It may appear to be made of bricks from the outside but a large portion of you house is probably made from wood, someone in the know once told me that an average U.K house is a about 80% wood. Wood is a building material that has been used all over the world for thousands of years, it is a readily available strong and flexible material that can be shaped and joined together easily but it has a few drawbacks such as rot.
Types of Rot
There are two different types of wood rot, dry rot and wet rot. Both can cause serious damage to a property, they eat wood cells and cause wood to lose strength this loss of strength affects the structural integrity of a rot infected building.
Dry rot is caused by a fungi, when the spores of this fungi are subjected to enough moisture they grow. Dry rot should be treated as soon as it is spotted, if left for too long the fungi will produce new spores and pump them out onto not just surrounding wood but surrounding bricks, mortar and other materials. Infected wood will eventually crumble into powder, learn more about dry rot on wikipedia.
Wet rot is also caused by a fungus infection but unlike dry rot the fungi that cause wet rot cannot spread to wood which does not have moisture in it. Wet rot fungi like moisture to grow, a wet rot infection will usually be found in damp roof spaces, basements, under floors and behind skirting boards.
How to Prevent Wood Rot
Both types of wood rot are caused by a fungi infection and both need moisture to grow, keeping your wood dry is the best way to prevent it from becoming infected. To prevent wood rot from taking hold on your property you need to use decay resistant lumber when carrying out any building work.
Make sure you regularly look for any cracks or holes in your windows or door frames and make sure you cualk any such openings, paint exterior wood regularly, check for any roof leaks or sagging gutters, keep shrubbery such as ivy off of your walls, don’t lean anything against exterior walls, keep any air vents clear, fix any leaking or dripping pipes immediately and clean your guttering regularly.
Treatment of Rot
Look for and eradicate any sources of moisture as soon as wood rot is found on your property. Try to identify the kind of rot you have, you may want to call in a professional if you are not sure what you are doing because as we said above; dry rot can spread easily and cause damage far from any original contamination.
Moisture Inside the Home
Make sure you identify and eradicate any sources of moisture inside the home, internal sources of moisture could be; a leaking pipe, washing machine, dish washer or condensation.
What does dry rot look like?
When wood is infected with dry rot it shrinks, darkens and cracks. When there is minimal humidity dry rot infected wood can develop a silky grey or mushroom coloured skin that may have patches of lilac and yellow, the ‘skin’ on dry rot infected wood can be peeled like the skin of a mushroom. In more humid conditions dry rot can cause fluffy, cotton wool like growth to form on infected wood. There maybe a musty, damp smell. If your dry rot is fruiting you may notice a dust which has a rusty red colour.
There are three different types of fungi that can cause wet rot; Coniophora puteana, Poria vaillantii and Phellinus contiguus. Wet rot likes to have plenty of moisture so is most commonly found on exterior wood or very wet areas.
What Does Wet Rot Look Like?
Wet rot causes infected timber to darken or become bleached, shrink, split and crack. Look for white, fern like strands, fibrous or stringy wood. A wet rot infection is less serious than a dry rot infection because it needs damp conditions and so cannot spread as easily but it should not be left untreated.
Once you have identified the type of rot you have and eliminated sources of moisture you should; remove any infected materials and treat the surrounding area with a fungicide.
This post was written and supplied on behalf of Peter Cox, dry rot surveys and control.
February 19, 2017