In this how to treat dry rot article, we will look at what dry rot is, what to look for and the solutions for dealing with it.
What is dry rot?
Dry rot or Serpula lacrymans to give it its Latin name, is a fungus that destroys wood. It is a fungus that is found in most parts of the world. It can affect forest timbers but it is a fungus best known for its ability to destroy wood in buildings and in ships.
What does dry rot look like?
Before you commence with any dry rot treatment, it is important that you have identified that it is the dry rot fungus. Wet rot is another fungus that attacks wood with both dry and wet rots looking similar.
Treating dry rot has to be widespread one as it is a fungus that can use other building materials to travel through the property, infecting not only wood but also becoming ingrained within masonry. This is why a professional dry rot repair company may also suggest sterilisation treatment of stone work, if the dry rot is a major issue throughout the property.
By treating the wrong problem, any treatments or remedies you take could spread dry rot even further. Take a look at these indications of dry rot;
Dry rot digests he part of the wood that gives it its strength and structure, hence wood infected with this fungus can look quite different:
- Wood shrinks, looks darker and cracks
- In less humid conditions, there can be a fluffy skin that forms over the wood; this is a silky grey covering with tinges and patches of lilac and yellow
- When conditions are humid, this fluffy covering is white
- Strands of the fluffy skin covering develop into something known as mycelium, the vegetative part of the growth; these strands are brittle when dry, or when wet, will bend
- There can be orange dots in this mycelium; there are the fruiting bodies of the fungus
- Active dry rot smells musty and damp
It is important to note before you start using any dry rot treatment products that dry rot can cause significant structural damage in a property. This means not only treating the property but replacing wood and other features. If you are in any doubt as to the severity of the dry rot, please consult with a specialist dry rot treatment company.
What is the treatment for dry rot?
Dry rot only affects wood that is damp, typically with a moisture level of 20% or more. The first step therefore, is to remove the source of this moisture.
Timber can be damp for many reasons:
- Interior damp problems – there are common causes such as a leaking washing machine, shower tray, bath, condensation and so on
- Exterior damp problems – a leaking roof, damp penetrating through walls and rising damp can all give rise to an active infestation of dry rot
The most effective way to treat dry rot is to allow the timber to dry out but this is not always practical When this is the case, there needs to be measures taken to defend the wood against re-infection.
There are many ways of how to treat dry rot. Replacing affected wood is one form of treatment. Always replace with pre-treated timber and ensure that all remaining wood is also treated with a high quality product. Surrounding masonry may also need to be treated.
Dry rot treatment cost varies depending on the extent of the infestation, and the steps taken to resolve it. With some infestation of dry rot, it may be possible for you to treat it yourself but if you find it is a bigger problem, always consult a professional dry rot treatment company.