Damp timbers, musty smells and dark brown stains are all signs that your home could be affected by wet rot. Caused by fungal spores feeding on damp timbers, if wet rot isn’t treated quickly, it can lead to potentially serious structural damage to your property.

Homeowners need to be aware of the initial signs of wet rot. If you suspect that timbers in your home could be affected by wet rot, it’s best to have a specialist survey carried out to identify and remove the cause.

In this article, the expert team at Danford, Brewer & Ives answer the question, ‘what is wet rot in wood?’ and explain how and why it needs to be treated.

What Is the Difference Between Wet Rot and Dry Rot?

There are two types of wood rot that can affect your home, and both are caused by fungal spores spreading and feeding off timbers. These two types of rot are known as wet and dry rot, and both require moisture to be present in order for the fungal spores to be activated.

But what is wet rot in wood? Wet rot is so-called because it requires much higher levels of moisture than dry rot. Wet rot can only occur in extremely damp and moist conditions, whereas dry rot can take hold in much drier conditions (although some moisture is needed to activate the spores).

Wet rot and dry rot both consume the cellulose in timbers, which in turn causes woodwork in your home to decay and deteriorate if left unchecked. Wet rot largely remains static, whereas dry rot can quickly spread through a home.

Knowing how to identify the initial signs of rot can help you to stop any decay before the fungal spores have a chance to spread through your home. The most common signs of wet rot in the home include:

  • Discoloured timbers (either dark brown or white stains)
  • Damp patches
  • Damp, musty or mushroomy smells
  • Visible fungus
  • Visible damage or decay to timbers and woodwork

Telling the difference between different types of rot can be difficult, as both wet and dry rot have similar telltale signs and will require slightly different treatments. For this reason, we recommend asking a professional for advice before having any treatments carried out.

Will Vinegar Stop Wood Rot?

It can be tempting to look for a quick fix when you’re Googling answers to the question, ‘what is wet rot in wood?’ But it’s important to make sure the fix you’re applying is going to be the best solution.

One popular remedy for wood rot is vinegar because vinegar’s acidity has the ability to act as a fungicide that kills off fungal spores. Vinegar can stop fungal spores from spreading, allowing you to contain the wood rot and stop it from causing further damage, but it’s not the only treatment that can or needs to be applied.

Does Bleach Kill Wet Rot?

Like vinegar, another popular remedy for wet rot is bleach. It’s likely that you’ll have bleach in the home, and a bleach solution can prevent wet rot from spreading further. Like vinegar, bleach works as a fungicide and it kills the spores and therefore contains the spread of the rot.

Using bleach or vinegar may be a short-term fix, but it’s important to ask for expert advice. The extent of the wood rot may not be easily identifiable, and it may be difficult for you to find the source of dampness or rot that’s causing it to spread through the home.

What to Put on Wood Rot to Prevent Rotting?

Prevention is always preferable to treating wood rot. Treatments can be disruptive and costly if the rot has taken hold and is well established, and it’s much more effective to keep your timbers rot free, rather than waiting for problems to arise before applying treatments.

The best way to prevent wood rot is to have timbers coated in long-lasting chemical fungicides. These not only kill any existing spores but prevent them from being able to establish themselves in the wood. A damp and timber survey can help to identify where these need to be applied, and if any rot might already exist.

Fungicides are effective when the rot is on the surface, but if wet rot has already eaten into timbers, they will need to be replaced entirely. The new timbers then need to be coated in fungicides to stop the problem from returning.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Rot?

The cost to fix rot varies from one home to another. Costs largely depend on the type of rot that’s affecting your home, how far it has spread, and how much damage has been caused. If rot has spread throughout the home causing damage along the way, this will cost more to fix than isolated incidents of rot in one or two rooms.

If the rot has begun destroying important structural timbers, then costs can add up. Damaged timbers need to be removed and replaced, and this can involve lots of disruptive work. As mentioned, the most cost-effective way to treat rot is to prevent it. Ensure timbers are treated with fungicides, keep an eye out for those initial signs of rot, and always act quickly to remove any types of rot before they can cause damage.

Contact Danford, Brewer & Ives for More Information About Wet Rot in Wood

Learning more about what is wet rot in wood is an excellent way to help you identify the first signs of rot in your home. Due to the serious nature of wet rot, we always recommend calling in a professional to identify the cause of rot and to advise on the best treatments for your property.

For more information and to learn more about ‘what is wet rot in wood?’ please contact our friendly team on 01765 804050 or fill in our online contact form. Our experienced specialists will be on hand, ready to offer expert advice tailored to your needs.