Dry rot is one of the biggest dangers to the structural integrity of the building in the UK. It is due to the British climate and its high humidity. Dry rot is a fungus that, contrary to the name, thrives in moist, dark and warm places. Wet timber is the perfect place for dry rot spores to spread by producing hyphae.
Dry rot lifecycle
Dry rot is a living microorganism with a rather fascinating lifecycle. Dry rot follows a four staged growing process.
It starts with dry rot spores that land on timber, in good conditions they start producing hyphae – a spiderweb-like substance that spreads very quickly in search of food and a place to mature. That’s the second stage, usually a good time to notice an act on fast. The third stage is a mycelium phase, where hyphae unite in one living organism. Looks like a silky white slightly furry growth.
When left untreated thrives and grows into a fruiting body with is its life-preserving phase. It is easy to spot as it looks like an orange spongy mushroom-like organism. Some compare it to a pancake. When the fruiting body it’s ready it produces spores and the dry rot life cycle starts again.
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 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 dry rot in your property we suggest ordering a dry rot survey. Professionals specialising in identifying dry rot. They will be able to assess fungal decay 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 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
It is very important to treat the wood-destroying fungus as soon as possible as it can cause the loss of structural integrity of the building. And if left untreated timber decay 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.
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 treat dry 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.