There are several different causes for wet wood. Each type of wet wood requires a slightly different treatment. Most treatment methods are simple, and very few treatment methods require special tools. The best way to eliminate the need for wet wood treatments is to use preventive measures to keep the wood from ever retaining enough water to cause a problem.
Wet rot is caused by wood that rapidly changes from wet to dry frequently. This usually occurs from a leak in plumbing lines, or it can also occur through rain water or improperly sealed wood, such as gaps in outdoor siding and other similar problems. Wet rot is a soft portion of the wood that easily crumbles away or indents. You can treat wet rot by finding the cause of the rot and fixing that problem, cutting away the rotted wood, adding a wood preservative to the wood and then filling the hole with an epoxy wood filler.
Wet wood can occur from any number of sources. Wood left uncovered outdoors will eventually become saturated with rain water and dew. Flooding indoors will create waterlogged boards. Even a plumbing leak is often enough to cause wood to become full of water. The best way to treat wet wood is by air drying the wood. Outdoors spread wood apart and place in a well-ventilated, covered area to dry. Indoors fans or heating elements will quickly dry wood. Wood that will eventually be used in another capacity, such as lumber, can be dried even faster with the use of a kiln.
Green wood has a natural water content that makes it a "wet" wood. Kiln drying is the most effective and fastest way to dry wood, but most individual builders do not have the use of a kiln. Green wood will naturally dry out over time. Within a period of about 6 months to a year, wood left in a sheltered area outdoors will become sufficiently dry to work with.
Every circumstance for wet wood, except for green wood and flooding, can be prevented. Always store wood in a dry, sheltered area, such as a car port. The storage facility should receive a lot of natural air flow and ventilation, or employ the use of fans to circulate the air. Always address leaks right away, before they can cause damage to the wood. Any time you notice unusually wet wood around the home, find the source of the water and take care of it as soon as possible.
Maintaining dry wood is also a common sense process. Other than keeping water and other liquids away from wood, the use of wood preservatives and seals will also help protect the wood from any further damage. Even paint will provide a protection against some forms of water damage. Do not allow wood to sit out in the snow or ice during the winter. If leaving wood outdoors is a necessity during the winter, cover the wood with a tarp.