Timber is widely used throughout housing structures; however, this material must undergo wood treatment to stop rot. This is one of the primary threats to household timber, and it can present itself in the form of wet rot and dry rot. If you suspect that your home has one of the aforementioned issues, it’s important to distinguish which type of rot it is. This is because each will require a different wood rot repair. So, what is the best wood rot treatment?
What is Wet Rot?
Before we discuss treatments, let's first explore what wood rot, specifically wet rot, is. Wet rot describes various timber-eating fungi that feed on the moisture and nutrients from wood. Though it develops in timber and sustains itself using this, it can also cause decay in carpets, wallpaper, and plaster. Since wet rots feed on wood, they can spread throughout your home and emit spores in search of a fresh, wet wood surface. Compared to dry rot, wet rot is less destructive, but it still needs to be treated as a matter of urgency. This is because it’s still capable of damaging the structural integrity of a building.
Wet rot comes in two forms: white rot and brown rot. White rot occurs when the fungus digests a polymer that bonds the wood’s cells together. As a result, the rot appears white as it strips the cellulose and lignin of their colour. Consequently, the timber will feel spongy to the touch. On the other hand, brown rot feeds solely on the wood’s cellulose as it is unable to digest the lignin. As a result, the colour is generally darker than the wood itself.
Why Does Wet Rot Occur?
Wet rot is caused by excess moisture in timber over an extended period of time, causing the wood to decay and soften. This excess moisture can be caused by condensation, penetrating damp, blocked or leaking gutters, plumbing leaks, and roof defects.
Do You Have Wet Rot?
Diagnosing wet rot isn’t always straightforward as it can be tricky to differentiate between wet and dry rot. If you suspect that you have any form of rot, it’s best to contact our team to give you a professional survey. We’ll be able to tell you with confidence what type of rot your home is suffering from and treat the issue accordingly.
As a rule of thumb, wet rot will result in a musty smell, shrinkage, localised fungus growth, a cracked or crumbly appearance, spongy texture, and a lighter or darker colour than the original timber. Additionally, flaky or damaged paint can be a tell-tale sign of wet rot. A good test for wet rot is to stick a screwdriver into your wood; if it goes in easily, this suggests that you may have a wet rot problem.
How is Wet Rot Treated?
The first port of call for treating wet rot is to locate the moisture source and treat the damp problem. After this, a fungicide will need to be applied via a spray or brush to stop wood rot from reoccurring. Despite this, in particularly extreme cases, it might not be possible to rescue the wood and the affected timbers may need to be replaced.
Do treatment Sprays for Wet Rot Work?
Wood rot treatment sprays can work if the rot is promptly identified and dealt with. You might also apply wet rot wood hardener to ensure that the wood remains strong, even after encountering damage from rot.
Though these products can be purchased by the general public, we recommend bringing in a professional to identify and treat your rot problems. In the absence of a specialist touch, you risk the chance of wet rot not being properly treated and returning. The wood rot repair cost depends on the severity of your issue; we’ll be able to provide you with an accurate quote upon a free site survey.
What is Dry Rot?
Dry rot is the most detrimental form of fungal decay as it attacks timber and digests the parts that provide strength. Unlike wet rot, it doesn’t require moisture to spread as it produces its own moisture from the wood that it digests. This can cause serious problems for your home’s structural integrity.
There are four stages in the lifecycle of dry rot as it’s a living fungus that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. Firstly, dry rot will exist as spores in the air before growing as hyphae on the moist wood surfaces. Next, the hyphae will grow into mycelium which presents itself as a cotton wool-like substance. Finally, the mycelium will evolve into a fruiting body that will appear as a mushroom-like body. Ideally, you should seek treatment before it reaches this stage as the longer the issue goes untreated, the more difficult it will be to eradicate.
Why Does Dry Rot Occur?
Dry rot spores exist in the atmosphere but only present themselves as a problem when they find themselves in damp conditions. This dampness is typically caused by rising damp, poor ventilation, penetrating damp, and leaking downpipes and gutters.
Do You Have Dry Rot?
Typically, you won’t be able to identify dry rot ahead of the mycelium stage. You should search for red dust, mushroom-like fruiting bodies, whitish-grey skin on wood, and fluffy mycelium. Additionally, darker timber, crumbly wood, shrinking timber, and cracking wood are all indicators of dry rot.
How is Dry Rot Treated?
Like with wet rot, you must first locate the moisture source and mend the issue. After this, the extent of the outbreak must be determined by opening the affected area and removing all render and plaster. Upon identifying the extent, the affected timber will need to be cut back, and all spores and fruiting bodies will need to be removed. Similarly, all walls will need to be cleaned of surface growth. After this, your timber will need to be treated with pre-treated timber to prevent infestations.
Do Dry Rot Treatment Sprays Work?
Due to the severity of the issue, wood rot treatment sprays won’t work for the treatment of dry rot. Treatment should be carried out by a professional, and the cost can be determined from one of our free site surveys.
Book a Free Site Survey
If you suspect you have a wood rot problem, please get in touch with us to discuss a free site survey and to find out more about timber rot treatment options.