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Dry rot is a type of fungus that attacks the timbers within a building and is the most serious form of timber decay that can spread quickly through a property.
If the condition is left untreated, the first thing you may notice are mushroom-like fruiting bodies or fine grey-white hyphae strands that appear across wood – these appear quickly and can emerge overnight. Other symptoms that might indicate dry rot include the cracking or shrinking of timbers resulting in them becoming dry or brittle. The wood may also darken in colour and even crumble when you touch it. You can sometimes smell the dry rot, which smells a lot like mushrooms.
Should you notice any signs that may indicate a dry rot problem, you should get in touch with Tapco HomeDry immediately. Those mushroom-like fruiting bodies can also be paired with a red dust and this is a sign of the spores being spread. This means that it is crucial to get a survey quickly to see the extent of the problem and then look to have timber preservative treatments used to stop the dry rot before it spreads to other parts of your home.
What causes dry rot (Serpula lacrymans)?
True dry rot is called Serpula lacrymans and is the most serious type of dry rot, require fast and specialist action to prevent it spreading. It is a very malignant fungus that grows in the dark, so can grow under floors, behind panelling and even spread through thick walls to find timber to attack. The affected timbers are brown and dry, brittle to the touch with cuboidal fractures – it will crumble in your hand when you touch it.
Dry rot grows in areas that are badly ventilated or where timber has come into contact with damp masonry. It needs at least 20% moisture levels for the spores to germinate and then spread the fungus to other areas. Those fine, greyish hyphae strands develop when the spores spread to form mycelial growth. This can be grey or white in wet conditions. Sporophores or fruiting bodies can give off millions of spores and they appear to be a red dust that coats everything.
Another problem with the fungus is that it can spread through the whole of a building and effect all types of timber including flooring and furniture. It is less likely to be found on timber that is constantly wet or permanently dry.
What is a suitable dry rot treatment?
While the condition might be called ‘dry’ rot, dampness is the key to it. Poor roofing or leaking gutters, rising damp or bad ventilation, these can all add to the problem so the first step in dealing with the infestation is to deal with the sources of moisture.
Timber can be treated with fungicides to stop the infection while neighbouring masonry can be treated with a biocide. Infected timbers should be removed and the full extent of the infestation uncovered before the preventative treatment can be used.
There are also some signs that appear on the outside of the property that might indicate a problem with damp inside. These include watermarks or moss on walls near rainwater goods or salt stains and crumbling mortar.
When is treatment needed?
Dry rot is a very serious condition that needs expert handling and professional technical assistance to remove and prevent reoccurrence. When you are considering a company to deal with this kind of problem, there are a few basic questions you should ask:
Are they specialists in dealing with dry rot and its treatment?
Are they an established business with case studies of previous treatments?
Do they use quality, proven products?
Do they use surveyors that are Certificated Surveyors in Remedial Treatments (CSRT) qualifications?
Here at Tapco HomeDry, we can answer affirmatively to all of these questions and also offer a free consultancy to go through the options and problems your home is facing.
That way you have a clear picture of the issues and what we will do to remedy them.
Request a Survey
If you have issues with damp, get in touch to seek advice, by calling us free, or request a survey by using our online form.
Tapco HomeDry based in Surrey, is one of London and the Home Counties most established and reputable damp-proofing, wood-rot and property preservation companies. We are long term members of the Property Care Association (PCA), Trust Mark (Government Endorsed Standards), the Guarantee Protection Insurance (GPI), and an accredited Which? Trusted trader, providing thorough, professional surveys for both commercial and domestic properties. For pre-purchase surveys we are the all-inclusive property preservation experts, providing solutions for damp, from the roof to the drains.