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Wet Rot, Dry Rot and Woodworm

Timber can suffer and decay if not treated

What is Wet Rot?

Wet rot is the term given when a fungus spreads throughout wet timber, there are a number of types of fungi that feed off the high moisture content in the wood. Wet rot causes distortion, discolouration, softness, cracking and the loss of strength to the timber. Sometimes there is a damp musty smell and in some instances there may be visible fungal growth which is largely black and usually localised. Timber suffering from wet rot will feel spongy (even through a coat of paint) and look darker than the surrounding timber. When dry, the timber will easily crack and crumble into fine particles. Ususally the wetness in the timber will come from damp issues in the building itself and this needs to be cured to stem further wet rot

What is Dry Rot?

Dry rot is the most serious form of timber decay in a building and requires over 20% moisture level for spore germination. It is a fungus that destroys wood and eventually reduces timber to a dry crumbly consistency. It thrives in moist unventilated conditions and can occur in the areas of a property that are not often seen, so damage may be extensive before the attack is discovered. Damage is often confined to timber but large flat mushroom-like fruiting bodies can easily grow through finishes such as brickwork, plaster or paint. Dry rot is difficult to contain, it can spread easily throughout a building and can in cases lead to its collapse. Contact us or a structural surveyor if you think you may have this.

What is Woodworm?

Woodworm is very much like how it sounds. Wood boring insects use the timber as a source of food and bore into the wood whilst eating it, making the timber look like a dart board. There are a variety of wood boring insects, some are more destructive than others. The damage caused by these insects can lead to the destruction of the timber from within.

Click here to see a guide to identifying wood boring insects.

How to treat Wet Rot, Dry Rot and Woodworm

If we are contacted early enough, then the process of prevention is very simple and cost effective. Where the timber suffers minor decay we can treat any affected areas with a wood preserving spray that will also kill off the fungi or insects. Where timber has been allowed to rot, a process of replacement and treatment can be issued to stem further spreading and replace any timber that has lost it's structural integrity. Please contact us sooner rather than later as this could save you costly structural works.

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