The words ‘Dry Rot’ instil fear into the people who have been ignoring a problem and picking ‘mushrooms’ from their joinery and so they should. With the exception of subsidence dry rot is the most insidious problem that can affect a property, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage and sometimes almost total destruction.
What is Dry Rot?
There is only one True Dry Rot Fungus (Serpula lachrymans) and even to the untrained it is not difficult to identify. The first thing you may notice could be horizontal and vertical cracking to joinery timbers. If the skirting boards are affected it’s almost certain that the attack is considerable under the floors. You may have found yourself constantly cleaning away a reddish brown dust from your furniture but this is not dust it is millions of spores trying to spread the attack to other areas. Another thing of course is you may notice a ‘mushroom’ smell which to some people seems pleasant but be assured it’s not; it means the attack is virulent. An attack of Dry Rot can spread undetected under floors and behind plaster for many weeks and when it eventually becomes evident considerable damage has already been done.
Dry Rot is one of nature’s way of tidying up. Its spores are constantly in the atmosphere to decompose and breakdown old timber when it becomes wet. Because it can’t survive with a moisture content of less than 20% it is very important to keep your property well maintained and dry. Locating the cause of the moisture, rectifying the fault and drying the area out should be your first priority prior to carrying out specialist remedial treatment.
In addition to what damage you can see there will be mycelium growing behind the plaster and within the masonry, searching for its food source (timber) to attack. At the heart of the attack there is likely to be a ‘fruiting body’. This is a large reddish brown flat mushroom type fungus which constantly spreads thousands of spores into the air onto other areas. Squeeze it and it will be very wet.
It all sounds quite horrendous; that’s because it is!
What is involved when carrying out a Dry Rot Survey?
It is very important that you don’t consider asking anyone to advise you on an attack of Dry Rot or what remedial treatment is required unless they are a fully qualified timber and damp surveyor and a member of the Property Care Association (PCA). Tapco HomeDry are members of the PCA, Trust Mark and offer Guarantee Protection Insurance (GPI).
Tapco HomeDry have been carrying out Dry Rot Surveys since 1971 and are recognised as one of London, Surrey and Home Counties premier Dry Rot restoration and treatment companies.