When it comes to the materials that are used to build houses, timber is up there with one of the most common. However, a negative that is associated with the use of timber in homes is that it is a vulnerable material that needs to be well protected. The biggest threat to this type of material is the fact that it can rot, which definitely isn’t good. There are also other different materials that are used in home construction that could be susceptible to rot. There are two types of rotting that can occur, and these are dry rot and wet rot. These are two very different types of rotting, and the treatments vary for either one.
In this article, we are going to tell you all about these two types of rotting, so you can learn to distinguish between the two. We will also let you know how to identify any rotting in your home and how it can be treated. In terms of treatment, this is not something that you will be able to do yourself, and you will have to hire a professional to come out and fix the problem.
What is Wet Rot?
Wet rot is a type of fungus that can affect any timber that has become damp. You can also find this type of rot in things like plaster, wallpaper, and even carpets. The wet rot spores are attracted to any materials that have a high moisture content. This type of rot is typically the least destructive of the two, as it remains confined to the wet area. However, this does not mean that it doesn’t need to be treated because it does. If left unmonitored, it can begin to affect the structural integrity of a building, which can quickly become very dangerous.
There are different types of wet rot, but the most commonly found ones are Coniophora and Puteana. Wet rot typically occurs when a high level of moisture has been present in a material for a long period of time. The decay that occurs in damp or wet materials will cause them to soften, and they will begin to rot. The cause of the moisture can come from a variety of different sources, including things like leaks, moisture from bathrooms, condensation, and dampness in the walls.
How to Identify Wet Rot
Identifying that you have a wet rot problem is where things start to get a little bit trickier. This is usually due to the fact that some of the signs to look out for are similar to those of dry rot. Ideally, you will need a professional to come and identify the type of rot, but there are some signs that you can look out for.
Usually, wet rot will make timber a darker color, sometimes even just in the affected areas, and it will also make it soft and spongy to the touch. It can also lead to materials having a cracked appearance that can be known to crumble when it has dried out. It will usually cause materials to shrink due to the fact that they are breaking down, and it usually has a damp and musty smell that is easy to identify.
When looking for signs of wet rot, you will usually find that there is damaged or flaky paint, but this might not always be the case. If you are concerned about a wooden area, try sticking a screwdriver into the wood. If it goes in really easily, then it is likely that you have a wet rot problem.
You are more likely to find signs of wet rot in places like cellars, garages, roofs, and around the windows. However, it is not limited to such places.
How to Treat Wet Rot
The best way to start treating wet rot is by identifying the source of the moisture and stopping it. This will get rid of the factor that is causing the problem, allowing you to efficiently treat it. In some cases that are majorly affected by wet damp, the original timber or other material might need to be completely replaced, but in most cases, it can be treated.
What is Dry Rot?
Dry rot is the worst of the two types of rot that can occur in your home. It is a serious form of fungal decay that will attack the timber in buildings and degrade the strength of the structure. This type of rot does not require any moisture to spread, as it can generate its own. Once it has started to spread, it will not stop unless it has been treated, and it can majorly impact the safety of a building structure.
You will need to hire a professional to identify the rot and what is causing it, but in some cases, the timber may need to be replaced. Dry rot spores already exist around us, but under the right conditions, they can become a real problem. The conditions in which it will thrive is when there is damp timber that has a moisture content of roughly 20%, which is also accessible to air.
Dry rot can be caused by a variety of things, including leaking gutters, dampness in the walls, poor or compromised ventilation, and rising damp. The dry rot spores will land on the timber and start to grow, eventually infiltrating the timber.
How to Identify Dry Rot
In the early stages, it can be difficult to identify dry rot in your home, but it becomes more evident as time goes by. However, there are some signs that you can look out for to help you to identify if you have a problem or not.
In some cases, you might be able to see fine and fluffy mycelium spreading across the wood, and you can also see grey/white color skin with colored patches across the wood. Later in the rot cycle, you will see mushroom-like fruiting bodies, which are usually an orange/brown color with rust in the center. At this stage, you may also see red dust around these fruiting bodies.
It can be more difficult to spot dry rot when it is in the flooring, as it is often out of sight. However, some signs to look out for are when the floor feels springy, it drops away from the skirting boards, or the floorboards start to creak more. Signs of dry rot in walls are also difficult to spot. However, this type of rot often smells damp and musty.
How to Treat Dry Rot
Similarly to treating wet rot, you will need to identify the thing that is causing the rot to occur and stop it from happening. You will also then need to find out how far the rot has spread and how bad the damage is. A professional will likely need to remove parts of walls or flooring to find out, depending on where the rot is located. Only when they have seen the extent of the damage can they begin to treat it.