Fungal decay is one of the dominant causes of damage to timbers in properties. The two common types of decay being wet rot and dry rot. Fungal decay is a result of excess moisture. This can come from a number of sources such as a, leaking gutter or down pipes, defects in the external structure or condensation within the floor void due to the lack of obstruction of the sub-floor ventilation (air bricks). Fungal decay can affect all types of timber if the moisture content remains above 20%MC, for a prolonged period of time.
Signs of Decay
A regular question from clients is why the decay has affected the damp timber in the first place. The decay effects the damp timber as the fungi produce millions of microscopic spores that get dispersed by air currents, which then land on the timbers. If the timber is dry, they do not germinate, but if the conditions are right then they germinate.
The first sign of decay that people tend to notice is the musty odours. Visible signs include evidence of lifting paintwork or the mycelium that fungi spread over the timber surface and surrounding wall surface. The decay can spread undetected for a long period of time before the structural integrity of the timber finally fails, resulting in movement in the structure. When established, the fungi will form a fruiting body which then release millions of spores out into the atmosphere. This can form as a red dust on surfaces in the case of dry rot.
Identifying Wet or Dry Rot
Identifying which form of decay is affecting your property is crucial to resolving the issue, so that the correct remedial work can be undertaken, and the source of moisture can be addressed.
Incorrect identification and diagnoses from unqualified contractors and surveyors can be costly. White Mycelium produced by fungi are often incorrectly diagnosed as dry rot. Historic decay can cause issues when the timber has dried out but there is active evidence to the fungal decay affecting the timbers.
So, who can you trust to get the correct advice? The Property Care Association provide both training and examination for timber surveyors and are routinely recommended by ‘RICS surveyors’ as the go to organisation to ensure you get the correct advice. The PCA also provide an aberration scheme should there be an issues with the diagnosis or the remedials work undertaken.
Olympic Construction are members of the Property Care Association and a RICS registered company. Our MD is a Fellow Chartered Engineer specialising in dampness and fungal decay and our expert team are highly qualified and experienced in identifying dry and wet rot growth. Finding the source of dampness, eliminating water ingress and promoting drying is our top priority.