Wood rot is caused by specific fungi which attack damp wood and are able to cause significant damage to its strength and integrity. These fungi break down fibres in the wood and make it brittle and weak by sending microscopic hyphae threads through it. “Dry rot” as a term symbolizes the effect of the condition on the wood – it makes it rot and dries it out. It is actually caused by moisture exposure. The fungi use the existing moisture to spread from wet to dry parts of the wood, potentially causing serious structural damage.

Dry rot, also called brown rot, has the ability to spread really fast through all kinds of obstacles, such as plaster. This particular situation can be really difficult to deal with since it requires removing large plaster covered areas that have wood behind it to get to the source of the dry rot outbreak and then apply appropriate treatment. Brown rot only appears on wet wood, so make sure to check the condition of the surrounding wood as well.

What are the Effects of Dry Rot?

One of the defining features of dry rot is that it can spread very quickly through hidden areas that you don’t normally see, such as wall cracks, masonry cracks, mortar beds, etc. It’s hard to notice, but once detected, our team of experts will prepare a report for you and recommend appropriate treatment.

Dry rot can spread by up to 300mm a month. The actual speed depends on a number of environmental condition surrounding the building. Building wood present in your home has particular nutrients and degree of strength to be able to keep everything together. When struck with dry rot, it becomes dry and brittle, losing those characteristics and posing a serious risk to your home’s integrity.

How to Identify Dry Rot?

Dry rot attacks wet wood only, which is why the name “dry rot” may be confusing to you. It describes the state of the infected wood once it is hit by it.

It’s important to be able to detect dry rot issues before attempting any repairs. It appears and spreads on wood that has been exposed to moisture for a continuous period of time and leaves it dry and weak. As mentioned, it tends to spread in out of sight places, but if you do notice spongy fungal mass on the surface of the wood, you are probably dealing with dry rot.

How to Treat Dry Rot?

Damp is the number one enemy of wood. Basically, any wood piece of your home can be hit by dry rot, such as floors, roof, door trim and even structural timber. The most effective treatment is to remove and replace all rotten wood, but that is not always possible.

When removing the rotten wood completely is a viable option, make sure to remove 2 to 3 of healthy wood as well. This way you ensure you have removed all the bad wood and prevent further spreading of any leftover wood-decaying fungi.

If removing rotten wood is not an option, there are other steps you can take.

The first step is to determine the gravity of the dry rot outbreak. This can rarely be done alone, and it’s recommended that you seek professional assistance to properly assess the damage. A property-wide inspection should be carried away.

There are steps you can take to slow down the momentum of dry rot spread. For example, there is a range of wood preservative products which can do that. However, avoid using fibreglass or other resin-based products.

Construction timber used today normally contains 12-15% moisture. This moisture level doesn’t cause dry rot, and if the construction is designed and carried out properly the risk of infestation is virtually nonexistent. It’s even better if the building has a heating system which will lower the moisture level even further.

Another way to treat dry rot consequences is to use wood filler. Apply a decent wood filler to smooth out the cracks and damaged parts of the wood and let it dry. Afterwards, sand down the rough parts and apply a wood primer. Finish off the job with two or three coats of varnish.

Wood damaged by dry rot can be repaired in most cases, but sometimes a simple repair is not enough, especially if the damage is located on important beams and joins. In these cases, the repair must include complete replacement of the damaged wood. It will be more complicated and costly, but there is no way around it.

Dry rot is a serious condition that can lead to irreparable damage if not addressed properly.

How to Get in Touch with Us?

We will help you get rid of your dry rot problems in a very professional and safe manner, carried out by our qualified technicians. Operating since 1935, our company is a pioneer in eliminating dry rot. The years of experience make us leading experts in the field.

The moment you suspect you have dry rot affecting your home, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and contact us on 01245 678920. You can request a survey of your property, and we at Southern Damp Proofing, will make sure to identify any possible dry rot issues and offer you professional advice on how to proceed.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dry Rot a Fungus?
Yes, dry rot is caused by a fungus that destroys wood. It is called Serpula Lacrymans.
Why Does Dry Rot Occur?
Dry rot will only form and start spreading if the environmental conditions are right for it. If the air is a particular area is constantly damp, and the moisture level is over 20%, there is an increasing change of dry rot infestation.
Why Are the Most Common Causes of Dry Rot?
The most common cause is moisture. There are several sources of moisture in and around any building. For example:

  • Rising Damp
  • Insufficient air circulation in a room
  • Penetrating Damp
  • Leaks from gutters, downpipes, or in the roof.