Dry Rot (Serpula Lacrymans) is a form of timber decay that causes serious fungal infections and has the ability to have catastrophic effects within a building.
The words "dry rot" can send shivers down home owner’s spines. However, dry rot is a very rare fungal infection in a property and can be easily misdiagnosed by a non-remedial specialist. It is easy for our specialist surveyors to diagnosis Dry Rot due to their years of training and experience.
However, there have been plenty of times when we have been contacted and informed by one of our clients that they have an outbreak of dry rot which has been diagnosed by a builder. Fortunately for these clients they contacted us, specialists in dry rot for a second opinion.
When the dry rot surveys were carried out by our specialist dry rot surveyors, the correct diagnosis for the “dry rot outbreak” (the worst case of dry rot the builder has ever seen) as wet rot caused by a leak, we have managed to save clients throughout the North West thousands of pounds on un-necessary dry rot treatments and where necessary recommended solutions for the wet rot problem they could carry out themselves.
So please don’t fall for non-specialist advice and contact the specialists in dry rot today it could save you money on dry rot treatment that is not necessary.
What is Dry Rot?
Dry rot is a fungus that germinates from spores that need perfect living conditions such as damp, humid, ill ventilated voids with a plentiful food source of cellulose or lignin within timber. Dry rot can only germinate with 20% moisture content within the timber structure. Dry rot weakens the structure of timber by attacking the lignin and cellulose within it making the timber brittle and in the end structurally un-sound. The timber cracks into cuboidal shapes with deep structural cracking.
Once an outbreak of dry rot has started, it can spread very rapidly throughout your property and can go undetected for many years under floors, within walls and in voids. The tell-tail sign for dry rot many people come across is an orange/brown dust appearing on surfaces, this dust is actually spores that have been transmitted from a dry rot fruiting body into the atmosphere to restart the dry rot lifecycle again. If you have noticed this dust (dry rot spores) appearing we recommend you instruct a dry rot specialist like ourselves, to carry out a thorough dry rot survey to investigate the presence of these spores. Time is of the essence and if you can manage to catch the early stages of dry rot it can be easily eradicated by our specialist damp proofing and timber treatment technicians, before the spread of mass spores, strands, Hyphae, mycelium and fruiting bodies appear.
The Four Main Life Cycle stages of Dry Rot
The dry rot spore starts the dry life cycle and can be omnipresent and one dry rot spore is practically invisible to the human eye. In large numbers these spores appear in an orange/brown dust. These spores will not germinate if dampness and timber are not present.
If the correct moisture content within timber is present the dry spores will germinate and produce very fine strands similar to cobwebs. These fine strands, known as hyphae allow the dry rot fungus to rapidly grow feeding on the timbers lignin and cellulose. These Hyphae will increase in size and rapidly progress through your property. It is in this stage where the fungus breaks the timbers structural strength and produces Mycelium the next stage of the dry rot life cycle.
The mass of dry rot hyphae istermedMycelium. The dry rot Mycelium’s job is to travel in search of timber and moisture for the dry rot out break to progress and become greater in size.
Fruiting Body (Sporophore)
The dry rot fruiting body is white in colour with orange/brown spores to the centre of it. The dry rot fruiting body is produced as the dry rot infections first response to threat, it produces dry rot spores to initiate the dry rot life cycle again.
Damp Pro Assessment of a Dry Rot Outbreak
When one of our specialist damp and timber surveyors has correctly diagnosed dry rot, it is essential to determine the dry rot outbreak perimeter to survey the extent of the dry rot damage and to analyse what timber is at risk. The removal of plaster may be necessary to analyse any timber that could be at risk within the wall structure.
Damp Pro Dry Rot Treatment
- The initial dry rot treatment would be the promotion of rapid drying, with the moisture content of 20% in timber in mind for dry rot to survive, this is the starting point of dry rot eradication.
- Locate the source of moisture and eliminate it.
- Promote rapid drying.
- Increase ventilation
- Remove all food sources for dry rot (timber) 300mm from the last sign of the dry rot outbreak.
- Remove all dry rot fruiting bodies, mycelium and strands.
- Treat the dry rot outbreak area with specialist dry rot fungicide forming a cordon sanitaire/toxic box for the area(s) treated.
- Replace all timbers with pre-treated timber, isolating them from masonry.
- Replace all plasterwork to the original dimensions using specialist replastering.
- Once all the correct treatment has been carried out by our fully trained specialist damp proofing and timber treatment technicians a 20 year guarantee will be provided for the dry rot treatment.