Wet rot & dry rot are different types of a damp problem within the timbers of a property. DH Damp Proofing & Plastering have been to numerous cases of wet & dry rot across London & Berkshire and identifying the type of damp is imperative to being able to treat the problem correctly.
If the wrong type of damp is identified the consequences can be catastrophic for the building. In this blog, we will look at wet rot and the characteristics of it.
Whilst this rot is the lesser of two evils, however it still has the ability to cause severe structural damage if it is left to thrive and not treated correctly. Wet rot is generally referred to Coniophora puteana or ‘cellar fungus’ and this is a blanket term for all the species that cause wet rot.
Wet rot occurs in timbers that are exposed to prolonged periods of moisture with the moisture content of the timber being above 50%. Meaning that any timber that is continuously wet is in danger of being affected as this is effectively the timber decaying naturally due to the elevated moisture level present. For example, if the barge boards to the exterior of your property are in a poor state of decorative repair then they are exposed to the elements putting them at risk.
So, what signs should you be looking for? Any timber that looks as though it has fungi growing on it, a damp musty smell, floor boards that are weak. Check the timber for its firmness as wet rot affected timber will be soft and spongey to the touch even if it has paint applied. In doors and door frames the timber may bleach other timber coated in paint may begin to flake and peel any damage to paint work on timber either internally or externally on a property could lead to wet rot. If you are not sure whether the timber under a painted coating is suffering from wet rot, put a knife into the timber the blade should stop after a relatively short distance. If the blade goes in up to the knife handle then you almost certainly have a case of wet rot.
Treating wet rot involves discovering the source of the moisture ingress and treating this problem. The next step would be to strip away minimal amounts of the affected timber and allowing the area to dry out. Once the decayed timber has been removed then it should be replaced using treated timber and treating the surrounding timbers with a fungicidal treatment. If the rot is sever then entire timbers may need to be removed and replaced with treated timber to protect against recurrence.
In the worse-case scenario and the wet rot has been allowed to progress for some time and the rot has spread to floor joists, roof trusses or other structural timbers then extensive building work may need to be carried out to protect the structural integrity of the property.