Wet Rot

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Delivering Property Care since 1935
PCA Property Care Contractor of the year 2016

Do you have a
wet rot problem?

Wet Rot

Wet rot is a common term for describing a number of wood destroying fungi species. The most common of said species is ‘coniophora putana’, otherwise known as cellar fungus. It is named so as it is typically found in lower ground areas including cellars and basements. 

Wet rot fungi can affect wood that becomes damp and the fungi grows by destroying parts of the wood cells and stealing the nutrients from them. Overall this can be extremely damaging to the overall structure of your home and often results in the structural strength being weakened. 

There are many types of wet rots which can destroy the timber in homes. A few of these are easily identified and treated whereas others are rarer and cause more serious damage to the structural timber of a property. 

How Wet Rot Happens

Wet rot is initially caused by the area of timber being affected by moisture. Any type of damp can raise the moisture content which causes the wet rot spores to germinate and attack the timber. Once the timber has become affected by fungal attack the damage caused can be very serious. Some of the most common causes of damp affecting timber are:
Timber beam damaged by wet rot
Wet rot is essentially a fungus infection that feeds on the timber which thrives under damp conditions such as the ones above. Some internal issues such as leaking radiators can also cause a wet rot problem. These are common causes of a wet rot outbreak and can happen to any unprotected or untreated timber in any home or building quite easily. If the moisture content of the timber rises above 20% then this puts the wood at risk of fungal spores germinating and feeding on the timber which can cause structural damage.

How to Identify Wet Rot

Damage caused by wet rot
Rot problems can look very similar. Still, if you notice a strange fungus growing on timber, if it starts to look bleached or if the paint starts to flake, it will be worth investigating. If you find that the wood feels soft or starts to crumble, you may well have a wet rot problem. Even if you are unsure, get in touch with Richardson & Starling, we can carry out a thorough survey to assess whether you have a wet rot problem. 
If you are making an initial assessment and would like to know some of the most common signs of wet rot, they are:
  • a damp musty smell in the home
  • timber cracking or softening 
  • floorboards moving
  • discoloured timber
  • fungal growth on timber 
If you recognise any of these signs in your home or a building you manage, you should contact Richardson & Starling immediately. Wood that has been affected by wet rot is typically soft and spongy and often has a darker appearance than normal wood, due to the moisture and the fungal growth. If the wood in your home is painted it may be masking the decay. You will often have to poke it with a screwdriver to discover if it has been affected by wet rot and is structurally unsound.

Wet Rot or Dry Rot

In the past, many of our customers have had trouble identifying whether they have a wet rot or dry rot problem. Dry rot is a serious wood destroying fungi that can cause extreme structural damage to your property.

If there is no obvious fungus present on the visible section of the wood it is often difficult to determine if it affected by wet rot or dry rot. One of our property care experts will have the ability to strip back the wood behind the decayed timber, to get to the heart of the problem and determine the rot type, then specify the necessary treatment to eradicate it. 

Wet rot is thankfully not as destructive as dry rot, although it can still cause severe structural damage if left untreated. This is why it is best to have it checked sooner rather than later if you believe your property may be at risk.

Types of Wet Rot Wood Treatment

As mentioned, the first and most crucial part of wet rot treatment is to cut off the source of moisture. We would then make sure that the surrounding area will now dry out, it is only after this point that we can hope to eradicate the problem. 

There are different stages of wet rot and therefore different levels of wet rot treatment. If it is only a small area of infestation, then the wood can simply be removed and replaced by a small piece of replacement timber. We would often use a fungicidal treatment with this method to ensure that the area does not become susceptible to wet rot again.

We have seen more serious cases where the affected area has lost the majority of its strength and stability. In this type of wet rot, we would consider removing the timber as a whole and have it replaced with pre-treated new wood that will be protected against potential wet rot fungi.
In the worst case scenario, the wet rot problem will be so bad that extensive building work will have to be carried out in order to restore the buildings structural integrity. 

It is for this reason that we advise getting the problem checked out before the damage gets any worse.

Richardson & Starling’s Wet Rot Treatment

Wet rot is a serious problem. But stopping it means stopping the dampness: get rid of the underlying source of the damp, and you’re on the way to getting rid of the problem. After we’ve carried out our detailed survey, we may need to expose the building fabric in order to assess the full extent of the wet rot. Once this is done, we’ll repair the timber which has been affected or replace it. We’ll also carry out wet rot treatments with chemicals and install damp proof barriers to protect the timbers. 

Richardson & Starling have worked on many wet rot problems in many different types of buildings. This will often include old, historical buildings such as churches. In this type of wet rot treatment, you need to consider not just restoring the building’s integrity but also not removing its historic material where possible or affecting its appearance as it is often a piece of local history and should be dealt with in a sympathetic way.
Something as serious as wet rot requires an experts’ attention. In most cases, wet rot decay is typically found where damp is affecting the property. This means it may not be an easy problem to fix, the water ingress source must be cut off to ensure that the wet rot will not return. During the treatment for wet rot you will often have to replace and treat the timber within the infected area. This simply involves removing the rotten wood, replacing it with solid protected timber and the surrounding area should be treated with a fungicidal preservative to protect the area during the drying out process. It is for this reason that an expert is best to provide the treatment. 
Wet Rot on the board
Even if you are unsure if you have a wet rot problem, it is best to have the area checked out by one of our experienced property surveyors to ensure that your home is not at risk of serious damage.

Why Choose Richardson & Starling for Wet Rot Wood Treatment

We were named ‘United Kingdom Contractor of the Year 2017’ by the Property Care Association (PCA), therefore it is safe to say we know a fair bit about property care. Don’t just believe us, read our reviews! We have been in business for over eight decades and in that time, we have gained a wealth of knowledge across all sectors of property care and preservation. You will receive a high standard of service, a guarantee you can trust and you won’t regret using us for your wet rot treatment. 
One thing we take great pride in is the service we provide to our customers. In order to maintain a high level of service we need people we can trust. Our staff are our biggest asset at Richardson & Starling and we can confidently say that they are each expert in their field. 

What gives us a competitive advantage is the positive way we treat our staff and our customers. We seek to always find the most appropriate and cost-effective solution for our customers to solve their property problem, whether it be for wet rot treatment, basement waterproofing or damp proofing.
If you have a property issue in mind, get in touch with us today and arrange for one of our experienced surveyors to look over your property. We can carry out our wet rot treatment efficiently and carefully, ensuring that the most appropriate remedial specification is used.

If You Require Treatment for Wet Rot

Don’t waste any time in contacting Richardson & Starling. Our experienced surveyors can inspect your property problem and recommend a suitable course of action. Wet rot is not a problem easily dealt with alone and as property care specialists we have over 80 years’ experience in dealing with wet rot and other types of property preservation issues. With branches in Scotland and the North of England please contact the branch nearest you.

Would like to find out more about Wet Rot?

Frequently Asked Questions about Wet Rot

Thank you for your help, quality of service and finished job.

Mr Dellwo
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