“Timber decay” are two words you do not want to hear a surveyor say when they are looking over your property. It brings to mind thoughts of extensive repairs and expensive treatments. There must be a better way; a way to prevent timber reaching the point of repair or replace and a way to prevent panicked calls regarding treating woodworm, right?
Thankfully, there are preventative methods that homeowners can take to ensure their home is protected against invasive insects and structure damaging rot – it’s all about moisture.
Causes of Timber Decay
Timber decay can be caused over time as wood increases in age, however, most causes of timber decay occur due to an increase in moisture or damp conditions. Moisture helps the spread of fungal infections like dry rot and encourages nasty mould growth.
Sub-Floor timbers need a dry, well-ventilated environment that is generally provided at ground floor level with adequate sub-floor vents (airbricks). These need to be unobscured and unblocked.
Leaks in roofs or penetrating damp through walls can cause timber decay over time, over-saturating wood fibres with water which offers an attractive place for wood-boring insects to lay their eggs. Damaged wood can also be an attractor for wood-boring insects so ensure structures are safe without any bowing or bending of timber.
Preventing Timber Decay
Any external facing timber should be appropriately treated with waterproof paint or damp-proof membranes to prevent the ingress of water. Pay attention to seams or areas where two materials meet and water could collect. To prevent water on external walls, ensure gutters are cleared of any leaf litter or debris.
Replace inefficient or broken extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens to ensure warm, moist air is sufficiently removed and isn’t allowed to pool on wooden surfaces (like window frames). Consider adding a dehumidifier to problem rooms and ensure to dry any damp surfaces after use.
If your property is prone to condensation issues, consider having further ventilation installed via window vents (cheaper solution) or air bricks (more expensive). Make sure doors stay closed during a bath or shower to prevent moist air moving throughout the property.
Moisture levels of only 20% and above create the perfect environment that leads to timber decay so it’s important to consider how moisture can get around within your property.
Don’t get stuck with expensive home repairs or renovations, by taking preventative measures you should be able to protect your home from the most common types of timber decay. If you believe you’ve got a problem with damp or decay, contact our team on 0208 535 7536 and we can offer you a free survey.