What is woodworm?
What are the signs of woodworm in my property’s timbers?
There are a couple of ways to identify whether your timbers have active woodworm. You could fill the exit holes with bees wax and wait for a year to see if any holes are unfilled the following year. The season for hatching Lava is May – October and this is why such a long period of observation time is needed. Another important observation is whether you can see any frass present on the timbers. This frass can be used to help identify woodworm pests even if the adult insects are no longer visible, as different species form different shaped droppings. The frass of wood-boring beetles is made up of fragments torn off but not consumed, and fragments that have passed through the insects gut! It resembles a fine, powdery dust and is usually found below the area of the infected wood. Frass falls out of old flight holes, when larvae bore through old larval tunnels, hence the build up of material below the infested timber. It is not generally a result of new adult beetles emerging.
Where am I most likely to see the signs of an infestation?
When the larvae hatch out it takes them between two and five years to chew enough nutrients from the timber to invest enough energy to pupate into adult beetles. That’s a long time! And all the while, the timber may be drying down further, making it harder for them to feed as the timber gets drier and tougher. This also means that the resulting adult beetles will be smaller and less likely to produce offspring, so a female must choose a low risk place to lay her eggs.
In your home this is likely to be in a damp subfloor void, particularly where flooring such as laminate has been laid to restrict the airflow. The female beetle may choose her perfect spot behind decorative paneling or in loft spaces.
How can it be treated?
If treatment is required, we would clean down the timbers to allow the preservative to penetrate which creates a pesticidal envelope. The contact insecticide hits the nervous system of the beetles as they emerge from the timber and eradicates the problem.
What do I do next?
What is the difference between penetrating and rising damp?
There are many sources of damp in buildings, rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation are the main types. It is important to get a reliable and properly trained surveyor to check out the problem fully before arriving at any conclusions.
Penetrating damp can be from driving rain, leaking gutters, defective adjoining roof coverings, defective seals to windows doors etc.
Rising damp is where dampness from the ground travels up the wall by a capillary action and there is either a defective, failed or no damp proof course installed to stop the progress of the moisture. An inexperienced or untrained surveyor may mistake condensation or penetrating damp or rising damp and recommend a course of action which will be unnecessarily disruptive and possibly expensive, worst of all it is also probably not required and will simply disguise the true cause of the problem.
What are the symptoms of different damps?
Penetrating damp sign are caused by problems in the property when water is coming in through the walls or roof and can be at any height on the wall. Our fully trained surveyor will assess to identify the likely cause of the problem. Have you got a gutter leaking, downpipes leaking, a loose tile, cracks in the property’s mortar beds? Or does your property have exposed areas prone to being buffeted by the wind where rain might drive into bricks allowing face of bricks to break down and become more porous?
Another problem you have to rule out is condensation which probably affects more properties than rising and penetrating damp put together this occurs mainly in winter.
Damp can also appear due to a leak from a plumbing or heating pipe, washing
machine, dishwashers. Small leaks are often the cause of major repairs if left and not repaired.
What is penetrating damp?
Penetrating Damp occurs when moisture enters your property through its walls, rather than up from the ground. It is most commonly caused by:
- faults in the building, such as slipped roof tiles, defective guttering, leaking pipes, dilapidated or poorly installed windows
- Aged Bricks which become more porous and struggle to keep out wind-driven rain.
- Damaged brickwork or mortar allows water to penetrate
At Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists we use our experience and the tools available to us to allow us to be confident in our diagnosis of whether treatment for penetrating damp, rising damp or condensation. It is important to correctly identify the correct type of Damp that is causing the problems in your property to ensure that the correct method of treatment is applied.
Can you be 100% sure which type of damp it is?
How do you treat penetrating damp?
Where porous external brickwork is identified as the root cause of your properties penetrating damp, Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists recommend the use of Stormdry® to provide a colourless barrier between your properties brickwork and the harsh weather elements that we enjoy in the UK! This solution will help you to protect exposed/ damaged external walls.
What do I do next?
What is condensation?
If our survey reveals that the signs of Damp in your home are due to condensation, you could save a significant amount by avoiding unnecessary damp proofing treatments.
What are the signs that I have a condensation issue?
The obvious places for condensation to occur are on cold walls and floors, but it can also occur in roof spaces and in sub-floor areas where there is a timber suspended floor. In the latter case, it can lead to dry rot or wet rot developing in floor timbers. Atlantis Damp Proofing and Timber specialists are able to provide expert condensation advice relevant to your property.
What causes condensation?
How can I reduce the effects of condensation?
What do I do next?
What is the difference between Wet and Dry Rot?
Dry-rot fungus is often thought of as a building cancer, rampaging through buildings and rapidly destroying any timber in its path. The fungus, which thrives in moist unventilated conditions, will penetrate brickwork to get to more timber and can cause widespread destruction of structural timbers, skirting boards, door frames, and wood flooring. It can occur in the areas of a property that are not often seen, such as floor voids, or behind timber panelling, so damage may be extensive before the attack is discovered.
