Wet Rot

What is Wet Rot?

Wet rot is a common affliction that affects interior and exterior timber. Wet rot is actually caused by a fungus that attacks wood that has been wet for a long period of time. There is not a single type of fungus that causes wet rot but in fact many species of fungus are described as wet rot. The moisture content of wood needs to constantly be above around 20% moisture for these fungi to survive. In this blog post we will outline the causes of wet rot, describe the symptoms and appearance of wet rot and explain how we, as property preservation professionals, treat wet rot outbreaks.

What causes wet rot?

As we touched on above, wet rot is caused by a number of species of fungus which grow on timber when it suffers from prolonged periods of wetness. There are actually two main types of wet rot which are widely described as:

Brown Rot – which causes timber to become darker

White Rot – which causes timber to lighten, or bleach

Common Wet Rot Fungi

These are some of the more common species of wet rot fungus however there are many more! It can be tricky to determine the exact species of wet rot fungus that your timbers are suffering from.

Cellar Fungus (Coniophora puteana) – Brown Rot

cellar fungus

Mine Fungus (Fibroporia vaillantii) – Brown Rot

Oyster Fungus (Pleurotus ostreatus) – White Rot

Oyster Fungus

What does wet rot look like?

As mentioned, it is important to determine that the issue you are facing is definitely wet rot which is not to be confused with the similarly sounding dry rot or a host of other issues. Let’s have a look at some of the common signs of wet rot:

  • Cuboidal cracking in the wood
  • A damp stench
  • Soft, rotten wood
  • Timber can crumble when handled
  • General timber decay
  • Darkening in colour of wood
  • Fungus growth in particular areas

How to treat wet rot?

Even though there are many different types of fungus that cause wet rot they are all treated in the same way.

The first step is to conduct a damp and timber survey of the affected property. It is important to determine how much timber is affected by the wet rot attack and whether or not this is having an impact on the structural integrity of the building.

Next, we would seek out the source of moisture and remedy the situation.

After the source of moisture has been stopped it is important to allow the area to dry and quickly as possible. This can be sped up by increasing air flow around the affected areas.

Any timber than is irreparable will then be removed from the site.

All remaining timber will then be treated with the appropriate fungicidal treatments to ensure the longevity of the material.

A suitable preservative treatment will then be applied to the timbers which may remain damp, to prevent reoccurrence of wet rot.

Timbers that were removed will be replaced with pre-treated material that is resistant to wet rot.

If further waterproofing and damp proofing treatments are required these will also be conducted during the remedial work.

How Can We Help With Wet Rot?

Insitu SCP are one of the most established names in building preservation in the South East of England, with over 40 years’ experience in the industry. We have a team of qualified and friendly damp and timber surveyors who have years of experience in the industry. We can conduct a thorough survey on your property, to spot for any signs of damp or timber issues. We will then produce a thorough written report highlighting any issues that we have spotted. We can also undertake any remedial work to solve the issues, as we have a brilliant construction team on hand. Once any work is complete, we cover it with our 10-year guarantee so that you can rest assured that your property is safe from the dangers of condensation for the future.

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