Something is rotten in this idyllic location
Liskeard is an ancient market town in south east Cornwall and is 14 miles west of the River Tamar which forms the border between Devon and Cornwall. The town has the picturesque fishing village of Looe to the south, stunning moorland views to the north and a population of nearly 9,500 people. Its 19th century prosperity was largely due to the mining industry and today it is a vibrant market town.
Peter Cox South West was asked to examine an infestation of dry rot on a property on New Road in the town. The owners had called in two different builders to deal with the problem but neither had done a very good job and so it was to left our experts to address the problem.
Third time lucky for the property’s owners?
Surveyor Ashley George said: “This end terraced house is situated on a main road and its owners had been plagued by fungal decay to the rear of the reception room. When we came to see them they had been badly let down by other builders and so were naturally keen to see if and how we could end the issue once and for all.”
The team found decay and structural breakdown by Dry Rot (Serpula Lachrymans) to the floor boards and subfloor timbers in the rear ground floor reception room. It is believed the problem had been caused by defective guttering combined with high external ground levels and inadequate subfloor ventilation which had allowed excess moisture to penetrate the building fabric.
This moisture had then been absorbed by the adjacent timbers raising their moisture content to above 20% of their oven-dry weight and this has resulted in the germination of the spores of Dry Rot.
Ashley George said: “Dry Rot spores are ever present and there is nowhere really free of them. The spores grow in timber with a moisture content of between 20 and 30 per cent. The fine fungal thread, known as hyphae, may stick together and become known as mycelia which, depending on where it is, can take a variety of forms.
“They may fill a humid cavity as a cotton wool-like mass, or grow across the surface of the timber as grey-white skin. Active Dry Rot has a fresh white or greyish appearance and can even survive in the mortar layers within masonry and walls and if left untreated can cause quite a lot of damage.
In order to treat the problem in the Liskeard property, our team had to remove skirting’s, carpet, floor boards and all floor joists and subfloor timbers to the rear reception room. They then hacked off wall plaster to the necessary level and applied a surface application to sub-floor areas where we believed dust spores to be.”
We installed new 100mm solid concrete floor on 70mm Thermafloor board insulation and 300Mu DPM on soft sand blinding. All treated wall areas previously plastered had to be re-plastered strictly in accordance with our standard specification incorporating DryWall Salt Retardant Additive. Finally, the chimney breast wall was treated with two coats of Porestop slurry.
Ashley George adds: “Having successfully treated the existing problem it was vital the client addressed the issue of moisture coming into the building which meant fixing the defective guttering and examining the external walls to ensure there were no other areas where moisture and water could enter the property.
“It is always particularly pleasing to be able to sort out a problem that other builders have failed to do over a number of years and we are confident the client has now seen the end of their dry rot infestation.”