Matt Risinger

In my 20-year career as a builder, I've worked in three different climate zones: Washington, D.C.; Portland, Ore.; and now Austin, Texas. In all places, I built houses that got wet — sometimes soaked — in the framing stage. Time was when we could assume that the frame would dry naturally, even after the walls were closed in. But today we are building tighter houses that are less able to dry once the drywall has been installed.

The worst-case scenario in a wet house with a very slow drying rate is that mold and rot can form on the framing. I once took apart a one-year-old house in Portland that had wood rot damage not from leaks but from wet framing lumber that never dried to the inside or outside. Other problems — less dire but still troublesome — are nail pops in...

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