Dry rot can affect your timber in a very damaging way. You may be shocked to hear that dry rot fungus can attack the timber structures in your property whilst remaining undetected. It often occurs where you’re not looking. This can be behind the plaster, under your floorboards or even in your loft. This is why it’s very important to know the signs and symptoms of dry rot.
Fungal decay is the main factor in dry rot. The term “dry rot” is used to distinguish between a rot in “wet wood” and “dry wood”. Dry rot feeds off wet timber. If your timber is wetter than is recommended, dry rot can manifest. Usually, your timber will need to be over 30% wet for fungal decay to occur.
When fungus manifests, there is a solution. However, even though it needs above 30% wetness for fungal spores to produce hyphae after this, these hyphae only need 20% wetness to survive. These hyphae will develop into a fungal body which is called a mycelium, which can also spread to stone and brick in order to find more timber. This colony of fungal spore will cause “brown rot decay”. This fungus will extract hemicellulose, cellulose, and H2O from your timber, only leaving a “skeleton” structure. This fungal decay will crack your timber, causing a square pattern, and will also make it browner.
The structural integrity of your timber will be attacked, eventually causing it to crumble. In extreme circumstances, this can cause different sections of your home to fall apart. This rot, however, does not attack your brick or stone, it only travels across it. As well as this, dry rot can be across your walls for months or even years before appearing. This is why regular checks are important. Dry rot is a very serious issue, which needs immediate maintenance and treatment. It is extremely destructive to your home and can spread far and wide. If you think you might have a problem with dry rot, you can get a survey from Southern Damp Proofing damp proofing solutions today.
What are the causes of dry rot?
The specific cause of dry rot is by many species of fungi. In the UK the most common is Serpula lacrymans. If it is not managed soon enough, it will spread across your home and brick and stone, and even plaster. This will affect your timbers integrity, and therefore the structural integrity of your entire house.
Dry rot attacks when you have an unhealthy amount of moisture in your timber. This will attract the fungus that will use this moisture to extract nutrients. If there are a variety of environmental conditions, such as your wood being wet, dry rot spores can easily develop.
You will need a specialist survey in order to distinguish whether your decaying timber is being caused by dry rot or by a different fungus. This is just as the treatments for these damages will differ depending on the exact cause.
Damp Proofing Can Help Prevent
- Rising / Penetrating Damp
- Ingress of Water
- Salt Crystallization
- Plaster Breakdown
- Damp Staining
- Wet Rot / Dry Rot
How do I know the signs of dry rot?
You will need to know the signs and symptoms of dry rot so you can see it as soon as you can. The earlier you discover dry rot, the less time and money you’ll need to spend treating it. If you see any of the signs and symptoms listed below, a full assessment is recommended.
Your timber is damaged
When dry rot is affecting your timber, it will become brittle and dry. This will sometimes even cause your timber to crumble. You will also notice the dry rot darkening the colour of your wood. Specifically, dry rot can cause something called cuboidal cracking. Cuboidal cracking is when timber breaks up into cubes that are around 50 mm in width. This damaged timber will also often have hyphae, the white fungal growth. Hyphae can look like cobwebs and is a massive symptom of dry rot.
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Your timber will smell
If your timber is affected by dry rot, it will have a damp, fungal, dank and musty odour. This can happen even if you can’t see the outbreak of dry rot. Just because there is a smell, however, does not mean that dry rot is present. The smell will show that there is dampness in your timber; but dampness can lead to dry rot at a later point.
Your timber will have fruiting bodies on it
This is the final stage of dry rot and the most noticeable. Mushroom-like fruiting bodies can start attaching themselves to your timber. They happen when dry rot can’t feed on the timber anymore, and so the fungus needs to pump spores out instead.
Your timber will have spore dust
Spores related to dry rot do not just occur in timber affected by dry rot. Yet, if dry rot spores are accompanied by splotches of rusty coloured dust, it can be indicative of dry rot. This spore dust is released by fruiting bodies in the last stage of the dry rot cycle.
The beginning of the dry rot cycle
Spores for dry rot are carried across the wind. If they are carried onto timber, they will begin to feed on it. When they feed on it they will then germinate and create hyphae, if the timber is giving them enough nutrients to do so. As these hyphae grow and feed, they will join up into a spiderweb-looking collection called mycelium. Mycelium can be light grey to pure white. This mycelium can also stretch into your mortars, bricks and plaster in order to try and reach more timber.
