Despite the name, dry rot needs damp conditions to thrive in timber. Damp also contributes to the growth of the fungi that causes wet rot, so it’s important you know how it looks and what you can do to treat it.
Dry rot flourishes in warm, poorly ventilated areas that get damp. You’re most likely to find it in places you don’t often look, such as under wooden floors, under staircases and behind wood panelling.
All dry rot spores need is about 28% moisture content to grow, but once it’s in your timber the fungus can attack material that’s not as damp.
Signs to look out for include a cotton-wool like substance and off-white strands that can travel along and through timber or brickwork. If you see a brown dust, that means the fungus is reproducing – it can grow between 5 and 9mm a day in the best conditions.
The moment you notice dry rot, you must get it treated. It can spread quickly through a whole building, and can cause timber to crumble to the touch.
Wet rot likes more damp conditions, thriving at 30-70% moisture content in timber. It can be a brown or white rot, and comes in lots of different fungal forms. That’s why you should get a professional to come in and assess your wet rot problem.
Wet rot can also cause timber to crumble when it’s touched. It can grow on adjacent walls, but it can’t spread through brickwork and concrete walls like dry rot can.
How to treat dry and wet rot
There are lots of causes of damp. Some include leaking gutters, leaks in plumbing or poor roofing. Another top contributor is poor ventilation, so make sure you keep your home well ventilated.
To treat your wet and dry rot, the most important thing to do is work out the source of moisture causing the rot. This could be rising damp or penetrating damp to name a couple. Then you must correct that problem.
Make sure you ask a damp proofer to come in and assess the full extent of the damage caused by the rot. You’ll need to remove infected timber and repair or replace it. Then, a damp proofer can treat infected areas with fungicides to stop it happening again.
The best thing to do if you think you have a problem with dry or wet rot is to call in a professional who can advise you on the best course of action. That way, you can ensure that the problem is eliminated and prevented from returning.