If wood has a goal it is to decay so that it can become food for new growth.
Human beings and beavers like to take wood and do useful things with it–but sooner or later–no matter how we try, wood eventually finds its way back to the earth–back to being dirt.
The best homes are the ones that successfully slow down this transition as long as possible. Some structures are obviously better at it than others. With others, it is almost as if we don’t even try. Water is obviously the enemy for the preservationists, and just as obviously the friend of the decay process–whether from insects or rot.
If we dump water on our hardwood floors, and throw some seeds in the water, typically nothing will happen. The water will evaporate long before the seeds sprout because of the protective coatings on the floor. If the seeds are unlucky enough to sprout, there will be nothing for them to take root in or to sustain them once the water is gone.
With enough time and enough water the wood will eventually decay and those seeds might actually sprout and be able to take root because the wood has become dirt again.
In some cases we are so busy trying to keep our houses free of dirt we don’t notice the areas where it is turning into dirt.
Sometimes there is evidence that tells us what is going on.
Sometimes we do not listen
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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