What is Wet Rot?
The main sorts of fungal decay can be divided into two types, the so-called Wet Rots of which Cellar Fungus (Coniophora Puteana) is the most widespread and True Dry Rot (Serpula Lacrymans)
As the name implies, this type of fungus (which can develop in complete darkness) attacks timber which is in a permanently very damp or wet state.
What causes Wet Rot?
Commonly found in timbers that have become damp, wet rot cannot begin attacking wood unless there is a moisture content of at least 20% and, as a result, does not normally occur in internal timbers unless there is a significant dampness issue. This is usually as a result of timbers coming into contact with damp masonry.
Signs of a Wet Rot problem?
Wet rot in timber can cause issues with the structure of a property making it essential that you identify signs of wet rot before further damage is done. If you notice the following you may have a wet rot problem:
- Flexing or ‘springy’ floors
- Distortion, discolouration, softness and cracking
- Loss of strength to the timber
- Visible fungal growth – this may sometimes occur
- Smell – there may be a damp musty smell
Treatment of Wet Rot
Usual practice is to remove all rotted wood and replace with new protected timber or other materials such as concrete beams or steel. Wet rot decay is usually limited to the areas where the wood has become wet. There are however, occasions where timbers can be retained such as large support beams, roof trusses etc. These may be able to be treated or supported using other means. It is also essential to locate and eliminate the source(s) of moisture which has caused the wet rot decay. Dealing with the source of moisture will reduce the risk of further outbreaks of the wet rot decay.