What is it?
It’s a destructive fungus that actually eats wood!
Its Latin name is Serpula lacrymans.
How Does a Fungus Survive in Dry Conditions?
It doesn’t: the name is misleading because Dry Rot does depend upon moisture to take hold.
It is called Dry Rot because it can thrive and spread in lower humidity conditions than Wet Rot.
The Bad News
Also, it may sound less of a problem than Wet Rot, but it is actually more serious.
Dry Rot can thrive in lower humidity environments than Wet Rot, hence its name.
Not only that, but while Wet Rot will remain confined to areas of initial infection as long as high humidity persists, Dry Rot can and will travel through and infect mortar, brickwork or even concrete in its search for more damp timber to feed upon. The longer it is left untreated, the more destructive it will become.
The spores for Dry Rot are everywhere around us in the environment.
They don’t usually cause us any problems until or unless they find damp timber to feed upon.
Once they are given sufficient moisture, they 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.
It is one of the most damaging conditions you can get in a property.
This is obviously a problem because weakened timbers detrimentally affect the structural integrity of your home, destroying joists, floorboards and rafters: essentially your roof or floors could collapse.
What Causes Dry Rot
Dry Rot depends on moisture to take hold.
Therefore, any source of water ingress to the home or leakage inside the home will create the conditions for Dry Rot to flourish.
Any of the following could lead to serious problems: A leaking shower tray, bath, sink or toilet, rising or penetrating damp, faulty plumbing: supply or drain pipes, a breach in the roofing, soffits or fascias, gaps in the fitting of doors or windows, voids or cracks in masonry or mortar, especially around the chimney, blocked gutters or leaky downpipes.
Condensation, alongside poor ventilation indoors can provide conditions for Dry Rot without any water ingress from outside at all.
How To Prevent Dry Rot
Always better than cure.
You should inspect or have your property regularly inspected, especially roof space, soffits, fascias, guttering, etc. to identify any blockages, damage or leaks early on.
Prompt treatment will prevent more serious problems arising. Make a habit of visiting the attic space and looking around.
Any water ingress will usually be obvious, even if it happened some time ago.
Any damp patches on walls or ceilings require immediate investigation.
Equally, any cellar spaces should be visited regularly.
If you notice any change in the appearance of joists or other timbers, you need to find the cause.
The most obvious and most often overlooked cause of damp leading to Wet Rot is condensation allied with poor ventilation.
Try to keep your home well ventilated so moisture cannot form damp and start the process of Dry Rot infection.
Symptoms of Dry Rot
The earlier Dry Rot is identified the easier, and more cost effective, treating it becomes.
It is important to differentiate between Wet Rot and Dry Rot in order to apply the correct treatment.
For this reason it is best to use a professional specialist to diagnose the condition accurately.
In brief, Dry Rot presents as a white fluffy, cotton-wool-like mycelium on the surface of timber in more humid conditions.
Later, fruiting bodies develop, like large mushrooms, orange in colour. There is an unpleasant musty, damp odour.
In less humid conditions, the fruiting bodies are mushroom to grey coloured. Ochre spores may be seen on the surface and in the surrounding area.
Treatment of Dry Rot
The first thing to do is treat the source of moisture.
Then, any compromised timber must be removed and replaced with new wood, which must be treated with the appropriate fungicide.
When Dry Rot travels through bricks, mortar and concrete in its search for damp wood to eat, it infects everything in its path.
It is essential therefore to track the route of the Dry Rot in order to sterilise and treat any walls or surfaces it has touched or penetrated.
Speak to A Dry Rot Specialist
If you suspect you may have Wet or Dry Rot in your property then give us a call. LC Joinery, Roofing and Building Work have many years’ experience of dealing with Wet and Dry Rot and all our tradespeople are fully trained and professionally qualified.
Using specialist surveying tools, Wet and Dry Rot can even be surveyed in unexposed areas within a property such as behind walls or below floorboards.
Accreditations and Guarantee
We can fully guarantee any and all work that we do, as we only ever employ fully insured, time-served, qualified, experienced professional tradesmen.
LC Joinery, Roofing and Building Work is a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen, the Federation of Master Builders, the Construction Skills Certificate Scheme, and is a Which? Trusted Trader and a licensed asbestos removal contractor.
We guarantee all our work. We have been in the same permanent premises, with a landline telephone number since 2008, building our reputation as honest, trustworthy dependable builders and we’re not going anywhere.
Our guarantee means something, as our customers know where to find us if we are needed after the job is done.