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 3 elements to grow: AIR / WATER / FOOD

Water ingress is one of the major 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.

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 3 elements is then removed (such as the water drying due to a long hot summer),the Dry Rot becomes “stressed” and 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 weep or cry to reflect the tear like droplets sometimes found in severe cases. As the following picture, taken recently, beautifully illustrates

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 re-instatement works.


Autumn in Fife: fresh bright mornings, beautiful colours, striking scenery and… rain.

As much as we’d like to ignore it, the truth is that Scotland’s rainfall is the highest in the UK, with last year’s September/October drizzle clocking in at 150% over met office averages.

Stormy weather in Fife

Image courtesy of Dan at

Unfortunately, water can have a devasting effect on your property and the invitable leaks brought on by autumn showers can lead to wet rot, or its more harmful cousin, dry rot. Both can ultimately cause structural defects in your building.

Autumn is a good time to give your property a once over; especially as leaves start to fall you should regularly check your guttering, pipework and other drainage systems for blockages and leaks. It is worth also examining your roof for missing slates or tiles, which could provide heavy rainfall with an entrance to your property and pave the way to serious internal problems.

Leaking gutters and roofing defects can cause penetrating dampness, which can prove tricky to pinpoint without the help of a damp expert. It is vital never to ignore any obvious signs of water seepage and contact a surveyor at the first sign of dampness, either inside or outside the building.

The Preservation Company, owned and managed by Gavin White, can effectively treat and remove dry rot, wet rot, woodworm and many other forms of fungal decay. Based in the historic city of St. Andrews, our main areas of operation include Fife, Dundee, Perth, Edinburgh, Dollar and Stirling.

At the completion of all contracts we provide the option of a 20-year peace of mind guarantee, so why not contact us to see how we can dry up your dampness concerns today?


The Preservation Company is delighted to announce the sponsorship of a hole on Muckhart Golf Course.

The popular course easily rivals other more famous golfing havens, such as those at Loch Lomond and Gleneagles, for spectacular scenery as it is located at the very foot of the majestic Ochil Hills. The Ochils form one of the most striking hill-profiles in Britain, visible from anywhere within a broad arc from Stirling in the South-West, to the Kincardine Bridge in the South-East. Muckhart Golf Course itself is ideally placed in central Scotland as it is within no more than an hour’s drive for most of our country’s golfers.

Muckhart golf club - sponsorship

A total 27 holes of golf are offered over three nine-hole courses (Cowden, Naemoor and Arndean) and the club sits right at the heart of the Muckhart community, providing the ideal spot to relax and unwind for amateurs and professionals alike.

The Preservation Company joins other local companies and fellow golfing enthusiasts including Blinkered Digital Marketing, Scott Marshall Joinery and Colorado Group on the Cowden Course. Number Five is the hole of choice – we hope to see you there.

For more information visit
Muckhart Golf Club
Drumburn Road
By Dollar
FK14 7JH
Tel: 01259 781423

We have been asked many times what separates us from the competition, what is it that makes us better than the rest?

Like most things in life, the biggest differences are achieved by getting the small things right.

One of the ways we do that is by leaving a home the way we would like our own to be left after tradesmen visit to carry out the necessary work.

Have a look at the example below:

In conjunction with the proprietor of the ground floor property, all decayed joist ends were cut out and new joists attached, floor deafened and new flooring laid over.

We started work on this property on the 19th March and completed the work, which included relaying the floor and carpet, by the 21st of March.

Like many old buildings, this central St Andrews property had suffered from minor yet long-standing damp ingress through a roof valley gutter. Slight damp staining to the wall plaster below and raised moisture meter readings led to our recommendations necessitating localised plaster and lath removals to expose concealed structural timbers.

Whilst the face of the timber safe lintel appeared sound and free from defect we, as experienced specialists, opted to investigate further. We insisted that the masonry adjacent to the lintel be removed and our suspicions were justified. The lintels are now removed and replaced in pre-stressed concrete.

An inexperienced eye may well have left the lintels in situ and, under the assumption that the roof valley repairs by a previous company would have dealt with the problem, this relatively localised wet rot situation could in fact have easily resulted in a large-scale dry rot attack. Not so!

The untrained eye may well look at a section of timber (in this case the exposed soffit lintel section over a window opening), and decide it is in good condition. However, removal of the lintel did reveal – as anticipated – decayed timber and as such, stripping of timbers, wall sterilisation and reinstatement works were undertaken.

Picture 1 is the condition of the joist end to the roof void eaves that was initially inspected. The decay was only visible because our surveyor removed the random infill between the joist ends. The underside of the window lintel to the kitchen below appeared to be sound from underneath, as is often the case. Once removed it is clear just how decayed the timber was. An inexperienced surveyor may well have missed this.

St Andrews - lintel appearing sound but not

Lintel appearing sound - initial inspection

St Andrews - lintel not sound

Lintel unsound - after removal of random infill between joists


What is this seemingly innocuous plant that is affecting so many home owners and causing untold distress?

A member of the Buckwheat plant family Polygonaceae, Japanese Knotweed is widely recognised as the single most invasive species of plant growing in the UK today. Originally native to Japan, China and Korea, it is believed to have been introduced to Britain by a Victorian horticulturalist in 1824 both as cattle feed and as a decorative shrub. Nearly two centuries later this large, herbaceous perennial is abundant throughout the UK and causes millions of pounds worth of damage every year.

What issues does Japanese Knotweed cause?

Many issues unfortunately, Japanese Knotweed is listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s 100 Worst Invasive Species, such is its resilience. Dormant rhizomes can survive temperatures of -35°C then re-sprout vigorously the following spring. Cutting the rhizome only results in a hearty reappearance of new shoots. Starving the plant of water has zero effect, and regular domestic toxic weedkillers have little effect.

The roots and stem growth of the plant itself damages building sites, foundations, walls, drains, buildings, paving, roads, flood defences, road surfaces – the list is endless. It also harms entire ecosystems as its dense clusters completely crowd out any other existing herbaceous species and wildlife. Typically regeneration occurs during the spread of Knotweed contaminated soil when a site is developed, as less than 1cm of the rhizome can quickly sprout into a viable new plant.

Site owners can expect a reduction in land value and it is normal for mortgage lenders to refuse a mortgage for a property where Japanese Knotweed is present or known to be growing on adjacent land (valuation surveyors are trained to spot Knotweed for this very purpose). It is then necessary to provide proof that the infestation is being dealt with by a professional eradication programme for a mortgage to go ahead, and often the costs involved are subtracted from the value to be loaned on the property. Similarly, planning permission for sites or building developments is likely to be refused without first evidence of a recognised eradication programme being in place.

Watch the video below for a deeper understanding of the problems Japanese Knotweed can cause:

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Having dealt with the smallest of concerns to very large contracts over a 30-year period, The Preservation Company is well equipped to assess and deal with any remedial treatment, diagnosis and repair issues that you may have.

As well as obtaining industry recognised CSRT status in 1997, Managing Director Gavin White, also undertook and obtained the Hidden Defects Insurance Auditor status in 2009. This qualification cements the company’s ability to fully assess properties and in effect undertake a full property “Health Check”.

The team have specialised in preservation for most of their working lives and combine over 100 years of experience and skill.

Whether you are affected by condensation, rising damp, penetrating damp or rot, The Preservation Company will attend to your needs both promptly and efficiently with as stress-free a solution as is possible.

Read what our clients have to say about our service, team and value for money on our preservation testimonials page.