Damp Proofing Wet Rot

When we consider any building, regardless of its age, any timber decay within the building is often caused by rot. Wood rot can show up in two very common forms: dry rot and wet rot, both resulting from fungal decay suffered by building timbers.

How do we identify wet rot?

Wet rot is the most commonly experienced form of timber rot seen in buildings. The phrase wet rot represents a generic definition that covers various types of White or Brown Rot fungus. Wet rot most commonly shows up owing to a possible defect in building construction; it can also be caused by a long-term form of Rising Damp.

Your construction may require you to build timbers into walls. Alternately, you may allow timbers to be within touching distance of damp masonry. In both instances, such timbers are most likely to suffer wet rot. In simple terms, wet rot implies a form of naturally decaying timber, wherein such decay is caused by a high level of moisture. Virtually every kind of timber in a home can be affected by wet rot; so, unless you are an expert, you may not be able to identify it. You must not, however, confuse wet rot with the entirely different dry rot, which is a much more serious form of timber decay.

Damp Proofing Can Help Prevent

  • Rising / Penetrating Damp
  • Ingress of Water
  • Salt Crystallization
  • Plaster Breakdown
  • Damp Staining
  • Wet Rot / Dry Rot

How is Wet Rot Caused?

Moist timber is the main reason for the condition. Such moisture gives rise to a form of fungus that destroys wood. Consequently, signs of damage done by wet rot or dry rot are seen on the decaying timber. Development of Dry and Wet rot spores can transpire only in certain environmental conditions, such as damp in your home, in addition to a relative absence of ventilation.

But how does wet rot differ from the dry type? The difference is in the amount of moisture needed for their respective growth: wet rot needs greater moist conditions than does dry rot. Such high moisture content could result from various sources including stone pointing, downpipes, gutters, and defective plumbing. Excess moisture that permeates timber gives rise to the germination and growth of fungal spores, leading to weakening of the timber.

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How Can We Foresee Wet Rot?

When we try to foresee wet rot, we must acknowledge that the decay can occur in not so conspicuous areas of your home, such as, for instance, beneath the flooring, behind a staircase, or in your loft. Deciding whether the fungus causing wood rot in your home is dry rot or wet rot can be particularly hard. Given that wet rot occurs in hidden areas of your property, the problem is often found only after it has become a much bigger issue.

The similarity of symptoms that cause either dry rot or wet rot adds to the difficulty of foreseeing wet rot. A trained professional will be able to tell dry rot and wet rot apart, owing to the differences in the colour of rotting timber. As wet rot continues to grow, professionals can also discern a difference in the type and size of cracking exhibited by the form of decay. Wet rot may be accompanied by a constant musty or damp smell one can discern when one walks into a room.

Other signs are springy floors, and cracked or disjointed joinery timbers, in addition to the incidence of silverfish or woodlice. All these signs point to a problem of damp and the consequent rotting of floors. You would need to lift the floorboards and look at the timbers beneath. Call Southern Damp Proofing to set up a survey.

What Signs Tell Us It’s Wet Rot?

  • Localised fungal growth on timber
  • Soft, spongy feel of timber; the affected area appearing darker than the surrounding timber
  • Crumbling of affected dry timber into particles   
  • Shrinking timber
  • Bleaching wood in window and door frames
  • Flaky or damaged paint.  If a knife pushed into painted timber goes in right up to its handle, that’s a certain indication of rot
  • A musty damp smell
  • In the absence of obvious fungus, we can differentiate Wet Rot from the Dry form of Rot by observing the differences in the timber colour, and the type and size of cracking seen on the timber with the progression of either type of rot

If you detect one of the above-described conditions in your home, call a specialist to begin the treatment.

What to Do After We Detect Wet Rot?

You would need to engage a damp expert to treat wet rot, ensuring that the problem does not recur.

What effect can wet rot have?

If you fail to treat wet rot, the timber will be weakened and, in certain cases, will prove a threat to the safety of residents in the home. The minimal effect that wet rot can have on your property could be in the form of a chipboard floor that gets squishy. It would be manageable if uncomfortable.

An extreme deleterious effect could imply that critical structural timbers may lose their structural integrity when timber has been exposed to moisture over a length of time when such timber is usually at about ground level, or near a damp wall. The timber could also get wet because of some form of seepage of water. When rot sets in, the timber becomes spongy and soft, and caves in when you prod it with a sharp edge such as a knife or screwdriver. The timber which displays cracks along its grain is generally found to be damp.

If you wish to seek any information about treating wet rot, call 020 7971 1329, and let Southern Damp Proofing help you.

How Do We Treat Wet Rot?

Typically, wet rot occurs only in locations where timber has been exposed to moisture and where the wood continues to be damp.

However, when we treat wet rot, we do not just fix the damage caused by it. The problem must be treated at its source. Find out where the water is meeting the wood and prevent such damp from recurring in the future and ensure that there is no reappearance of the timber rot.

Hence, the ideal solution for wet rot would require you to know why the damp occurred and avoid repetition of such causes of dampness. You may also choose to ensure isolation of the wood from the reasons for dampness before you begin the treatment of the areas affected by moisture. While you should refrain from confusing wet rot with the much more serious wood condition of dry rot, wet rot could potentially cause your property to suffer substantial harm.

Damp timber is attacked by wet rot; consequently, wet rot commonly results in structural defects, especially when you fail to identify and treat it in time. Treating rot should be left to expert professionals who can deliver a holistic solution. Delay in treatment can result in a compounded increase in the treatment cost.

When you observe the development of fungi growth or hyphae strands, you would need to use a potent fungicide to irrigate the area selectively in order to trace and sterilise such growth. You would need to remove and burn any affected timber or discarded material found in voids under the floor. You must also have removed and disposed of any contaminated plaster, subjected to such contamination by strands among other causes. You must use a suitable fungicidal preparation to treat affected timbers.

