The Bad News, the Scary Stuff and the Good News.
We need to be frank: Wet Rot is bad news. It smells, it’s unsightly and it is slowly eating away at the timbers of your property.
You can’t just leave it and hope it goes away: like a degenerative medical condition, it will just get slowly worse.
How Is Wet Rot Caused?
It’s caused by moisture ingress: water getting to the timbers of your property. External causes can include blocked guttering, broken or missing roof tiles, cracked or damaged masonry, mortar or downpipes for example. But the cause could equally be inside your home: leaking pipes or even poor ventilation can cause condensation that soaks through the fabric of your home.
It often presents as a black or dark brown sheet and the timber affected will be soft, even crumbly in advanced cases.
As if the smell and the ugly appearance were not bad enough, Wet Rot will decay the timbers of your property, leading to structural damage.
Wet Rot is a fungus that thrives on moisture and basically eats timber, sending out long roots to penetrate beams and break down the cellulose of the wood.
For the technically minded, the Latin name of the most usual variety is Coniophora puteana, or more commonly, cellar fungus.
Despite its name, it can and does occur anywhere in the house, including roof spaces, where the right conditions prevail: excess moisture and available timber to feed upon.
It loves warm weather, although it will continue to grow, albeit more slowly in cold weather. This year’s long, warm, wet summer has created the ideal conditions for the fungus to flourish.
In some cases, the decay of your timber can spread, for example in roof spaces or around soffits and fascias, to create more opportunities for water to come in.
More moisture means more Wet Rot. You’re now in a downward spiral where the damage to your property is going from bad to serious to critical.
Wet Rot itself is not a major cause of health problems, but it is caused and maintained by damp, which elevates the risk of conditions such as respiratory illness and arthritis.
Damp conditions also favour the rapid multiplication of microbes such as bacteria, as well as insects.
Always better than cure.
You should 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 poor ventilation.
The Good News
Although we have compared Wet Rot to a degenerative medical condition that just gets worse, the good news is that Wet Rot is generally treatable, and your property can make a full recovery, as good as new!
It is more easily treatable than Dry Rot, which sounds less of a threat but is actually a more serious problem.
This is because, as soon as the source of moisture is removed, the Wet Rot stops. It can only affect timber that remains wet, although you must treat and usually replace affected timber.
Wet Rot – Remedial Action
Treatment is typically threefold:
1. Identify the source of the moisture and fix the problem.
2. Dry out the area and replace rotten timber
3. Treat the area with Boron or other appropriate fungicide and timber preservative, to prevent Dry Rot taking advantage to invade the compromised area.
If you suspect you have a wet rot problem, then get in contact with us today for a free survey and quote.
LC Joinery, Roofing and Building Work have many years’ experience of dealing with Wet Rot and all our tradespeople are fully trained and professionally qualified.
Using specialist surveying tools, wet rot can be surveyed in unexposed areas within a property such as behind walls or below floorboards.
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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.