Have you been noticing cracks in your timber? Do your floorboards feel weaker? Do you feel movement to timber floors underfoot? If so, the chances are that your home could be at risk of wet rot.
Wet rot is commonly found in timber that has become damp, usually through direct contact with a water source but occasionally through other means. Wet rot includes many different species – one of the most common is a fungus called Coniophora Puteana or Cellar Fungus.
This type of fungus takes refuge in very damp or moist areas of the house and weakens timber, eventually leading it to rot.
In most properties, timber is placed in areas that are usually out of sight, for example, floorboards and behind skirting boards and doors. Therefore, the rot might spread without the property owner even being aware of its existence. Occasionally, you might even find wood underneath plaster surfaces. It can be difficult to identify what wet rot looks like behind plaster but in general, look for signs of damp like bubbles on the surface, discolouration and flaking material. It’s important to act the moment that signs of wet rot or damp are detected as they can eventually cause serious structural damage if left untreated for a long time.
There are two types of wet rot that can occur – brown rot and white rot. Both types can be equally as destructive to timber in different ways.
The fungi responsible for wet rot will only flourish in areas that have a moisture content of more than 50% – which is usually found in bathrooms, basements and kitchens, however, it can also be found in other stale, humid environments like below suspended timber floors.
Left untreated, wet rot can cause serious harm to the property’s structure. Water leaks, poor plumbing and leaking water are all primary reasons for damp, which will, in turn, give rise to wet rot. However, this can be kept under control by conducting regular checks on your gutters, plumbing systems, sub-floor ventilation, and fixing any cracks in the walls that rainwater could seep through.
The first step to fixing wet rot is to halt any known source of water ingress. Once this is achieved, there will be no moisture for the rot to thrive in. The next step involves removing and replacing any structurally damaged timber, if spotted early, the damage and treatment are likely to be minimal. For example, if only a small area is infected with wet rot and no structural damage is caused, then it can be left without the need for chemical treatment or further remedial action.
However, if the damage is severe, then it must be treated accordingly, otherwise, the structure of the building poses a threat of failing. In certain cases, the entire timber will need to be replaced.
At Garratt’s Damp and Timber, we specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of various damp related issues affecting home and business premises in London and nearby Home Counties.
If you require any further assistance in damp proofing your property, then contact us at Garratt’s Damp and Timber and we will gladly organise a survey and offer you bespoke, tailored advice.