What is the difference between dry and wet rot?

Whenever we find fungal rot decay in a property, one of the most commonly asked questions are ‘What is the difference between dry and wet rot?’. As 2 of the most commonly found forms of decay in residential properties, it is likely you will hear these names being tossed around. This blog will explain the differences along with common treatments to remove them.

What is fungal decay?

Firstly, let’s look at what general fungal decay is. Commonly, fungal decay occurs when the wood is feasted on by different forms of wood-destroying fungi. It can be found when dampness is detected in a home or, with specific types of fungus, on older, dry wood. Either way, this form of decay can be extremely detrimental to the structural integrity of your home. It should always be treated as a priority and by skilled professionals.

What is dry rot?

Caused by the fungi, Serpula lacrymans, dry rot is one of the most dangerous forms of fungal decay in a home. This is because it can spread easily through any dry wood and destroy the vast majority of timber. Commonly, dry rot fungi will leave deep cracks running across the grain of your wood. When exposed to light, this fungus may have a yellow tint to it and infected timber will crumble easily. One of the things to remember is that dry rot is normally restricted to just the timber in your property. However, where flat mushroom-like fungi grow, it can penetrate through plaster or paint.

What is wet rot?

Wet rot commonly occurs on timber that has been damp for some time. There needs to be approximately a 20% moisture content for it to be viable. It is commonly caused by leaks, broken pipes or overflows from cisterns. Wet rot is considered less damaging than dry rot due to the amount of moisture that needs to be present for it to thrive. However, it can still have an impact on the structure of your home. With this form of fungal decay, you may notice black markings on the surface of timber or that it feels soft or spongy to touch. Paints and plasters will undoubtedly be damaged where wet rot is present, however, this may only be visible underneath the initial surface.

How is dry and wet rot treated?

The treatment techniques vary between dry and wet rot. With dry rot, a surveyor will identify the infected area and remove all fungal decayed timber. This area will be treated with a specialist fungicide and ventilation will be installed to prevent future issues. For wet rot, the leak must be dealt with first before all affected timber is replaced. The surrounding area will then be treated with a wood hardener and preservative.

If you think you may have a fungal decay problem in your home, contact Cotswold Treatments here today.