Dry rot, caused by damp, creates the fungus Serpula lacrymans which can attack the timber of your home. Worryingly, this particularly aggressive fungus can exist invisibly within your home, attacking elements such as flooring and joinery without being noticed until it has caused extensive and costly damage.
Over a short time the affected timbers will lose much if not all of their structural integrity. They will feel moist and spongy to the touch, and may crumble and crack under pressure. At it’s very worst walls and ceilings can fall in. Dry rot has the ability to attack your home unawares and the first sign that something is amiss is often splitting joinery timbers and collapsed floors. By this time basic remedial work may be too late and more aggressive and expensive remedial work and treatment will be required.
As dry rot requires a moisture level of 20% or more to survive, one of the first steps in combating an attack should be to stop the cause of damp and dry out your property. Immediately check for water leaks or other sources of moisture and then heat and ventilate the property. In tight areas where little air movement occurs you may want to consider using a dehumidifier to draw moisture out of the air.
If the wood remains moist, and the fungus proliferates, it can reproduce rapidly. In cases where an attack has gone unnoticed for some time, it’s entirely possible that the dry rot will have produced spores which have, in turn, affected other areas of the home. As a result it is worth checking all household timbers if an attack has been found in one area. This should help to dictate the prime targets for reducing humidity.
Once the moisture is under control, the spread of fungus should slow down. That said, the weaknesses it has caused to your timbers will need to be assessed and resolved. Severely damaged timbers will need to be removed and replaced. The new replacement timbers and those which have not been attacked can then be protected from future attacks by the application of high performance preservatives. It is possible that homes already affected by dry rot can be re-infected as there may be live spores present in the home, ready to germinate if conditions improve. When it comes to treating your home for spores, it should be borne in mind that dry rot fungus can travel effortlessly across other materials in order to find a source of sustenance. That means that it is also often necessary to apply the same chemical treatments to masonry and metalwork to give your home the greatest levels of protection possible.
The long and short of the situation is that dry rot can prove a serious problem for home owners and the sooner that treatment occurs the better. Doing so will maximize the amount of timber that can be saved which in turn will help to keep costs down. It is very important that dry rot remedial treatment is only carried out by a specialist like Tapco HomeDry who are members of the Property Care Association (PCA).
If you’re in any way concerned by the possibilities of dry rot in your home, call Tapco HomeDry for a survey as soon as possible.