What Causes Dry Rot?

Dry rot spores are present in the majority of homes but will remain completely harmless until the spores come in contact with both moisture and timber. Dry rot is caused when a lack of ventilation combined with dampness provide the ideal conditions for fungal attack. It tends to grow in places people don’t look such as under floorboards and in lofts which often allows the outbreak to go unnoticed and cause significant timber damage. 


Dry Rot Life Cycle 

The spores will begin to grow when in contact with timber and moisture and produce fine white strands (similar to cobwebs) known as hyphae. Hyphae allows the dry rot fungus to feed on the timber, leading to the timber losing its strength and eventually becoming structurally unsound. Eventually the hyphae will run out of timber to feed on so it grows into a cotton wool like mass known as mycelium. Mycelium will spread a considerable distance in search of new timber to feed on, meaning a dry rot outbreak is capable of spreading all over a building, attacking and feeding on timber in the process. Fungi is best suited to dark and damp areas with little to no breeze. When these conditions change, the dry rot’s survival is threatened and its natural reaction is to create a “fruiting body” or sporophore. This pumps dry rot spores back into the atmosphere, searching for new areas where dry rot can grow and the process starts all over again. 

Fruiting Fungal Growth                                                                                            White Fungal Growth - Mycellium


Dry Rot Impact on Buying/Selling a House

If dry rot is left untreated, it will be allowed to spread all over a property and therefore making the treatment process even more expensive. It is this expensive treatment that is often a deal breaker for potential home buyers so it is crucial not to ignore any signs of dry rot in your property. It is not just the treatment cost that will deduct the property’s value but also the time and effort the buyer will have to go to deal with the dry rot outbreak. If you suspect a dry rot outbreak in your home, don’t hesitate to contact a professionally trained surveyor who will either put your mind at ease or recommend a treatment plan tailored to your property. 


Guest blog by Jake Ryan of Wise Property Care


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