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How to Identify Signs of 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 if not treated. Dry rot can attack all kinds of timber, old or new. A lack of ventilation combined with damp conditions provide the ideal conditions for fungal attack on timber.

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What Causes Dry Rot?

Fungi spores require certain conditions to exist, so certain areas of your property may be more susceptible to dry rot. They include the existence of wood, an oxygen source, moisture and darkness. Because of of this it is often likely to grow behind paneling or floorboards. The optimum conditions for dry rot is damp areas with poor ventilation, as spores in the air will germinate if they land on moist wood.

Once fully grown the fungi will develop strands - effectively like roots - which spread the fungus to other timbers and parts of the building, travelling through masonry and brickwork. Once the fungus has developed its fruiting body (sporophore) it reproduces and releases millions of spores, which with the slightest movement of air, will float off and be available to settle on another piece of damp timber to start the process off all over again.

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How to Identify Dry Rot

There are a number of signals that dry rot is beginning to take hold in structural timber.

  • Fruiting Body - rust coloured plate or bracket shape - can release 30 million spores a day

  • Mycelium - white or gray growth

  • Timbers - becoming dry and brittle

  • Timbers - crumbling to the touch

  • Dark Timbers - rots tend to darken the colour of the wood as they attack it

  • Cuboidal cracking - The cuboidal cracking in dry rot affected timber tends to be quite pronounced with cubes up to 50mm.

  • Malignant spreading - dry rot will spread in search of fresh timber to attack, even through masonry and over steelwork

  • Growth - white, fluffy cotton wool-like growth appearing

  • Smell - a mushroom-like smell lingering 

If you spot any of these signs it could mean you have an outbreak of dry rot in your house. Please contact Peter Cox immediately for a professional survey and find out more about our treatments.


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