Dry rot is one of the leading causes of early degradation of house materials, especially wood. You may not notice the growth of such type of fungus at first, but when left untreated, it can pose a serious danger not only to your house but your health and your family’s as well.
Do Not Let The Name Fool You
Rot can occur in unprotected lumber materials inside your home, as well as in fences and building facades that frequently exposed to high levels of water vapor and moisture. Often, damp conditions inside the house provide an ideal breeding ground for fungal spores to easily develop and multiply. Over time, these silent menace destroy the lumber or even other masonry materials inside your home, which in turn can put you and your family’s life at risk. One of the most dangerous types of fungal attack that can cause serious damage to your house’s structure is that of dry rot.
Do not let the name mislead you. Dry rot is not actually dry. Rather, this type of fungus loves to hang out in moist, dark and hidden places around your house. Since wood materials are highly susceptible to moist, they are the usual target of dry rot. The fungus then digests parts of the lumber that provides the lumber with strength and stiffness, eventually causing it to weaken. Dry rot fungus got its name due to its unusual ability to transport water from wet areas to dry areas, allowing the fungus to thrive even in dry wood.
Dry rot development is a clear indication of poor design, maintenance and infection. If left untreated, it can cause extensive damage to the structure of your home.
How to Identify if the Silent Menace Is Attacking Your Home
Dry rot exhibits different characteristics depending on its development extent. At first, it spreads fine pale-gray strands in different directions, which in turn infect the lumber. In damp condition, the strands are accompanied by cotton wool-like white growths.
As the fungi progress, they appear as wrinkled, bulging pancake that produce rust-colored spores. When released into the air, the spores then covers the surrounding masonry and lumber. The infested wood will turn brownish and brittle and will exhibit cracks, causing the wood to break into cube-like pieces. You will also smell a musty, mushroom-like smell produced by the fungus.
Dealing with Dry Rot
Since the fungus can penetrate both wood and masonry, it can be quite difficult to identify the extent of its development on your own. Hence, unless the outbreak is minor or self contained, the treatment of dry rot should always be left to the hands of professionals.
If you do decide to address small infected areas on your own, the first thing that you have to do is to eliminate the sources of dampness. You also need to make sure that your home is properly ventilated to avoid recurrence. It is also advised that you cut out all the infected lumber to at least 18 inches beyond the last sign of visibility of the rot. For masonry, wire brush the infected areas, collect the debris and burn them.
To kill the remaining spores, apply several coats of or liquid fungicidal preservative on all woodwork, masonry, drywall or plaster at least 5 feet within the infected area. Make sure to wear the right protective clothing when applying the solution and follow the instructions of the manufacturer.
If your home’s walls are penetrated by dry rot strands, drill regularly spaced staggered holes into both sides of the wall. Make sure that the holes are angled downward for the fluid to be collected there. Such an angle will also help the walls to saturate properly. After applying the treatment cover the holes again.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
As with any other issue, prevention is always better than cure, and this also applies in managing dry rot. If you want to make sure that your home will not encounter dry rot damage, it is in your best interest to eliminate or reduce excess moisture. This may be as simple as repairing a leaky pipe in your bathroom or basement, or fixing the holes in your roof.
The post above was written and researched by Robert Swan who runs Aqua Protection a Roofing Company in Scotland, providing roofing services throughout the UK to both residentiall and commercial clients. His company Aqua Protectionalso carries out a wall coating service to customers all over the UK.