What is Dry Rot?

The name “dry rot” refers to a particular and distinct type of wood rot (Serpula Lacrymans). Despite its name, dry rot usually only attacks moist wood.

A minute dry rot spore or cross-contamination from already diseased material, such as wood or masonry, initiates the attack. Depleting such components from wood results in a brown, brittle state that is dangerous in any property.

Dry rot is a severe problem across properties in the United Kingdom. For an infection to be initiated, there needs to be a spore (or some viable growth already present), oxygen, a suitable temperature, a susceptible food source and water, all of which are to be found in buildings.

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What Causes Dry Rot?

Dry rot occurs where the timber is damp, and the affecting damp has a moisture content that is more than 20%. There are many reasons why the wood in your property can become damp (such as penetrating dampness). The other vital ingredient to cause a dry rot outbreak is omnipresent dry rot spores, meaning they surround us every day, unseen by the human eye.

These spores are harmless on their own; but, when they come into contact with moist timber. The cellulose and hemicellulose fractions of the wood are digested by the fine fungal thread (hypha), turning the wood brown and eventually reducing it to a dry and crumbly state. The structural lignin of the wood is not affected by dry rot.

All damp problems that can affect your property, such as rising damp and penetrating damp, can affect if dry rot may be present.

The damp problems must be resolved before any treatment for dry rot can be applied. The reason for this is that if the timber becomes damp again, the dry rot treatments will become ineffective, and the dry rot would most likely grow again.

Dry rot spreads

It usually happens where you aren’t looking. This could be hidden below the plaster, beneath the flooring, or even in the attic. This is why understanding the signs of dry rot is critical.

Dry rot can grow in any wood with high moisture content. Dry rot can take hold in any building, old or new. This is because it is created by moisture and dampness, which can occur in any location. Dry rot can be caused by leaks or weather, meaning the type of property does not affect it.

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How To Identify Dry Rot

Wet rot and dry rot are sometimes confused. However, there are differences between the two. The most significant distinction is the amount of moisture required for both types of wood rot to germinate.

Dry rot has different properties depending on its stage of development. The abrupt emergence of a fruiting body (sporophore) or the shrinking/distortion of timbers are generally the first signs of a dry rot outbreak. This latter aspect can be relatively dramatic and sudden, with the transition from dimensional stability to wood instability occurring relatively quickly.

Dry rot thrives in moist, poorly vented environments. Thus it’s most commonly found in hard-to-reach places such under floorboards, behind skirting boards, and indoor frames/casings.

Unlike many other wood-destroying fungi, dry rot can quickly grow over and through porous masonry as long as it has a nutritional supply (wood) from which to expand; this ability enables the fungus to travel from one location to another.

Because these places are frequently unnoticed, it is common for wood rot to have advanced by the time it is discovered; consequently, it is critical to identify the problem as soon as possible. Book your Dry Rot Survey today if you suspect a dry rot infestation!

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What are the first signs of dry rot?

Signs of dry rot include:

  • damaged or decaying timber.
  • Damp or musty smell.
  • Deep cracks in the timber grain.
  • Brittle timber or timber that crumbles in your hand.
  • Concentrated patches of orange-brown spore dust.
  • Grey strands on timber.
  • Fruiting bodies that look like large mushrooms.

Is it safe to live in a house with dry rot?

Dry rot is one of the most deadly wood fungi, not just because of the way it affects the structural integrity of your building but also because of the underlying damp condition it represents. While dry rot does not pose a health risk in and of itself, it can result in costly structural damage that will later become a health hazard.

How Dry Rot Affects Your Property

Dry rot can affect any type of wood in a home or business, whether old or new. This type of wood decay is becoming more and more of a concern for homes throughout the United Kingdom. If you don’t treat your dry rot problem right away, it might become a risk to you and your property.

If you have dry rot issues, the best solution is to schedule a dry rot survey with Sussex Damp Experts. We have over 10 years of combined experience treating dry rot, so you can rest assured that your property is in good hands with our expert surveyors.

The trickiest aspect of the dry rot treatment process is sometimes determining whether or not there is a problem with dry rot. Once dry rot has been discovered in the property, Sussex Damp Experts will be able to alleviate any concerns you may have.

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Booking A Dry Rot Survey

If your home or business is experiencing issues with suspected dry rot infestation, we would recommend a professional timber survey conducted on your property. If you believe you have dry rot in your property, get in touch with our team today on 01273 257 765 or fill in a contact form to book a thorough property survey with our dry rot experts.

Our wood rot experts will identify dry rot in wet timber and determine the moisture content of the affected timbers. They will help you understand the causes and propose treatment options to eliminate this wood-destroying fungus.

Investigating Dry Rot Outbreaks

To treat dry rot, you’ll need first to consult a professional. They will then need to determine the full extent of the dry rot outbreak. To do this, they will open up the affected area by removing plaster and render in all directions and removing flooring and lifting floorboards. They will then be in a position to identify the infected timbers.

The importance of enlisting professional assistance stems from the fact that removing this timber may jeopardise structural integrity. They’ll be able to help you get rid of any contaminated wood. An expert will also determine whether you require a chemical-based treatment to aid with less severe dry rot issues.

Dealing with Dry Rot

Once our dry rot survey has been completed, a solution has been agreed upon, and our surveyor has arranged a suitable date with you, our technicians will arrive and start our dry rot treatment process. Our technicians will go through the following steps to treat dry rot in your home.

1. Stop the Moisture Source

We will locate and remove any wall plaster or infected wood to allow direct access to the treatment area. Our pre-treatment effort will keep dry rot spores from developing in the future.

2. Remove Damaged Area

All rotting wood and damaged linings such as panelling, skirting, ceilings, and plaster are removed to prevent the rot fungus from spreading further.

