What is Wood Rot?

Learn about the different types of wood rot and how to identify them


Freephone :

What is "wood rot"?

Wood rot can be described as the destruction of wood caused by various fungi, affecting its colour, strength and structure. The fungi destroys the wood, acting on the enzymes and causing mycelium to grow.

Contact a wood rot specialist

Why does wood rot?

Wood can be an excellent material for buildings as if it remains dry, it is resistant to most biological attacks. However, if over a period of time the wood is exposed to water, it can become vulnerable to decay from fungi. It must be noted that not all fungi causes wood rot. However, the presence of fungi always indicates the moisture content in the wood is too high and is vulnerable to fungi that will cause wood rot.

How does wood rot occur?

Fungi that causes wood rot does so by breaking down the cell walls of wood which causes them to eventually lose strength. Wood rotting fungi is unikely to naturally be found in internal timbers due to the fact that the fungi needs 20 percent moisture content to survive. However, wood rotting fungi can be found in internal timbers when caused by any issues with building or design that have led to water ingress or condensation. 

What's the difference between wet rot and dry rot?

Any type of wood rot is a cause for concern but there are several differences between dry rot and wet rot. The main differences between these types of wood rot is that dry rot (Serpula Lacrymans) tends to germinate on timbers with a lower moisture content (upwards of 20%) while wet rot requires moisture content of 50% or above to grow. Also, wet rot tends to only grow at the source of the damp wood while dry rot will agressively spread from one timber to another across an entire building. Whilst dry rot is a much more severe case of wood rot, both dry rot and wood rot can have disastrous consequences for the structural integrity of a building. Learn more about the differences betweed dry rot and wet rot here

Dry rot vs wet rot

How to identify wood rot

Wet rot

Whilst dry rot and wet rot is quite similar in some ways, visibly, the two forms of wood rot are very distinctive. The mycelia growth on wet rot is black/brown in colour while the fruiting bodies tend to be more white/grey in colour. For more information on how to identify wet rot, click on the button below. 

(click on images above for hi-res version)

Identify Wet Rot

Dry rot

The mycelia growth associated with dry rot, however, is generally white in colour. The fruiting bodies associated with dry rot tend to come in yellow and brown patches. For more information on how to identify dry rot, click on the button below.

(click on images above for hi-res version)

Identify dry rot 

Contact a wood rot specialist

It is crucial that any signs of wood rot are treated immediately due to the potential for rot to cause disastrous consequences to a building's structure. Due to the potential dangers of wood rot, it is important to always leave any case of wood rot to a professionally trained wood rot specialist who can determine to extent of wood rot and the best course of action to treat the infected timber. 

If you want to speak to a wood rot specialist, contact Wise Property Care today on 0808 163 4161 or click to contact your local branch

Alternatively, fill out our short contact form and one of wood rot specialists will be in touch.