Welcome to our A – Z guide to dry rot. You may have heard of it and you may even think your home or place of work is suffering from it, but it’s likely something that many people don’t know a lot about.
So to help shed some light on dry rot and the many misconceptions surrounding it we present part one of our A – Z guide.
A is for Anti-Freeze
Yes it’s been disputed and argued a lot but antifreeze can be used as a very temporary measure to ‘hold’ dry rot before organising correct treatment – although this is only true in the case of Ethylene Glycol based antifreeze. The more common Propylene Glycol Antifreeze (also known as non-toxic anti-freeze) is not an effective treatment for dry rot so don’t attempt to use it. Once ‘held’ by the temporary treatment contact the experts Peter Cox
B is for Brown Rot
Brown rot and dry rot have an interesting history. In the 18th century, brown rot was referred to as dry rot, because when it was discovered in the timber of ships it was thought to have been caused by internal fermentations instead of being caused by water.
Brown rot continued to be referred to as dry rot throughout the 19th century but over time dry rot eventually became the name given to one particular variant of wood decaying fungus because of its relatively ‘dry’ environment in which it exists. The Latin name for Dry Rot is Serpula lacrymans.
C is for Condensation
Condensation – yep it causes all sorts of problems doesn’t it? And yes it can be one of the main causes of dry rot too, particularly in poorly ventilated spaces like under floors and behind panels. So it’s something you should try to manage if you want to avoid dry rot.
D is for Damp and Dry Rot
Damp is the presence of unwanted moisture and while there are many forms of damp, you can already see how damp and dry rot are related. All wood decaying fungus needs a minimum amount of moisture before decay can begin.
The dry rot fungus is no different, although it was for a time incorrectly thought that dry rot didn’t need a source of moisture to grow. This isn’t true, although dry rot doesn’t need a lot of moisture to form.
E is for Epoxy Resin
An epoxy resin repair is a style of treatment that uses a ‘resin’ and a ‘hardener’ component which when cured form a strong bond to strengthen the wood. These epoxy treatments can be used to repair timbers affected by dry rot. Typically they are used on large joists or beams where only the end of the beam is rotten with Dry Rot.
F is for Fungi
Dry rot is of course a fungi. The dry rot fungi has four main stages to its life cycle and once it starts to grow it can be very difficult to get rid of. The dry rot fungi works by digesting the parts of the wood that give it its strength and stiffness.
G is for Guarantees
Many guarantees against dry rot are of questionable value for home owners or people renting homes because they are very difficult to enforce. The argument over the value of guarantees against dry rot have also been brought up in the UK court of appeals.
H is for Hyphae
A hyphae is second stage of the dry rot fungi’s life cycle. It is produced when the dry rot spores begin to grow and start developing thin white strands. These white strands of the hyphae allow the dry rot to grow further and faster and start to break down the strength and stiffness of the timber.
I is for Inactive
The spores of dry rot fungi remain inactive in the air until they come in contact with enough moisture to germinate and start attacking the timber. These spores are around almost everywhere in the atmosphere, so almost any place with enough moisture and a wood source is at risk.
J is for John Chapman
John Chapman was an English born comedy writer and one of his most famous works was the comedy play Dry Rot. In 1965 the play was adapted for a feature length film that follows the same plot of the play.
Despite its name dry rot doesn’t have much to the do with the overall plot, though it is an important part of a running gag throughout the story – which involves many of the characters being caught unaware by the wooden hotel stairs that have been affected by dry rot.
K is for Killer
OK, we’re cheating a little with K, but the term dry rot killer is a label you’re sure to see if you ever search advice forums or websites about dry rot. It’s the generic name given to a variety of different dry rot treatments.
L is for Life Cycle
The life cycle of the dry rot fungi has four stages. The further along the dry rot fungi gets in its life circle, the more difficult it will be to treat. The first stage is a spore, the second is a hyphae, the third is the mycelium and the fourth and final is the fruiting body. The fruiting body produces more spores and the cycle continues in this manner.
Read more about our dry rot treatment services.