I decided to try to get antifreeze inside the remaining wood.  I got an IV bag and tubing.  The wood had decayed to the point I could easily push a awl into the top of the beam and then insert the needle.  I would make a hole and treat about every 2-3 feet.  The wood (actually the rot) absorbed 5 gallons of antifreeze.  This appears to have killed the rot -- at least I've seen no more growths on the cross members or beams.  In the fall of 2011 I replaced the worst of the main beams, and things seem stable now.

November 2007 -- The fungus continues to progress

I thoroughly resoaked the members with antifreeze and waited until February 2008 to scrape protruding fungus off hoping the antifreeze would work it's way back through the fungus to the disease inside the wood. 

Serious rot has compromised the structural integrity of several cross members.

 

January 2007 -- Antifreeze didn't work, the problem continues

I examined the structure again today and the fungus is progressing in many areas.  Below are but a few samples. I retreated with antifreeze, and scraped off the the protruding fungus.

 

I wrote this in the summer of 2006

The situation has become much worse.  One originally effected board is now rotted severely on the end shown in the October '05 picture with the red arrow.  The fungus has spread extensively.  Over half of the area of all boards have this fungus growing on (out of) them.  I have scraped off the protruding growths and soaked all the boards in antifreeze as recommended on this web page.  Some of the protruding growths are 1" thick and 6" long

The first comments were written in October 2005

The two cross members in the following illustrations have been affected by fungus.  You can see from the ones in the background of the first picture what the rest of the boards look like.

The board in this first picture has grown some kind of fungus or lichen.  The board also seems to be splitting much worse than the unaffected boards.  I cleaned it off once and treated it with a fungicide.  

Does anybody know what's causing this, and how I can stop it?

There is another kind of fungus/lichen growing on a second board.  Below are pictures of the two sides of the same board. 

visit my home repair website
 


 

I wrote the following letter to Home Depot on October 1st 2008, with copies to the CEO and a couple of other officers.  They didn't have the courtesy to reply.  I've never thought much of Home Depot, but to not even reply to a complaint about their defective product that has cost a customer a lot of trouble and wasted effort, well . . . very shabby

 

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

My Address
Houston, TX 
77777
555-333-4567

myemailaddress@factsfacts.com

Joe Izganics, President - Southern Division
Home Depot, Incorporated
2455 Paces Ferry Rd. NW
Atlanta, GA 30339-4024

Dear Mr. Izganics

In September of 2001 I bought some yellow pine lumber from your store at 20251 Gulf Freeway, Webster, Texas.  As time passed it became clear this lumber was diseased and has ruined my deck cover project.  For several years I have been keeping a photo journal of the progress of the disintegration of my project.  You can find the full saga here -- http://www.factsfacts.com/deck_fungus.   I am now 72 years and find it difficult to climb onto and around on this structure to do repairs. 

I am writing to learn if you or your company is interested in doing something to make good on this defective wood and the trouble it has caused. 

Sincerely,


ORIGINAL SIGNED BY JAMES EVANS


James Evans