What Causes Wet and Dry Rot

You may be surprised to learn that wet timber is a much more serious and common problem than rising damp.

Timber that gets wet under the right conditions (eg: unusually warm weather) can degrade very quickly and can succumb to dry rot.

As most historic London properties have suspended timber floors, a dry rot outbreak can be financially devastating.

Identifying the dry rot and finding the source of your rot problem is key to making sure it is dealt with effectively.

The main cause of rot is moisture in timbers. Wood destroying fungus feed off this moisture and as a result visible signs of dry rot or wet rot damage appear on the affected timber. Wet and Dry rot spores will only develop and take hold of timbers if the environmental conditions are correct.

Penetrating damp and condensation as they are the main causes of excessive moisture within a property, and the main causes of dry rot.

How Rot Develops

Dry rot spores are always present in the atmosphere. Once they land on timber, they will germinate and produce hyphae (fine strands of fungal growth), if in the correct environmental conditions. These hyphae strands join together to form a mass called Mycelium which can vary in colour from grey to pure white, and these strands grow into and across the damp wood. It can also grow into materials such as plaster, mortars, bricks etc… in it’s search more timber.

When the growth is advanced a fruiting body (Sporophore) may develop. This fruiting body takes the form of a “fleshy pancake”, the surface of which is orange/ochre coloured. A large numbers of spores generate from the centre of the fruiting body, under still conditions, and form the red “dust” often visible where there is a significant attack of dry rot.

 For more information: timberspecialist.co.uk

Signs of Dry Rot

Dry rot can be problematic to any property so it is essential that you identify signs of dry rot before further damage is done. If you notice the following then it could indicate a dry rot problem:

  • Distinct mushroom smell
  • White fungal growth with yellow and lilac tinges
  • Deep cracks appear within the wood
  • Both soft and hardwood timbers can be damaged
Image of Dry Rot sporophore
Signs of Wet Rot

Wet rot in timber can cause issues with the structure of a property making it essential that you identify signs of wet rot before further damage is done. If you notice the following you may have a wet rot problem:

  • Distortion, discolouration, softness and cracking
  • Loss of strength to the timber
  • Visible fungal growth – this may sometimes occur
  • Smell – there may be a damp musty smell

If you suspect you may have dry rot or wet rot in your home, please contact us and we can help.

We provide totally honest independent timber surveys.

To contact is please email us at kevin@citydampsurveys.co.uk –  or give us a call.

We will respond with 10 minutes.

Tel 07949763671

We are available from 930am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.

City Damp Surveys

London House

42 Upper Richmond Road West

Putney SW14 8DD