Wet And Dry Rot, Serious Problems For Home Buyers And RenovatorsWritten by Alex under Air Conditioners, Air Purifiers, Dehumidifiers, Desiccant, General | No Comments
Whether you’re buying or selling your home or even performing renovations on your property it’s important to have all the details at hand. Environmental conditions can cause problems which should be deal breakers in terms of purchasing a property and should be addressed as a matter of urgency when repairing a home.
Wet And Dry Rot
These fungi attack the timbers of your property and, as well as indicating a severe moisture problem, harm the integrity of woodwork, which in turn makes structures unsafe.
Wet rot attacks wood which is always sodden, a moisture content of above 24% is required for this fungus to thrive why dry rot is something of a misnomer, when we say dry we simply mean “not as wet as wet rot,” dry rot lives in wood which has a moisture content of between 18% and 22%.
Correct identification of wet and dry rot is crucially important, treating one with a fungicide designed for the other is going to be less that effective and when you consider that dry rot spores can migrate through other porous materials and spread to previously uninfected areas meaning that an outbreak can spread rapidly throughout an entire building. Because of this other forms of sterilisation also have to be undertaken, this includes masonry sterilisation which won’t often be necessary with wet rots.
Dry Rot Can Manifest Itself In a Number Of Guises
Wood can shrink and break up into ‘cuboidal’ fragments utterly destroying the wood’s integrity
Fluffy white moulds can form if there is high humidity, moisture can condense on the surface forming ‘teardrops’
A slimy skin can form over the wood which can easily be peeled back like the skin of a mushroom
Fruits can form looking much like orange peel, they are soft and fleshy flat moulds
If you suspect you have dry rot you should call in a structural engineer to look at the problem as it can cause serious structural damage if it has been able to infect timbers to any depth.
Stop The Problem At Its Source
Because wet and dry rots affect timbers with high moisture content the key to stopping the problem is to eliminate the source of the water. With moisture levels high enough to create a rot problem condensation may be a contributory factor but it is unlikely to be the sole cause. More likely is a leaking pipe, a faulty washing machine or imperfectly installed shower tray. The moisture can also make its way in from outside your property either as rising damp or penetrating damp. Whatever the source, the problem of rot cannot be resolved until the underlying cause of the fungus is addressed.
There are also different types of wet rot, these have their own fruits, bodies and spores. Damage to wood from wet rot causes it again to become very weak, once a fungus has stripped out the nutrients it needs the wood can often be weak enough to be broken apart in the hand. Fruits and strands of wet rot can grow on adjacent brick and plaster if this too is wet but unlike dry rot it cannot permeate in order to spread or lay dormant.
Again the treatment relies on stopping the source of moisture and removing all affected timbers. Wet rot is most common around window frames and poorly maintained external doors where chipped or cracked paint has let water penetrate. It also occurs in skirting against exterior walls where penetrating damp has got into the wood from behind. Once the affected wood has been removed it is important to keep the affected areas dry. A dehumidifier can be over effective in this type of situation as the wood will have been damp for so long that it will warp. However a desiccant can be used as it will absorb the moisture more gently. Once the wood is at an acceptable level of dryness a dehumidifiercan be used as it will keep the wood at its required level of dryness.