You are best off if you engage the services of a specialist team of experts, such as our team at Southern Damp Proofing. They have the necessary know-how to treat wet rot. We waste no time in identifying the reason for dampness as well as in finding out which areas have been damaged. If you wonder how to begin to treat your wet rot problems, don’t wait any longer. Pick up your phone and call us on 020 7971 1329.

You can also choose to contact us by clicking on the let’s chat” button on our website. Alternately, you could visit our office and seek counselling or the setting up of a survey of your wet rot problem by our team at Southern Damp Proofing who are waiting to help you take good care of your property.

How to Treat the Problem of Wet Rot?

As is the case of the majority of property related issues, the longer you put off acting on a persistent problem, the worse it is likely to get. Your wet rot problem is no different. If you can identify the presence of the fungal rot early, you could end up treating it when such treatment can be confined to a small area of timber. In more severe cases, where wet rot has spread its tentacles across the breadth of your timber, you may have to replace entire timbers.

Treating wet rot involves a series of steps. The treatment of any fungus-related problem involving timbers must begin by preventing the timber from getting damp. If there is a seepage of water into your home or timber, regardless of whether the cause is broken guttering, condensation, or anything else, you must necessarily locate the water seeping in and prevent any continuation of such leakage.

Our timber surveyors are experts in the subject of rots. Our timber and damp surveys are devised to ensure identification of the fungal rot and crucially the underlying reasons for the problem. Rot does not affect dry wood. If your building timber is afflicted by rot, the high levels of moisture must be the result of a strong cause. We approach the problem of timber decay in a holistic manner. We attack the problem at its root; that’s the way to find a permanent solution.

Builders and contractors without sufficient expertise in the matter have tended to use the mere replacement of the decayed wood to treat wet rot. Thereafter, such treatment has involved the spraying of chemical preservatives in the affected area. Such an approach is assured of failure. While some continue to treat wet rot using similar methods, such treatment is thankfully becoming less popular. These days, people have access to a lot of free information on the Internet. Informed consumers will more likely cast doubt on recommended treatment that neglects proper diagnosis of reasons for the problem. We intend to help consumers with the information they need in order to be able to engage the right people to treat their issues related to wet rot or to provide any other timber-related services from.

If you harbour the slightest suspicion that you could be facing a wet rot problem in your property, our team at Southern Damp Proofing is ever ready to help you identify, remove and treat it.

How to prevent wet rot?

If you use wood in areas affected by damp, you must work to preserve the wood in order to prevent the timber from decaying. Areas most affected by damp include sills, window boxes, fence posts, timbers that touch brickwork but have not subjected to damp proofing, timber that touches silage and manure in farms, and any timber used in river or marine piling, or in the construction of bridges.

There are wood hardeners for use on timber affected by wet rot. The wood gains strength after the hardeners soak into it. Window frames and doors are ideal objects to receive treatment with these products.

Talk To Our Experts

If you seek further counselling to help you select the treatment of wood rot that would best serve your need, don’t hesitate. Pick up your phone and call 020 7971 1329 to talk to a technical advisor at Southern Damp Proofing. You can also choose to refer to our guide to learn ways to identify wet rot and dry rot.

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For Top Quality Damp Treatments

Information about London

FAQ’s

Is there a DIY treatment solution?
Wet rot problems are not easy for property owners to fix on their own. We at Southern Damp Proofing would advise you to seek professional help from an expert to fix wet rot problems in your property. The treatment would require you to find why the timber in your building is exposed to moisture. The need to get to the root of the problem is best addressed by a trained professional.
How Much Will Treating Wet Rot Cost?
The treatment cost can vary, as there are differences in each property and its wet rot problem. Thus, each wet rot problem may need a different kind of treatment. We at Southern Damp Proofing invite property owners to complete a survey regarding wet rot on our website, and we can send our expert professional to visit your home for an inspection. Based on the findings, we can furnish you with an accurate estimate of the treatment cost.
Can Wet Rot Cause Health Problems?
Empirical evidence shows that in all but 2% of cases where wet rot was discovered on properties,
was no potential risk to health. However, when there is a severe wet rot-related problem in a property, respiratory issues can be caused by wet rot-induced spores among the elderly, people with other health issues, and children. The healthy outlook of your property is another matter and calls for property owners to focus on keeping timber inside your property healthy.
How do Dry Rot and Wet Rot Differ?
Although it is not easy to differentiate between dry and wet types of rot, some key features can help determine the differences. For wet rot to thrive, it needs greater moisture content, in the range of about 50%, while dry rot germinates when there is a lower moisture content ranging between 20% and 30%.
Dry rot can do greater damage than wet rot. This is attributable to two reasons. Firstly, dry rot needs a lower degree of moisture to help it grow. Secondly, dry rot usually occurs in places that are not readily visible.
How does Wet Rot happen?
Wood that becomes damp is affected by wet rot, as suggested by the term. The reasons for the presence of wet wood could be excessive moisture resulting from the presence of water in the vicinity of your property, combined with the incidence of longer-term contact of such moisture with timber.
Is Wet Rot Capable of Spreading?
While dry rot can spread, wet rot will not. But leaving it untreated could cause you’re the structure of your property to suffer serious damage. With wet rot, there is no possibility of its spreading via the masonry. When you remove moisture, you can ensure the end of the fungal rot: hence, you need to treat the problem at its root in order to find a permanent solution.
Where can we commonly find wet rot?
Timbers bordering windows, roofs, and cellars are the most common locations.
Is wet rot smelly?
We associate wet rot with a musty and damp odour, an earthy smell akin to rotting soil. In fact, wet rot can be more odorous than the dry type of rot.