Dry rot is one of the most worrying discoveries a property owner can make. More advanced cases can require considerable treatment and can lead to expensive repairs being necessary. Furthermore dry rot infestations can not only advance quickly but can also spread impressively through a property’s timber so it is essential to remove the problem as soon as possible after discovery.
Dry Rot: The Cause
The problem we refer to as “dry rot” is caused by a particular type of fungi known as Serpula lacrymans. While the name might suggest that this invader prefers dry timber, the opposite is actually true. Indeed, dry rot is rarely if ever experienced in properties with dry woodwork.
As it turns out dry rot needs moist timber if it is to grow and prosper. The reason we refer to it as “dry” rot is simply to demarcate it from “wet rot” which likes even higher levels of damp in the environment. For dry rot anything over 20% moisture in the timber is enough to create a perfect breeding ground.
Dry Rot Repair: Eliminating The Cause
When it comes to dry rot repair the best place to start is by ridding your home of the fungus itself before then moving on to examine if further remedial structural work will be required.
As the fungus needs a damp environment in which to thrive a good start to is to resolve any damp problems your home may exhibit. Whether you’re having problems with condensation, a leak in the roof or problems with your drainage it is essential to diagnose and treat the original cause of the dampness.
To speed up the dry rot repair process it may be possible, depending on the individual circumstances, to increase ventilation or to turn up the heating in the property. Both of these processes can help to dry out the timber, as can the use of dehumidifiers, though such action shouldn’t only be considered temporary solutions before your real problem is resolved.
When the damp environment has been remedied, and the fungus is therefore starting to die, we can speed up the process of removing dry rot by treating your timber with fungicides. These preservatives not only help to eliminate the fungi but also to make it far less attractive in the future.
The correct application is essential so that areas are not missed, in which the tiny spores could survive, ready to begin another population at some time in the future.
Dry Rot Repair: Replacing Timber
In more advanced cases of dry rot, the fungus may have attacked the timber of your home so intensively that the timber becomes a danger. If it has been suitably weakened by the fungus it then becomes possible that roof joists, floor boards and so on could weaken, bend or even collapse.
Clearly this is a severe problem and repair work must be carried out to remove the damaged old timbers and replace them with fresh wood that has not been attacked. This process can take time as each timber will need to be assessed.
After this the damaged wood will need to be carefully removed, a little at a time, so as to not compromise the structural integrity of the property, with new timbers being cut to the appropriate size and fitted in their place.
As you can see the process of dry rot repair can be a complicated process that may require considerable time effort and man-hours to suitably resolve. The sooner that an attack is located and the repair work is commenced the better, as the fungus will have attacked less of your property’s timber, meaning fewer replacements are likely to be necessary.