What is Dry Rot?
Dry rot is a fatal wood eating fungus called Serpula Lacrymans that can cause widespread structural damage to your property. Dry rot can often be confused with wet rot. However, it is important to identify correctly as if not treated properly, the results could be disastrous for the structural integrity of the property. Dry rot can penetrate through plaster, brick, and mortar to search for more timber to digest.
What causes Dry Rot?
The spores that land on the damp timber and causes dry rot are everywhere in the atmosphere. A dry rot outbreak is caused when the perfect conditions of a moisture content of over 20% and lack of ventilation allow for dry rot spores to germinate and spread. Dry rot can grow within the cracks and cavities within walls by feeding off debris and woods behind the plaster. when dry rot is present, fine strands of fungal growth spread out in search of fresh wood. These strands fuse together to produce a fruiting body mass called Mycelium.
Early signs of Dry Rot
Dry rot can often be difficult to spot early due to often being found in hidden spaces such as under floorboards and in the walls. There are some tell-tale signs of dry rot within a property that will help you identify and treat the infestation.
- Distinct damp mushroom smell. As with all decaying things, a musty smell is produced. Often the smell is the first sign of dry rot that people notice.
- Deep cracks and decay within the wood. Like wet rot, effected timber can be dry and brittle with cuboidal cracks that crumble.
- Web-like grey hyphae strands. Very similar to the appearance of cobwebs, hyphae strands are thick and grey. They spread out in search of fresh timber.
- White fungal growth with yellow tinges. Mycelium fungal growth looks like cotton cushions that can sometimes vary in colour.
- Pancake-like fruiting bodies. This is the final stage in the lifecycle of dry rot. This is when the dry rot can no longer find fresh timber to feed on, causing fresh spores to be released into the atmosphere.
Treating Dry Rot
It is very important to treat dry rot as quickly as possible to save healthy timber from infestation. Due to the serious nature of dry rot, it is advisable that you get a qualified specialist to carry out a dry rot survey to scope out the full extent of the outbreak. Firstly, the source of moisture must be eradicated and allowed to dry out. The infected wood and materials will then need to be removed and replaced with dry rot treated timber. Improved ventilation along with dry rot treatment will prevent further germination.
Health risks of Dry Rot
Dry rot spores on their own have a considerably low health risk. However, it’s presence indicate a serious damp problem that can trigger respiratory problems in children, the elderly, or those with pre-existing health problems.
We here at Abbots are highly skilled experts at identifying and treating dry rot. If you think you could have dry rot in your property or have any dry rot queries, contact us for advice and a free estimate today.
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