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What is Dry Rot?

Dry rot is a fungus that attacks timber in buildings. It is the most serious form of timber decay, and can spread rapidly

Dry Rot Fruiting Body

Dry rot fruiting body, a result of rainwater penetration providing the right conditions for dry rot to get a hold within a building.

if not treated. The first evidence of a dry rot outbreak may be a mushroom-like fruiting body or fine grey-white hyphae strands spreading over the wood, which can appear overnight. Other dry rot symptoms include cracking or shrinking of the timber; it becomes dry and brittle, may darken in colour and will crumble at your touch. Characteristic dry rot smells like mushrooms can often be detected through this odour.

Remedial action is urgent if you discover dry rot in your home, and you should contact Peter Cox immediately if you discover the grey-white growth, mushroom-like fruiting body or the red dust of spreading spores indicating dry rot. It is most important to get a survey from our dry rot specialists straight away and proceed accordingly, using our timber preservative treatments to eliminate the dry rot in your home.

What causes dry rot (Serpula lacrymans)?

The true dry rot fungus is the more serious, requiring fast specialist action to avoid extensive damage. It is malignant and grows best in the dark, able to grow under floors or behind panelling, and will spread even through thick walls in search of timber to attack. Affected timber is brown, dry and brittle with cuboidal fractures and can be crumbled by hand.

The dry rot prospers in badly ventilated damp areas or where timber is in contact with damp masonry. It requires over 20% moisture level for spore germination, which spreads the fungus. Fine greyish hyphae strands develop from the spore spreading to form mycelial growth, which varies from grey to pure white in wet conditions. Sporophores or fruiting bodies give off millions of spores in the form of red dust.

The fungus is likely to spread through an entire building and affect timber including floorings and furniture. Dry rot is not likely to be found on timber that is constantly wet, or permanently dry.

What is a suitable dry rot treatment?

Although it is called ‘dry rot’, dampness is a key factor. Poor roofing, leaking gutters, rising damp, water leaks and poor ventilation can all contribute to the problem – so dealing with any sources of moisture is the first action to take.

Timber can be treated with fungicides to prevent infection. Adjacent masonry can also be treated with a biocide.

Infected timbers need to be removed and the full extent of the attack exposed before the preventative treatment for dry rot is put in place.

When is treatment needed?

spore dust from dry rotDry rot is a serious concern that requires experienced and professional technical assistance to achieve an effective long-term solution.

The questions you need to ask about your contractor are:

  • Do they specialise in dry rot and timber treatment?
  • Are they an established business with case studies and references?
  • Are they reasonably local and convenient for you?
  • Do they use quality products?
  • Do they employ surveyors that hold Certificated Surveyor in Remedial Treatments (CSRT) qualifications?

A reputable contractor such as Peter Cox will give you a free consultancy visit, explain the issues and options, and make a clear proposal that is easy to understand.

See our recent projects page for evidence of the success of our dry rot treatment services, or use the form to the right of the page or fill in our homeowners survey to book a survey.

Your Surveyor, Gary Carty was excellent - very helpful,  also the office admin - Tracy Clark Received an excellent service, would always recommend the services of Peter Cox Ltd

, Middlesex
October 8th, 2013