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What are the effects of dry rot?
The biggest problem with dry rot is that it can attack your home’s structural integrity. Small issues can include smell, look, and the feel of timber. It will also affect how easily you will be able to sell your home.
Your personal health
It is not the fungus that causes dry rot that is harmful. Yet, if the conditions in the home allow dry rot to occur, these environmental conditions can be harmful to your health. This is especially hazardous to the elderly, children and anyone with respiratory conditions such as asthma.
How do you treat dry rot in timber?
In order to treat dry rot, first of all, you will need to get in touch with a specialist. They will be able to assist you with removing any infected timber. The reason it is so important to have specialist help is that removing this timber can cause an issue with structural integrity. Also, a specialist will know whether or not you need a chemical-based treatment which can help with a less intense dry rot problems.
The way a specialist will treat your dry rot will vary, as there are a lot of different ways for them to work. There are treatments that will be placed inside the timber, and ones that are used to coat the surface of the timber. Also, you can use many different treatments for dry rot in an attempt to prevent a recurrence. Different amounts or concentrations of Boron gel can both treat dry rot, and also serve to prevent it.
A specialist can also inject and implement Boron rods into your timber. These rods will be installed where holes have been drilled. In a more severe case, if there is also an infestation with insects such as cockroaches, you can also treat dry rot with Boracol. This is a mixture of Boron and Glycol. When the treatment is complete, in order to further protect your home from any other issues with dry rot, you yourself can use a special dry rot repellent paint. This contains a special emulsion which will be able to prevent any remaining dry rot from spreading. It can be applied to timber, bricks, mortar, masonry or even plaster.
Boron can be a hazardous material, so it’s always best to wear the correct protective clothing if you were assisting with the treatment process. It is also best to keep anyone vulnerable, such as your children, from assisting with treatment. There are some things you can do yourself; however, the majority of the treatment process needs to be done by an expert. With our specialist team at damp proofing, we will be able to find any issues with dry rot and assess the extent of the issue. This means we’ll be able to implement our treatment process in a way that suits your problem the most. We’re also highly trained and we’ll be able to handle a biocide properly, keeping you much safer.
Dry rots can be a severe issue and needs to be treated right away. If dry rot is not treated right away, it will grow and cause some real damages. This means over time your home’s structural integrity will diminish. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you think you have a problem with dry rot, call 020 7971 1329 for a free survey, and for effective treatment today.
How can you prevent drive rot damages?
Because of the moist conditions required for dry rot fungus to feed and germinates, the best way to reduce the risk of dry rot is to minimize moisture levels. For example, if you have a pipe that is leaking, plugging the leak can help prevent dry rot. Another way is swapping soil out for gravel, as any timber that is in contact with soil can also gain a dry rot problem.
Boric acid can also be an effective fungicide that will instantly be able to treat and kill a fungus problem. This is especially helpful if you can’t minimize your moisture levels. Boric acid can also fend off damage from insects. You can treat wood with boric acid at any stage, including construction, repair or as a treatment if the fungus has taken over your timber.
Boric acid will usually be applied in a liquid state. However, if there is water or liquid on your timber, Boric acid has to be fused as it is soluble. So, if you have a log home that is exposed to the elements, fused Boric acid can help with this.
Get a specialist today
An expert will be able to assess your dry rot problem and see the extent it has grown. This will make them able to give recommendations and impartial advice on which type of treatment you will need.
All of our surveyors are fully qualified and will be able to identify everything about your dry rot situation, including the solution, and give you the cost for repair. As our experts are fully trained and qualified, they will be able to undertake the treatment in the safest way possible.
Dry rot in its nature gets worse over time, so if you think you have a problem it is important to contact us right away. You can call 020 7971 1329 and Southern Damp Proofing services will be able to help you with your dry rot problem. You can also email us or visit us to arrange a survey.
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This also means that groups of fungus can spread across many materials. If dry rot is spreading across masonry and plaster, and if it reaches more timber to feed off where the timber is moist. It will be able to spread further.
Dry rot fungus needs five things in order to survive: the right temperature, drive rot spores, moisture, oxygen, and the food source. Most of this is present in any home in the UK in some capacity.