Dry Rot

Dry Rot is a wood destroying fungus. This guide will help you understand and identify this property problem.


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What is dry rot?

Dry rot is a wood destroying fungus that digests parts of the wood which give the timber strength and its structural integrity. The fungus that eats away at the cellulose in the wood leading to noticeable cuboidal fractures.

Dry rot often does its damage while hidden from view. It may be surprising that something as distinctive as dry rot fungus can spread unnoticed, but dry rot often grows where people do not look - behind plaster, under floorboards or up in lofts.

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what Causes  dry rot?

Dry rot is caused when dampness combined with lack of ventilation provides the ideal conditions for fungal attack. It can affect all types of property, historic or modern and can grow within the cracks and cavities in the walls, feeding off debris and wood behind the plaster.

Dry rot spores are present in almost every property to some degree and on their own they are relatively harmless. However, if they are given sufficient moisture they will germinate and form a large fluffy cotton wool like fungus. This fungus will eventually grow into a fruiting body that will release more spores, starting the whole dry rot lifecycle all over again.

Contrary to its name, dry rot needs moisture to flourish and grow. This moisture could come from many sources such as a drip from a leaky pipe, rain water from the roof, damaged gutters or down pipes.

Once dry rot starts growing it can inflict serious damage on timber anywhere in a property. Worst of all, the longer dry rot goes untreated the more destructive it can become.

How To Identify dry rot

Look out for the following signs to help identify dry rot in your property:

Tell Tale sign 1 - Damaged timber

When timber is damaged by dry rot it is often brown in colour with dry and brittle cuboidal features that are easily broken or crumble in your hand.


(click on images above for hi-res version)

Tell tale sign 2 - Concentrated Spore dust

Most properties contain dry rot spores and they are usually harmless. However, if you notice large concentrated patches of fine orange/brown dust this would indicate that a dry rot outbreak is in progress.


(click on images above for hi-res version)

Tell tale sign 3 - Grey strands on timber

Fine greyish strands, not unlike cobwebs, that develop from dry rot spores are known as hyphae. This stage in the dry rot lifecycle allows dry rot to spread and grow by extracting moisture from damp areas and feeding on timber.

 (click on images above for hi-res version)

Tell tale sign 4 - White mycelium

Mycelium are silky cotton wool-like cushions, varying in colour from grey to pure white, that dry rot produces when it needs to spread to nearby timber.

 (click on images above for hi-res version)

Tell tale sign 5 - Dry rot fruiting bodies

The final stage in the dry rot lifecycle is perhaps the most visually distinctive. The mushroom-like fruiting bodies occur when dry rot can no longer feed on the timber it is attached to and needs to pump spores into the atmosphere to begin a new cycle.

 (click on images above for hi-res version)

Tell tale sign 6 - The smell

Dry rot timber decay is accompanied by a damp, musty smell. If you notice this odour creeping into your property you should be vigilant for any of the signs above.

How to fix a dry rot problem

A professional surveyor from Wise Property Care will be able to identify the full scope of any dry rot problem. Using specialist tools our surveyors can monitor the progress of any dry rot infestation, even when the rot is in concealed areas of a property. If a survey reveals the presence of dry rot then the dry rot treatment recommended will depend on the severity of the outbreak. 

To find out more information on how we fix a dry rot problem, visit the following web pages.

Dry rot treatment

Wise Property Care are experts when it comes to treating dry rot. Find out how we can eradicate dry rot from your property.

Dry rot treatment

Contact a Dry Rot Pro

The first step to solving a dry rot problem in your property is booking a survey with our Which?, PCA and Trust Mark approved experts.

Book a Dry rot survey

Speak to a dry rot specialist

At Wise Property Care, we are experts at identifying and treating dry rot.

If you suspect your property has dry rot, call Wise Property Care or use our online contact form to get help, advice and treatment solutions from our experienced and qualified team.

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