Friday, February 03, 2017

What Everybody Ought to Know About Dry Rot

Everyone's heard of dry rot. But what is it actually? What can it cause? Should you be worried? Here we will outline the essential information to know about dry rot in order for you to have the upper hand against this home crumbling fungus. 

“What is dry rot?” 

Dry rot (Serpula Lacryman) is a form of wood decay in which a species of fungi feeds off the goodness and cellulose of structural timber. 

“What does it look like?” 

Like most fungal infections, dry rot is not the easiest on the eyes. However, it is vital for you to identify the Rot early in its life-cycle before the danger exacerbates. Here are some typical indications of dry rot:

Dry brittle timber or cuboidal cracking- caused by the removal of moisture.

Red rust like spore dust typically found in the region of fruiting bodies.

White or grey cotton-wool like substance (mycelium growth)

“Does it pose a danger to mine or my children’s health?”

The spores dry rot produce have the potential to cause respiratory problems if in sufficient quantity, however, it is likely that there would be clear obvious structural implications at this stage.

“Should I be worried?” 

Dry rot is becoming an increasingly widespread problem for homeowners across the United Kingdom. What makes dry rot the most dangerous fungal decay is its ability to penetrate through building materials, devouring your timber and potentially spreading through your property like wildfire! If left untreated the repercussions of dry rot can be catastrophic; as the dry rot spreads to new parts of your property it becomes increasingly difficult to eradicate and can end in property losing its strength and shape.

What makes dry rot even more dangerously unique is its ability to reproduce when it perishes. When doing this it sheds its spores into the atmosphere in a hunt to feed on new timber. 

“How do I get rid of it?” 

 Like any living species dry rot needs three elements to survive:

1.      Food- timber
2.      Water/Moisture -commonly from a leaky pipe, damaged gutters or drainpipe
3.      Air

To eradicate dry rot we can do two things: we can’t extract air around us so we’re left with preventing the water and removing the food source. When a property has dry rot the priority is to remove any infected timber as soon as possible to prohibit the spread.  Once the rot has been located and removed, chemicals need to be sprayed on the timber.

Equally important is to locate the source of water/moisture. Once found, it is essential to stop the leak to ensure rot will not arise again. In some specific cases, ventilation may need to be installed to extract the moisture from the room.

When dealing with such a severe problem as dry rot, it’s always best to leave it to a specialist damp proofing company.  Failure to adequately stop the source of moisture will mean that you are only resolving the issue on a short-term basis, if you want to eradicate dry rot for good then leave it to the experts.

"How will they solve my dry rot problem?” 

If you want to guarantee your home is free from a dry rot attack, there is only one method of dry rot treatment that specialist companies implement. 

1. Initiate primary control measures – identify and eradicate source of moisture, promote rapid drying

2. Initiate secondary control measures – remove infected material, replace/repair and consider engineering methods to isolate structural timbers.

3. Preservative control measures – masonry treatments.

Don’t let dry rot happen. Protect your family. Keep your house dry. Investigate leaks and clear out the gutters. If ever in doubt, specialist damp and timber companies such as Timberwise, can help you with your property care concerns.