Compared with dry rot, wet rot is hardly a problem! It is basically the timber decaying naturally in the presence of high levels of moisture. There is almost always a structural defect causing the problem, it may be that the wall adjacent to the timber is suffering from damp, or water collecting on the timber. Any structural problem must be tackled at the same time as the timber is treated otherwise the problem is likely to reoccur.
What are the signs of wet and dry rot?
The problem may just be damaged paint finish on the timber allowing the actual wood to absorb excessive moisture. Damage is normally limited to the timber although the original structural problem may also cause other areas to be affected by damp (such as plaster or just decorations).
Signs of Wet Rot
Wet Rot is mostly likely to be present when you see any of the following features:
- Coniophora puteana – the ‘cellar fungus’ – dark brown to black strands in fern-like patterns, olive brown fruiting body (rare).
- Fibroporia vaillantii – white strands in fern like growths, white fruiting body with pores.
- Asterostroma – brilliant white, fine strands, fruiting body has no pores, mycelium has tiny star structures, visible only under magnification
Signs of Dry Rot
Dry rot is most likely to be apparent when you see any of the following features:
- Strands – fibres, that look like small plant roots, dirty off-white to silver grey in colour. White strands from dry rot are there to penetrate through brickwork and mortar joints to find moisture to transport it to dry and poor ventilated areas. Doing this will help to spread dry rot infection under floors and in ceilings.
- Sheets – called Mycelium – looks like a dirty off-white skin, can be tinged with yellow, can be very wet and occasionally found as billowing cushions of off-white growths.
- Mushroom – Fruiting Body – this produces the Spores – rust red in colour, can spread around onto other surfaces, usually found as a flat body with red spores in the centre and an off-white rim.
- Cubing – wood breaks up into large cubes, but with larger, deeper cracks along the grain than across the grain. Often confused with Wet Rots, some of which produce similar cuboidal cracking, but with much smaller true cubes, rather than the more rectangular.
What’s the treatment for wet and dry rot?
- Timber / source of food (rather obviously)
- Fungal spores
There is only really one on this list that we can have any control over…. Water! Therefore, in order to treat your rot, we must identify the cause of the moisture and then remove that moisture source so that the rot is unable to take hold. That’s where Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists step in.
The treatment is dependent upon each situation and our surveyor will investigate fully the source of dry/wet rot within your property and explore the suitable method of treatment. All of the results and feedback will be provided in a full written report, along with recommendations and details of the cost.
We strive to use environmental controls, such as isolation and ventilation, which ensure that the damp, unventilated conditions required by dry-rot do not occur. However, there may be some instances where removal of the affected timber and chemical fungicide treatments may be required.
What do I do next?
Why do I need a pre purchase damp & timber survey?
What is a Damp and Timber Survey?
Most of the time a pre purchase damp and timber survey is needed following a general survey by the bank or building society chartered surveyor, he or she should be considered much like a GP at a doctors surgery, they have to have a good knowledge on a lot of things and once they identify a problem they will then refer the patient to a specialist who has a strong knowledge on their chosen subject. That’s where Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists step up to the plate!
If instructed, our pre purchase surveys cover the following things:
- Inspection for Rising damp & penetrating damp
- Inspect the wooden floors for rot and beetle infestation
- Assess whether sub floor ventilation is adequate
- Inspect the roof timbers for rot and beetle infestation
- Pass comments on the visible condition of roof coverings and rainwater goods
- Inspect the property for signs of any condensation related issues
- Assess the existing ventilation strategy in the property, such as checking the right type of extractor fans are fitted
- Inspect the basement for signs of water ingress (if there is one of course)
- Pass comment on the general condition of the building
All the above are of course subject to your instruction and requirements. The most important aspect for any survey is whether access within the property is available, surveys will always be limited by things such as dry lining, kitchen units, laminate floor coverings and carpets.
Do you charge?
Also if there isn’t a problem (i.e. an opportunity for us to quote for work) we will tell you. This is of course great for you because you’re not paying for unnecessary work (we wouldn’t have it any other way!) but we do need to cover our costs.
What do I do next?
Why use Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists ?
- All of our surveyors either hold the CSRT (Certificated Surveyor in Remedial Treatments) and the CSSW (Certificated Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing) qualifications or are working towards them.
- We are a family owned business who prides themselves on gaining referrals and repeat business in our local community.
- We are passionate about offering a truly trustworthy and reliable service. If we think a job does NOT need doing then we’ll tell you!
- We are also long standing members of the Property Care Association and we are vetted on a regular basis.
- We carry Professional Indemnity & Public Liability insurance.
- Our work comes with Long Term guarantees, that can be insurance backed if you so wish.