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Ideal Dry Rot Conditions?

This article was originally published in 2013, but the information found in this article remains accurate to this day. Do you have problems with Dry Rot? Check out our more comprehensive guide to Dry Rot and Wet Rot and our dedicated page highlighting our Dry Rot Treatment service.

A wet winter followed by a warm summer means ideal conditions for the growth of the Dry rot fungi. A poorly maintained property, where excess water is permitted to enter the fabric of the building through the wetter Months, sets up ideal conditions for germination and often abundant growth of wood rotting fungi through the warmer Summer Months.

The long, wet Winter of 2012/13 through into the exceptionally long, warm Summer of 2013 has seen a drastic rise in Dry rot enquiries to The Preservation Company and here is why:

Dry rot needs three elements to grow: AIR / WATER / FOOD

Water ingress is one of the significant factors in producing an environment ideal for growth. If we use timber as an example of food, the spores land on damp timber, feed off the timber and “rot” the wood. This eventually, over time, results in the complete breakdown of the structure of the wood, which could be your first indication of a problem.

Dry rot spores are always present in the atmosphere, and simply need to find the right environment for germination.

Extreme example of dry rot

Reddish brown Dry Rot Spores

Germinating spores produce hyphae (strands). Like roots, the hyphae strands grow and then colonise to produce mycelium growth, as shown below.

Dry Rot – “cotton wool like” Mycelium

If one of the three elements is removed (such as the water drying due to a long hot summer), the Dry Rot becomes “stressed”. It produces a fruiting body (sporophore), which sheds its spores into the atmosphere in an attempt to reproduce and continue the lifecycle and growth of the Dry Rot fungi.

 Fruiting Body / Sporophore

The Dry Rot fungi (Serpula Lacrymans) – Lacrymans means to weep or cry to reflect the tear-like droplets sometimes found in severe cases.

If you think you have any of the signs of Dry Rot, the most important thing is to act quickly. Dry Rot favours dark, damp conditions and is thus often difficult to locate (under floors and within roof voids). However, once discovered, it can be readily eradicated simply by taking better control of your home environment, repairing any building defects that have contributed to the outbreak and, of course, the specialist use of timber and masonry preservatives and appropriate reinstatement works.

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Gavin White
About the author

Gavin White

Gavin is an experienced and trusted building preservation and restoration professional with over 40 years of expertise in the field. He is the founder of the Preservation Company, which he established in 2009, and holds certifications in CSTDB, CSSW, and SWD. His dedication to preserving and restoring historical buildings has earned him a reputation as a highly skilled and respected professional in his industry.

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