Southern Timber & Damp
0800 030 2121
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Property care specialists

Experienced in the removal of fungal decay

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Fungal Decay

Dry Rot (Serpula Lacryman's)

There are three key factors which prevail for an outbreak of Dry Rot.

  • Supply of food which is the cellulose contained in timber.
  • Lack of ventilation.
  • Moisture.

Given varying degrees of the above conditions, the prevalent spore dust which is in the air will land and germinate on timber. Once the outbreak is established, the Fungus can quickly spread to dry areas and the Fungus has the capability to grow across inorganic materials in the constant search for more food. The tiny 'cotton wool' type Fungal growth which can penetrate behind minute gaps, behind plaster, through mortar joints and between masonry gaps. Once the Mycelium has become established, further strands will grow from the Mycelium to search for more fresh timber. Eventually and if left unchecked, the Fungal Decay growth can affect all the timbers in a building and in Terraces or Flats can spread from one property into another. In ideal conditions, the Dry Rot Fungus can grow up to 3 metres per year.

Dry Rot has to therefore be taken seriously.

It is fundamentally important to expose the entire outbreak of the Fungus. The Mycelium and Strands have to be chased wherever they go and only when one is satisfied that the start and finish of the outbreak has been established can any meaningful assessment be made or any effective treatment begin. Treatment of Dry Rot can therefor be both extensive and expensive. Internal plaster needs to be removed back to the masonry of the wall and the strength of structural timbers assessed. Exposed areas need to be sanitised in order to kill off all active spores. Structural works may be required where there is a need to replace timber lintels.

It is also very important to identify the source of moisture and lack of ventilation and to rectify any deficiencies as part of the recommended work and treatments. Failure to do so could render the remedial attention and treatments ineffective.

Wet Rot

There is only one Dry Rot but there are many and numerous Wet Rots. The most common Wet Rot is Cellar Fungus (Coniophora Puteana) and damage can be extensive - the damp environment in a basement can very often provide the ideal conditions. Mine Fungus (Fibroporia Valentii) is also come across from time to time which is a very striking Fungus with hanging droplets of Mycelium.

Wet Rot is less serious that Dry Rot and an outbreak of Wet Rot will not usually affect dry timber. Exposure work is not usually a major part of the treatment but any rotten timber will need to be replaced and the cause of the dampness identified and rectified. The broad principal with Wet Rot prevails that if the source of the moisture is removed, the Fungus will die.

Good ventilation is a key requirement for the maintenance of any timber component and in particular this pertains in sub-floors and below ground areas. Defective downpipes, gutters and pointing are all potential contributory causes of Fungal Decay in timber as well as timbers (Joists etc) which are in contact with damp masonry.

Clients will be advised of the type of Fungal Decay after the inspection including those Fungi which are not included in this section.

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