Dry Rot Treatment

How to Identify Dry Rot

Dry rot is a single species and is classed as a type of brown rot that requires only 28% moisture content in wood in order to start growing, further, once established it can still survive dormant with moisture levels as low as 22%. Despite the name of the fungi, it will not materialise when there is no moisture in the environment, although it looks and acts differently from wet rot.

  • Dry rot (Serpula Lacrymans) is a destructive rot that can cause serious structural damage to timber
  • The vegetative (mycelium) part of the fungus exhibits different appearances. Commonly a silvery-grey skin with lilac and yellow colouration or a white, cotton wool-like, carpet which is usually seen in more humid environments
  • The fruiting body is a large, fleshy plate that can grow across timber, masonry and soil. The body appears as reddish-brown, with an outer perimeter of white with orange patches

There are a number of signs that may point to the presence of dry rot in a building, and although there are a few that are similar to the signs of wet rot, some are much more common than others. The differences between dry and wet rot are few and far between, but the correct diagnosis is key as depending on the type of fungal attack the building is suffering from, this will determine the course of action required to address the issue.

Some of the symptoms may include:

  • A musty, damp smell in the room/building
  • Damaged/decaying timber that may also feature grey strands and generally deep cuboidal cracks
  • Patches of spore dust that may appear red, orange or brown
  • Large mushroom-like bodies growing on timber
  • Weak timber that easily crumbles in your hand
  • Movement to floors
  • Sap between skirtings and floors or between architraves and walls

If you notice any of these signs in your building’s structure, you should waste no time in calling in a professional to diagnose and treat the problem area before serious damage sets in. Dry rot left untreated over a prolonged period of time has the potential to damage the timber structure beyond repair, requiring a complete replacement. Misdiagnosing dry rot as a wet rot can be a very expensive mistake!

A dry rot outbreak can also attack neighbouring properties horizontally via party walls, vertically via party wall ceilings, and via floors in flats.

What Causes Dry Rot?

The presence of dry rot spores, individually invisible to the naked eye, is the crucial component for any infestation, but these spores on their own will not result in the spreading of dry rot. For this, the spores must come into contact with moist timber (the timber must be above 28% moisture content) for mushrooms to begin to form.

The main causes of dry rot in a house are:

  • High moisture content in wood allows the fungus to establish itself, usually due to gutter leaks, plumbing leaks, roofing defects and defective drains
  • Poorly ventilated environments where high levels of condensation can occur

Usually, dry rot manifests in an area of the building that can easily be forgotten and poorly ventilated, leaving the humid atmosphere that provides the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and rot. This is why many homeowners feel as though the manifestation of dry rot has almost snuck upon them, with common areas of homes including basements, sub-floors and lofts where dry rot is most common.

In order to treat dry rot, ensuring that the infestation does not return, the overriding issue of dampness in the area must first be addressed. By simply repairing/replacing any affected timber without any other action, sooner or later the dry rot will return and damage the newly repaired timber.

How We Treat Dry Rot

The primary solution to dry rot in timber is to control the environment that is allowing its growth. The cause of the dampness needs to be identified and fixed to remove the source of water.

Poorly ventilated rooms suffering from condensation should be fitted with additional ventilation, such as extractor fans and/or sub-floor vents, which are services offered by our experienced team here at Garratt’s Damp & Timber. It is important that all rooms are allowed to breathe to prohibit the build-up of moisture which can lead to issues such as dry rot, as well as other forms of damp that can be equally as destructive to the building and its foundation.

The next step is to eradicate the rot – removal and replacement of the affected timber and masonry. Any timbers that remain in place will need sterilising in order to completely eradicate any lingering spores that could easily manifest into a fresh dry rot infestation. Irrigation and sterilisation will also be required for any exposed areas where contaminated masonry is removed.

We provide our dry rot treatment in London and the home counties.

What Exactly is Dry Rot?

Dry rot is a type of fungi that attacks timber in order to feed, destroying the cellulose and lignin of the wood in the process. This results in the weakening of the timber and if left unchecked, it can severely weaken the timber’s structural integrity. This may result in full replacement timber being required.

Wood rots can affect all types of building, both old and new. Dry rot in London buildings and properties thrives in damp, moist environments, particularly areas where there is poor ventilation which is common in older buildings and basements. The rot appears as a fleshy ‘fruiting body,’ comprised of vegetative fibrous mycelium. In order for dry rot to form, there must be water/moisture in the atmosphere and a food source (timber).

Spores of dry rot germinate in the pores of the timber, resulting in vegetation that feeds upon the timber before spreading to produce a fruiting body. This fruiting body will release more spores and the cycle will continue.

The timber structure will begin to shrink and crack, become brittle and take on a darker colour. But beware, as these signs are also typical of wet rot. With dry rot, the shrinking of the timber will create cuboidal cracking – the depth of this cracking is greater in dry rot than wet.

Once identified, dry rot should be treated as quickly as possible to prevent further spreading and weakening of the affected timber.

Damp and Dry Rot Treatment Cost

The treatment for dry rot varies depending on the severity of the outbreak. In order for our team to be able to offer a definitive quotation, we would need to be able to inspect the property. If caught early enough, the treatment required will not be as invasive or costly as it might be if spotted further down the line once the outbreak has set in and spread. This is because when left untreated, you may find dry rot in your plaster and masonry, and this will require more extensive treatment.

At Garratt’s Damp & Timber, we offer free surveys where our team of experienced professionals will assess and diagnose the damp problem in your home, offering a no-obligation quotation. We will clearly detail how severe any outbreak is, what work will be required to remove the problem and how long it will take.

Dry Rot Specialists in London

Without proper attention, dry rot can completely ruin your home, so be warned that it can propagate rapidly. Because of this, you should not be willing to take any chances. Here at Garratt’s Damp & Timber, we are a team of dry rot specialists in London who have been tackling similar problems to yours for nearly two decades.

On top of our unrivalled experience and skillset as one of the leading dry rot treatment companies in London, we also offer a 20-year guarantee on all timber treatments, including dry rot. All work is carried out to industry standards, ensuring that once you have called out the Garratt’s Damp & Timber team, your damp problems will be a thing of the past.

For more information on our range of dry rot repair services in London, or to request a free home survey and quotation, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us. You can do so by sending us a message via the contact page or calling us on 0208 535 7536 during office hours.

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