Wet Rot

Wet Rot

Wet rot is a very common rot, Unlike dry rot, wet rot comes in many different forms, such as cellar fungus Coniophora puteana and mine fungus Fibroporia vaillantii and many more . Wet rot can refer to both brown and white rots. The Brown and White references come from the effect the rot has on the colour of the timber. Brown rot causes a darkening of the host timber whereas White rot has a bleaching effect.

Wet Rot

Wet Rot with woodworm holes

Wet Rot

Wet Rot mycelium

Wet rot in houses often stems from the construction methods employed during the building of ‘mass produced’ properties especially in heavily populated areas, where there are many terraced buildings. Timbers were often built into the brickwork. Joist ends, wall plates and timber groundings or plugs can be found in most of these buildings. These timbers absorb the moisture from the damp surrounding masonry like a wick. The moisture content of timbers is elevated at the point of contact with damp masonry, gradually reducing as it evaporates over the length of the timber from that point. Once infected and attacked by the fungi, a sporophore (or fruiting body) forms. Spores are produced by the sporophore, they spew out in their millions and are carried in the air around us, when these spores come into contact with timber of the correct moisture content (above 20% w/w) they can germinate and start to grow again.

Imagine you get a handfull of tiny seeds and throw them into the wind in the middle of a town or city, some of the seeds will land on dry surfaces, painted, plastic, metal, even dry earth and will remain just seeds, some will land on moist or wet surfaces, these will grow but not establish themselves properly, and finally some will land on moist earth, these will grow, establish themselves and produce more seeds which will continue the life cycle. It is exactly the same with wood rot!

How does wood rot grow

Wood rots feed from moist wood and turn the wood into a food source. The decay of the wood cells caused by these fungi results in a loss of strength of the wood. Different rots have different characteristics, These range from the effect on the timber to the fruiting bodies or sporophores (this is the heart of the growth where the spores are produced). All the millions of species of wet rot fungi are not yet known or identified, this is not necessary however as the treatment for the eradication of wet rots is fairly universal. The correct identification of dry rot is of course of paramount importance.

With a lot of things in life, if you ignore them they will go away, this is not the case with wood rot, which nearly always gets worse if ignored. If you think you have an attack of woodrot contact us for a professional opinion as soon as possible. This service is absolutely free to property owners - so don't think about it - just do it!

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