Buildings of all ages can be affected by Dry Rot and Wet Rot. This fungal decay is found in timber which has been wet for some time. As well as having the fungal decay treated it is essential that the source of dampness is located and eradicated.
It has the ability to pass through inert material to spread to other timbers. The mature fruiting bodies of wood-destroying fungi that develop during an attack produce millions of microscopic spores and these are widely dispersed by air currents.
Falling on untreated timber they will germinate to form a mass of hyphal threads called mycelium. Dry Rot affects timbers which are exposed to damp conditions and where there is a general lack of ventilation.
Externally exposed timber, timber in contact with wet soil or masonry, or timber subject to a damp atmosphere can all suffer from fungal attack.
Wet rot is more common but is less serious. Wet Rot comes in two forms, Brown Rots and White Rots, both of which are destructive to timber. Generally brown rots cause cuboidal cracking and shrinking of the timber whilst white rots tend to reduce the timber to a stringy, fibrous texture.
The decay of the timber is typically confined to the area where it has become and remains wet. The high moisture content allows the fungus to establish and develop. Typical causes are gutter leaks, roofing defects, plumbing leaks etc. Damp, poorly ventilated environments are susceptible to outbreaks of wet rot.
Wet & dry rot case studies
The owners of this property in Chiswick, London discovered a dark red/ brown coloured dust appearing in the cellar and ground floor areas. They were concerned as they did not know what the dust was or the reason for its appearance.
This particular enquiry came from a Chartered Surveyor, who was acting for a young couple intent on purchasing their first house. It was clear that previous repair works had been carried out in a number of different areas but carried out to a poor standard.