WHAT IS DRY ROT?
Dry rot (Serpula lacrymans) is a wood destroying fungus that occurs in timber with higher than normal moisture content. This fungal growth, sometimes known as brown rot or wood rot, affects the strength and structural integrity of timber. The fungus 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 – in cavity walls, under floorboards or up in lofts.
This page will detail the common signs of a rot outbreak, the difference between dry rot and wet rot and what to do if you think your property needs rot treatment. If you want to get in touch with us straight away though, do not hesitate to call us today or click the button below to contact us online.
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.
The fungal spores that can lead to a rot problem 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 a moisture source to flourish and grow. This moisture could come from many sources such as a leaky pipe, rain water from the roof, damaged gutters or down pipes. This means dry rot can result from another damp problem such as penetrating damp.
Once 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 dry rot spread.
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.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRY AND WET ROT
Wet rot is another fungal growth that can result in rotten wood in a property. That said, there are significant differences between dry rot and wet rot. Wet rot fungus requires a far higher moisture content and tends to be localised to damp timber in one area. It is often found in basements, cellars and floorboards underneath baths, washing machines and sinks. It is also common in lofts with damaged and leaking roofs.
Wet rot is also unable to spread beyond the affected area as it does not release spores or grow over brickwork or other building materials. This means wet rot treatment tends to be a simpler task and less expensive.
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.
DRY ROT TREATMENT
Want to know how to treat the problem? Check out our basic guide on dry rot treatments and solutions to eradicate a dry rot issue.
HOW TO SOLVE A DRY ROT PROBLEM
When it comes to resolving a dry rot issue, the first step is to establish the severity of the problem. A professional dry rot survey from Wise Property Care will identify the full extent of any woodworm infestation in your property even within timbers that are not easily reached.
DO YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP WITH DRY ROT?
If you have noticed fungus, infected timber or a damp musty smell and suspect you might have dry rot, contact Wise Property Care today and speak to our team for help and advice.
Alternatively, contact us online using our contact form below for help, advice or to arrange a property survey. Organise a rot survey and our expert surveyor will be able to recommend the right treatment for you.