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Dry Rot and Wet Rot Treatment


There are two types of wood rot, there are Brown rots and White rots. 
Brown rots feed on the cellulose and hemi cellulose content of the wood cell structure and white rots feed on the lignin, cellulose and hemi cellulose content of the cell structure.. 
We need 4 ‘ingredients’ for a wood rot to start in a building. These are:
  • Timber / source of food (rather obviously)
  • Fungal spores
  • Water
  • Oxygen
Removing any one of these ingredients from the equation prevents the rot from occurring.
We can’t remove every piece of timber from our properties.
Spores unfortunately are almost everywhere and are virtually invisible to the naked eye.
Oxygen is also a difficult one to control!
This leaves one ingredient that we can try and control - water.
Unfortunately a lot of the timber we place in buildings is in areas where it is susceptible to moisture ingress. Such as ground floors, roofs and areas where we use water, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Any timbers that come in prolonged contact with water will eventually rot.

Wet Rot

There are hundreds of different types of wet rot, and dozens that can affect buildings.
One of the most common by far is ‘cellar fungus’ (coniophera puteana), damp conditions under a floor of a property are ideal for this fungus.
The actual type or species of wet rot more often than not doesn’t actually make any difference to the treatment required.
Most cases of wet rot are treated in the same way.
Treatments usually rely on removing the source of moisture and the removing and replacing decayed timbers. Chemical treatments are not usually required. Replacement timbers are either pre treated or treated on site, this is because it is not always possible to remove all moisture or the potential for moisture in an area of a building.

Dry Rot


Dry Rot (Serpula Lacrymans) is a brown rot. The fundamental difference between True Dry Rot and all the other wood rots is that it has the ability to seek out new timber to attack through inorganic 'barriers' such as brick walls, underneath concrete etc.
The fungus is also able to control the moisture levels in any new timber it finds, so if the moisture content in a new piece of timber is too low the fungus will transfer moisture from its source to allow the fungus to thrive. Correspondingly if a piece of timber is too wet (i.e. there is not enough free oxygen inside the cells of the timber) the fungus will extract moisture from the timber to allow it to 'consume' it.
Severe structural damage to timbers in buildings can result and specialist treatments are always required.
The picture below shows a fruiting body growing through the wall string of a staircase, notice the red spore dust
A dry rot fruiting body from a Cook Group contract


The first stage of dealing with any outbreak of dry rot is to carry out a survey of the affected area in the property. Initially to make sure it is dry rot!
The first thing and most important task is to identify the source of moisture for the outbreak and stop / control it.
Then we need to determine the full extent of the outbreak, this in itself can be a very difficult task and can usually only be done after you start stripping out the affected areas.
Once we know the full extent we can recommend a course of action to include the following
·        Steps to control the moisture or water ingress
·        The full extent of repairs & reinstatement works necessary
·        The extent and type of chemical treatments necessary


 We use chemical treatments to help new timbers or remaining timbers withstand levels of residual moisture, which otherwise might restrict the reinstatement process.
Masonry sterilisation works are almost always carried out to ‘kill’ any of the remaining ’active’ outbreak

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