Dry rot – what are the tell tale signs?

 

Dry rot can cause extensive damage to the structure and fabric of a building and correct diagnosis and treatments are essential to ensure eradication.

The True Dry Rot fungus (Serpula lacrymans) is malignant and will even spread through masonry to find timber to attack. The term itself is a misnomer, however, it stems from the fungus  requiring a relatively low moisture content in timber to survive. Strands develop to form mycelial growth and fruiting bodies give off millions of spores of red dust (often the first sign of a concealed dry rot outbreak). The fungus itself will thrive in concealed areas and will usually start to appear on exposed surfaces when it has already caused extensive damage behind. Prior to mycelium (fern-like growths) and fruiting bodies (mushroom-like growths) appearing, more subtle signs such as warping of timber surfaces can be detected or, indeed, evidence of the damage already caused to structures such as cracking to walls and ceilings or excessive movement to floors.

 

Dry rot eradication involves removal and replacement of infected timber and sterilisation of surrounding structure with with biocide (as the fungus can lie dormant in masonry and attack fresh timber). remedial work can require significant disruption and exposure  and often incurs significant expense. This can be reduced by identifying the problem early, however, serious damage is still likely to have occurred. Where appropriate, the use of timber engineering epoxy resin repairs can limit disturbance and reduce costs. This method of repair is particularly beneficial where decayed bearing-ends of large section beams can be renewed insitu (the alternative being complete replacement of the entire beam).

It is essential that defects allowing the original source of moisture are addressed and the building is then maintained to guard against future moisture ingress.

Our surveyors are experts in dry rot diagnosis and our  reports will specify in detail the correct eradication measures to provide the most cost-effective solutions.