What is dry rot and how is it treated?

Dry rot can lead to serious structural damage in your home, and should be treated as quickly as possible. So, how is it identified and what are the steps you need to take to deal with the problem?

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Despite its name, dry rot will not grow in dry conditions, rather it needs around 20% moisture in the timber to take hold. The source is the combination of fungal spores already present in the wood and the levels of moisture.

What conditions cause dry rot?

Typically, properties with poor ventilation or high levels of humidity are susceptible to dry rot. This is often evidenced by a propensity for windows to mist up. It can also be caused by a leak, and it is important to identify the source of this before attempting to treat the problem.

Often dry rot is found in areas which are difficult to access such as roof spaces, behind walls or under floorboards. Signs to look out for are damaged or brittle timber, musty smells, damp patches, deep cracks or visible fungi.

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What should I do if I suspect my property has dry rot?

It is always best to have a surveyor assess the full extent of the damage. If you own a property in the capital, or its environs, and need a building survey London is the best place to start. You will find many options online and can, for example, visit Sam Conveyancing to find a number of RICS surveyors who will be able to help with the problem.

The source of dry rot is a fungal growth, fed by the moisture in the wood, and a surveyor may recommend that you treat it with a fungicide. They will, however, make a complete assessment of the situation, including the source of any water access and suggest solutions.

Be prepared, nevertheless, to be told that timbers need to be replaced. To access them plaster may have to be removed, but it is crucial that you deal with the matter as soon as possible, with professional advice, before the problems multiply. Untreated dry rot can result in more damage to the property.

If you are thinking of selling the property in the future, a full building survey carried out on behalf of the purchaser will reveal any dry rot issues, and affect the chances of you completing a purchase.

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