3. Targeted Dry Rot Treatment

If the dry rot fungus has infected structural timbers and masonry, a fungicidal paste creates a chemical barrier. This will not only keep the wood-rotting fungus from re-establishing themselves, but it will also keep wood-boring insects at bay for many years.

4. Damaged Timber Replacement

Our experts will begin replacing timber with preservative-treated timbers after they are sure that dry rot has been completely removed from your home.

Treatments for Dry Rot

Dealing with the Source of Dampness

To solve issues with wet rot, it is crucial to identify the source of moisture and stop the cause of the damp. Depending on the cause of damp, our professionals will advise you on the best treatments available.

Epoxy treatments

Filling in gaps within the damaged wooden structure with an epoxy treatment is also a treatment we can offer. This will not only kill the rot but will strengthen the wood’s structure.

Commercial antifreeze

We can also treat dry rot with antifreeze to kill the fungus and prevent further growth of dry rot.

Copper compounds

If you plan to bring in new wood to repair dry rot damage, firstly, we need to remove the rotten section. We will saturate the surface of the existing wood with a copper compound before adding the new wood.

Masonry Dry Rot Treatment

Any masonry or brickwork that has been in contact with dry rot will have to be sprayed or injected with fungicide. This treatment will have to seep deep into the substrate to ensure the spread of the dry rot fungus stops.

Fungicide Treatment

The way a specialist will treat your dry rot will vary, depending on where the rot is and the stage of infestation. Some treatments will be applied to the inside of the wood, and treatments will be applied to the outside. You can also employ a variety of dry rot treatments to try to avoid a recurrence. Boron gel in various volumes or concentrations can be used to cure and prevent dry rot.

Boron rods can also be injected and implemented into your wood by a professional. These rods will be inserted into the holes that have already been bored. Boracol can be used to treat dry rot in more severe cases where there is also an infestation of insects such as cockroaches. After the treatment is complete, you can further use a specific dry rot repellent paint to protect your property from any future dry rot issues. This contains a unique emulsion that will inhibit the spread of any lingering dry rot. It may be used on various materials, including wood, bricks, mortar, masonry, and even plaster.

Boron can be a hazardous material, so it’s always best to leave this treatment to the professionals. It’s also a good idea to keep anyone vulnerable, such as your children, out of the affected area. While you can perform specific procedures on your own, most of the treatment must be done by a professional. We will be able to discover any dry rot issues and analyse the depth of the problem with the help of our damp proofing experts. This implies that we’ll be able to tailor our treatment method to your specific situation. We’re also well-trained, so we’ll know how to properly handle a biocide, keeping you safer.

Dry rot can be a severe problem that requires immediate attention. If dry rot is not treated quickly, it will spread and cause significant harm. This means that the structural integrity of your home will deteriorate over time. Please don’t put off taking action until it’s too late. If you believe you have a dry rot problem, call 01273 257 765 for a free survey and treatment right now.

How Much Does Dry Rot Treatment Cost?

There are several costs associated with dry rot treatment that vary depending on how much damage has been caused.

The dry rot fungus is relatively easy to treat and will require the use of chemicals. However, the actual cost of dry rot treatment will only become evident when the amount of wood that has to be restored and replaced is determined. If a big piece of wood needs to be replaced, the cost of treatment will be much higher.

An expert survey can provide you with an estimate of how much a repair will cost.

Preventing Dry Rot in the Future

Only surfaces with a higher than optimal moisture level will develop dry rot. Dry rot spores will remain latent if the relative humidity in your home is low. As a result, it is critical to keep your home free of dampness. Condensation is one of the most prevalent causes of damp, and it can often be avoided by adequately using extractor fans, opening windows when possible, and heating your home evenly.

Rising damp, damaged pipes, broken gutters, and leaking appliances like washing machines or showers are all causes of damp that can lead to dry rot.

Simply put – the key to preventing dry rot is to stop excess moisture from building up in your property.

Sussex Damp Experts: Your Dry Rot Specialists

An examination is the first step toward fixing any damp and dry rot problems in your building. At Sussex Damp Experts, our damp proofing team will only report on legitimate damp issues and propose valuable and cost-effective solutions.

Our damp proofing specialists can evaluate your property, elaborate a damp and timber survey, and suggest the best course of action for repairs. As is the case with our experts, a damp surveyor must be approved by the Property Care Association (PCA).

Sussex Damp Experts provides a comprehensive selection of damp proofing treatments, and we are confident in our abilities to make cost-effective repairs backed by our 30 years guarantees.

Whether your property requires dry rot control, rising damp treatment, basement waterproofing, timber treatments or other damp proofing expertise, you can rely on our damp proofing experts to assess the problems in our detailed surveys and provide you with the most professional services to give you peace of mind for the future.

Why Choose Sussex Damp Experts?

We follow excellent standards in damp proofing treatments, professional re-plastering, wood preservation and treatment, and are experts in performing damp surveys.

We provide highly customised, competent, dependable damp proofing and dry rot treatment and repair services to homes, local authorities, small businesses, and commercial properties. Call us today at 01273 257 765 to speak with a member of our helpful team about your needs.

Some advantages of choosing Sussex Damp Experts:

  • CSSW and CSRT Surveyors
  • Award-winning PCA members
  • Expert service from fully qualified technicians
  • Over 20 years of combined experience

Our Dry Rot Treatment Guarantee

As members of the Property Care Association and Trust Mark, we guarantee our specialist technicians have the skills, qualifications, craftsmanship and rot treatments’ expertise to offer an effective solution to your dry rot problem.

As part of our treatment programme, all our dry rot treatments carry an XX-year guarantee on any work carried out by our expert team of dry rot technicians. Our guarantee can also be transferred over to any future owners protecting your property for years to come.

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