Selling house with dry rot infestation

Selling house with dry rot infestation

What does dry rot look like?

Dry rot is a serious threat to the structural stability of buildings in the UK, and it is primarily caused by the humid climate. The warm and moist environment in the UK creates the perfect conditions for dry rot to thrive, and it can quickly spread throughout a building if structural damage is not identified and treated promptly.

Despite its name, dry rot actually requires moisture to grow and spread. The fungus typically attacks timber that has a moisture content of at least 20%, which is why it is often found in areas that are prone to dampness, such as basements, crawl spaces, and areas with poor ventilation.

Once dry rot spores find a suitable environment, they produce hyphae that penetrate and break down the wood fibers, causing the wood to become dry and brittle state and weak. Over time, this can lead to dry rot produces significant damage to the structural integrity of a building, including walls, floors, and ceilings.

To prevent dry rot and wet back from taking hold, it is important to address any moisture issues in a building promptly. This includes repairing leaks, improving ventilation, and ensuring that drainage systems are functioning properly. It is also important to inspect the building regularly for signs of dry rot, including discolored or crumbling wood, a musty odor, and visible fruiting bodies.

If dry rot is detected, it is crucial to have it treated by a professional as soon as possible. The wet rot treatment process typically involves removing all affected timber and treating the remaining surfaces with a fungicide. In severe cases, it may also be necessary to replace damaged or structural timber elements.

dry rot
dry rot
dry rot photo

Dry rot lifecycle

Dry rot is a living microorganism with a rather fascinating lifecycle. Dry rot follows a four staged growing process.

The dry rot life cycle begins with the presence of moisture, which is necessary for the growth and survival of the dry rot fungus. Once moisture is present, the fungus produces spores that can travel through the air and settle on nearby wood surfaces.

If the spores come into contact with damp wood, they can germinate and produce hyphae, which are thread-like structures that penetrate the wood and break down its fibers. As the hyphae grow and spread through affected wood, they can cause significant damage to the wood and weaken its structural integrity.

As the dry rot fungus continues to spread, it produces fruiting bodies, which are the visible signs of the fungus. These fruiting bodies release more spores into the air, which are airborne spores that can travel to other areas of the building and start the cycle identifying wet rot anew.

The dry rot cycle can be interrupted by addressing the underlying moisture issues that allow the fungus to grow and spread. This may include repairing leaks, improving ventilation, building materials and ensuring that drainage systems are functioning properly. It is also important to conduct regular inspections for signs of a dry rot outbreak and address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.

How to identify dry rot?

Knowing what kind of conditions dry rot prefers it is a good practice to regularly check places where it can possibly spread. Check your loft, places where wood connects with masonry, and similar places. As it likes to hide it’s by penetrating damp down, dry rot occur often ‘behind things’ but checking under floorboards may not be as convenient.

What you’re looking for is:

  • dry rot smell
  • cracked timber – specifically cuboidal cracks
  • orange / brown patches of dust – those are spores so act fast
  • white or light grey strands on wood – that’s hyphae
  • orange fungal growth – that’s the final stage that will be producing spores

If you suspect that dry rot is in your property we suggest ordering a dry rot survey. Professionals specialising in identifying dry rot. They will be able to assess fungal decay suspect dry rot and recommend a dry rot treatment if necessary. You must be prepared because it usually it is very costly to kill dry rot.

How to prevent dry rot?

Prevention is better – and definitely cheaper than cure. Dry rot outbreak can affect new and old buildings it’s a good practice to do everything to prevent dry rot spread. In other words, minimise the possibility of increased humidity.

  • check for leaks – washing machine in the garage or utility room, any places with excessive moisture
  • clean gutters regularly
  • check if your roof is sealed and not leaking
  • good insulation
dry rot
dry rot
dry rot
dry rot on the wall


It is very important to treat the wood-destroying fungus as soon as possible as it can cause the loss of structural integrity of timber affected the building. And if left untreated timber decay and infected timbers will not be able to support the house and it may simply collapse. We do not recommend trying to fix the problem yourself as the spores are spreading very quickly and the situation requires professional intervention. Treatment usually entails replacing affected timbers with pre-treated timber. On top of that, a strong chemical fungicide needs to be applied.

Other options?

Timber decay and dry rot fungus may quickly become a health hazard for you and your family. If you don’t have the time, energy or the budget to to treat dry rot and wood rot we have a piece of good news – there is another option. You can sell it. Professional property buyers like Speed Property Buyers, specialise in helping families with problematic properties. Contact us today to get a cash offer, our friendly team will talk you through the process and will guide you every step of the way.

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