Throughout the world, one can find wooden structures that have given centuries of service. Many buildings, however, suffer extensive damage by decay fungi and insects within a few years of completion. Why do some wooden buildings last indefinitely while others fail to outlive the mortgage? Nearly all wood deterioration can be traced to design features that trap moisture under or within structures. The best way to protect wood in buildings from decay fungi and insects is to use properly seasoned wood and keep it dry after construction. Two other principles follow from this: avoid contact between wood and soil, but if contact cannot be avoided use preservative-treated wood. Water that wets building components can come from the original