Wet Rot FAQ

Wet Rot

Discover our Wet Rot FAQ, unveiling causes, signs, and expert solutions with Richardson and Starling.

Wet rot is the common name which is used to describe a number of wood destroying fungi species. The most common wet rot wood destroying species is “Coniophora Puteana” which is otherwise known as cellar fungus.

Wet rot fungi can affect timber that becomes damp and the fungi grows by breaking down the cell walls of the wood and feeding on the nutrients. This process can be extremely damaging to the structure of your home and it may result in the loss of structural strength of the timber.

Firstly, wet rot should not be confused with the similarly named timber condition, dry rot. Although wet rot does not spread like dry rot, if it is left untreated, it could still cause structural damage to your home.

Wet rot targets unprotected timber that is affected by damp. Due to the often-poor weather conditions in the UK, wet rot is extremely common. Wet rot can cause structural defects within buildings, especially if they are unchecked with no wet rot treatment programme implemented.

In short, any unprotected timber in your home that becomes damp is at risk of a rot attack.

This may seem obvious, but in order to grow, the timber requires to be affected by a source of moisture. There are several things you can look out for that can cause damp that allows the growth of wet rot on timbers. Rising damp, Plumbing leaks and Penetrating damp from gutters, downpipes, defective masonry pointing and poor external render can all cause water penetration to affect built in timbers and result in an outbreak of wet rot.

Wet rot spores germinate and grow as damp raises the moisture content of the timber above 20% putting the timber at risk. Once the timber becomes infected, it will eventually lead to the timber losing its strength.

You may be wondering what the signs are of wet rot that could be affecting your home. If you recognise any of the signs below, we advise that you contact a member of our team immediately.

  • Do you recognise a damp musty smell within your home?
  • Is timber in your home cracking and beginning to soften?
  • Does your floor move when you walk over it?
  • Is timber in your home discoloured or weak?
  • Is there fungal growth on sections of your wood?

There are many types of wet rot and each affects timber in different ways.

It is important to ensure that the outbreak of wet rot is diagnosed properly and that you are sure it is not dry rot. If you do not have the experience to identify and treat the outbreak you could make the situation worse and cost you more money to resolve. In the past, many of our customers have had difficulty identifying the difference between wet rot and dry rot. Knowing the difference is important as Dry rot is a serious wood destroying fungi that can be extremely damaging to the structure of your home and will travel away from the source of the outbreak.

If there is no obvious fungus present on the affected section of the wood it is sometimes difficult to determine wet rot from dry rot. One of our property care surveyors will get to the heart of the problem and diagnose the rot type and then specify the necessary treatment to eradicate it.

When unprotected timber in your property becomes damp then the timber could be at risk of an attack of wet rot. Every home is different, and the rot can occur anywhere, however, wet rot is commonly found in ground floors and roofs with timbers built into the external walls of your property at risk if they are affected by damp.

The most common causes of damp affecting timber in your home are due to building defects such as penetrating damp caused by defective external render or pointing, rainwater goods, and roof defects. Also, internal plumbing leaks, rising damp or damp areas below floors can cause the wet rot to germinate and affect the timber.

With something as serious as wet rot, it will require professional attention. In most cases, wet rot decay is typically found in the dampest areas of a property.

This may not be an easy problem to fix as you must find and eliminate the source of the water ingress. This will make sure that the rot will not return. Wet rot treatment generally involves the replacement and treatment of timber within the infected area.

Even if you are questioning the idea that there might be wet rot in your property, we would advise that you have it checked with one of our experienced property surveyors. A member of our team will be able to recognise and specify the remedial treatment to solve your wet rot problem.

We are extremely confident that we can help you resolve your wet rot problem. Our business has been helping homes across Scotland and North England for over eight decades. The longevity of our business is due to the success of our property surveys and repairs.

Our full rot treatment is covered by our 30-year guarantee. We understand that property care and repair isn’t always straightforward and want to give our customers peace of mind that their specific property problem has been resolved.