Fungal Decay

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Dry Rot – sheets of mycelium exposed by removal of timber wall panelling.

Dry rot is the most destructive form of fungal decay found in buildings and in ideal conditions can spread at an average rate of 3.5M per annum and can grow behind plaster and penetrate both concrete and masonry decaying any timber it is path.

DRY ROT and WET ROT are common terms used to describe fungi which often attack timber in our homes. Analysis has shown that some form of fungal decay is discovered in approximately 35% of surveys. Fungi thrive on damp timber in conditions of inadequate ventilation. The most common causes are ineffective damp proof courses, blocked airbricks, high ground levels, leaking roofs, gutters, defective flashings etc.

DRY ROT (Serpula lacrymans) unless eradicated can often spread at an average rate of 3.5M per annum.  Dry Rot affects timber with a 20% or over moisture content and attack occurs by germination of spores of fungus which are carried into the building by air currents, animals or even human beings.  Once the spores have germinated, the threads (Hyphae) penetrate the wood, breaking down the timber with enzymes and extracting the nutrients.  Advanced outbreaks of dry rot form a sheet of fungus know as Mycelium which will vary in colour from dirty grey to pure white in wet conditions.  Sporophores or fruiting bodies also form and red rust spore dust may be present.  Fungal decay can spread throughout a property, often penetrating through brick and plaster and reducing the timber to a dry brittle mass.

WET ROT DECAY (Coniophora puteana) is more common that dry rot and usually confines itself to a damp site and eradication is therefore rather less complex than for dry rot.

The expertise of a trained Surveyor is very important in the discovery or analysis of fungal decay. Our Surveyors will advise on the likely causes of attacks and all necessary remedial treatments.  In the case of dry rot, affected timber must be cut out and destroyed together with the surrounding timber for at least 1M adjoining the last known outbreak of attack.  Plaster must also be removed to at least 1M beyond the last trace of fungal strands (Hyphae).  Full chemical fungicidal treatment is applied to the exposed masonry and brickwork surrounding the area of attack.  A series of holes may be drilled into the adjoining brickwork and pressure injected to destroy deep seated Mycelium.  All replacement timber must be pre treated prior to fixing and isolated from direct contract with adjacent masonry.

Wet Rot treatment is rather less complex but all causes of dampness must be eradicated and affected timber replaced.  New timbers and surrounding areas must then be treated with fungicidal fluids or pastes to safeguard against further attack.  Adequate ventilation must also be provided.

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dry rot

Dry Rot – typical damage to timber

wet rot decay

Wet Rot – typical white rot damage to timber

brown rot

Wet Rot – typical brown rot to timber