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Woodworm and Wet-Rot are both collective terms: Woodworm is a generic term for wood-boring insects, of which there are several that infest the timber of UK properties, some, weakening and destroying it beyond treatment. Wet Rot results from one of several species of Brown Rot and White Rot Fungus, which cause natural decay and the breakdown of structural strength in damp or wet timber. Unfortunately this group of two evils often come hand-in-hand: when timber becomes wet it decays and as it is decaying, it is often accompanied by one or more species of Woodworm.
What is Wet Rot?
Wet rot is the most common type of rot found in buildings and is a general term covering several varieties of Brown or White Rot fungus. It usually occurs as a result of a building defect that has caused damp to penetrate internally or long term Rising Damp. Timbers that are most vulnerable are those that are build into walls that have become damp. Over time the timber becomes progressively wetter and slowly start to soften and decay and can eventually cause complete floor collapse. It also often affects joinery timbers which are in contact with damp masonry. The problem can be considerably aggravated if the sub-floor ventilation is inadequate or the local water table is high and causing humidity under the floors. Not to be confused with Dry Rot, which is far more serious and invasive, wet rot still needs to be dealt with, before the risk Dry Rot occurs.
Signs that you have Wet Rot
A constant musty or damp smell especially when you first walk into the property, floors ‘springy’ when you walk on them, distorted or cracked joinery timbers and the presence of wood lice or silver fish. If you recognise any of these, they are sure signs you have damp your floors have an attack of Wet Rot Fungus. It is important that it only be surveyed by a Property Care Association (PCA) qualified timber and damp surveyor so call us now or complete our online survey request to arrange.
How we deal with Wet Rot
It will be necessary to source and repair the cause of the moisture ingress. Floorboards will be lifted to locate the extent of the heavily affected and weakened timbers, which are removed and carefully disposed of. The oversite under the floor will be cleared of excess rubble and the sub-floor ventilation will be checked and improved as necessary. The remaining sound timbers are then cleaned and treated using a fungicidal/insecticidal preservative prior to replacing new pre-treated timber, where the old had been removed, in accordance with good building practice. Joinery timbers are replaced with new, to match as closely as possible existing. It is very important to treat Wet Rot as soon as you aware of the problem, in order to prevent the risk of Dry Rot.
An attack of the Wet Rot Fungus (Coniophora Puteana) to the timber wall plate.
An attack of Wet Rot Fungus (Coniophora Puteana) to the floor joists
What is Woodworm?
Woodworm is the collective term for several species of wood-boring insects found affecting timbers in properties. There are four major species of woodworm that cause damage to the softwood timbers of buildings in the UK; Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum) ‘Woodworm’, Powder Post Beetle (Lyctus brunnous) Wood Boring Weevil (Euophryum confine) usually found with Wood Rot and in Surrey and surrounding areas, the very destructive House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus). In addition to these, affecting hardwood we have the Death Watch Beetle (Xestobium rufovollosum) usually found affecting old, damp oak timbers of houses and churches throughout the country. Some cause more rapid damage than other, all need eradicating.
Woodworm, if left untreated, can be highly destructive and ultimately affect the integrity of your property’s structure. Infestations often attack untreated roof and flooring timbers and can spread to other items such as furniture and joinery. The beetles’ grubs (woodworm) bore through the timber, often peppering them with holes as the adult beetles emerge from the wood. Over time, innumerable channels made by the grubs, weaken the tensile strength of the timber, which in extreme cases can cause floors and roofs to collapse and furniture to become brittle and crumble under pressure.
A heavy infestation of Woodworm Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum) to the flooring timbers.
The Signs You Have Woodworm?
Most of us have seen the tiny (bore) holes left by woodworm, which can be found in numerous places to both internal and external timber and furniture. Unfortunately these holes are only made as the adult beetles exit the timber, which is after the damage has been done. You may see some fine powdery dust (‘frass’) near the holes which if clean, together with the size and shape of the hole, will confirm the type of infestation and if it is active. Adult beetles emerge between April and September but treatment can be carried out at any time.
In Surrey and surrounding areas, we often come across the very destructive House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus). This insect’s grub can be as thick as a pencil and 25mm long, rapidly boring up and down the grain of softwood timbers undetected, for up to 14 years. It can cause serious damage to the structure of roof timbers, which if left untreated can collapse – and that will cost thousands of pounds to replace. If your property is in Surrey or surrounding areas and your roof timbers are untreated, we strongly recommend that you instruct us to carry out precautionary preservation treatment, using a high performance insecticide preservative to prevent an infestation by this rapid destruction wood boring insect.
The Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum)
The House Longhorn Beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus)
The Wood Boring Weevil (Pentarthrum huttoni)
The Death Watch Beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum)
How do we treat woodworm?
After identifying the species of woodworm, which is causing the damage, we can treat the affected by area by applying a high performance timber preservative directly onto all surfaces of the wood. As it is absorbed into the wood, it destroys all living woodworm and eggs near the surface. Any insects deep inside the wood will be destroyed as they bore through the treated timber to exit. As it can take between two and five years for beetle larvae to hatch, the eradication could go on for some time. The treatment itself, however, is completely safe and occupation of the treated area is possible after one hour.
If you suspect an infestation of woodworm in your property a Tapco HomeDry qualified timber and damp surveyor will carry out a thorough survey and recommend exactly what is required to eradicate it forever. Should some o the timbers be heavily affected we would carry out every aspect of replacement, in accordance with good building practice. All of our ‘Woodworm’ treatments are covered by our 20 year guarantee, which can be protected by Guarantee Protection Insurance (GPI) Do it Once, Do it Right, call Tapco HomeDry first.
Request a Survey
If you have a problem with woodworm, wet rot or dry rot call us now or use our online form to arrange a survey. Don’t compromise, use Tapco HomeDry.
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.