A Simple Guide for Buying or Selling a House with Dry Rot

Guide for Buying or Selling a House with Dry Rot

Buying or selling a house with dry rot can be a big challenge for both the buyer and seller. In comparison to wet rot, dry rot is more dangerous. It is a type of fungi that spreads rapidly without showing any signs of damage.

If you are trying to sell a house with dry rot, it would be a smarter idea to treat dry rot to a certain level at least, before you put up the house for sale. If you live in a place where dry rot is a common problem, it is highly advised that you get your home inspected professionally before putting it up for sale.

You might think that it is not essential to treat dry rot before selling the house; however, it can leave a significant impact on its selling price. If a buyer detects dry rot, you will likely get a lower price for your house in comparison to the amount you pay for treatment. If dry rot is mostly on the surface of the wood and has not penetrated deep into the wood or not caused any structural damage to the house, then chances are that you will have to pay less for treatment.

Sometimes, dry rot treatment can be simple as cleaning rot where you only need wood treatment along with a fresh coat of wood paint. In such a case, you would only spend a few hundred pounds maybe, but you will probably gain thousands of pounds on your property’s value.

As a buyer, you would have to keep your eyes open and be well aware of how you should inspect dry rot. You might not take dry rot seriously before purchasing the house, but after purchasing, it would be on your shoulders solely to treat dry rot if you do not want to deal with further structural damage.

A few signs that might help you detect dry rot:

  • Pungent smell
  • Puckered wood or bumpy wood
  • Soft or spongy wood
  • Wood cracks
  • Paint cracks or chipping
  • Wood discoloration

If you see any of these signs, make sure that you inspect it further by poking the wood with a screwdriver or a knife.

However, if you are purchasing a house where dry rot is a common problem, it is advised that you take a professional with you so that there is no chance of missing any sign of dry rot. An expert will not only investigate dry rot, but he/she will also tell you about the scale of damage. Getting a professional’s help is a smarter idea than trying to investigate dry rot by yourself because detecting it requires experience.

In case you have already bought a home, and found dry rot in it, then hiring a professional to investigate dry rot should be your top priority. After investigation, make sure that you get dry rot treated at earliest to stop it from spreading and causing devastating damages to property.


rotten old wooden window frame

How to Inspect Your Windows and Doors for Wood Rot

Guide to Inspecting Your Windows and Doors for Wood Rot

Wood rot initially might not appear to be a big problem. It may often go completely obscure. Essentially, dry wood rot is a fungus that spreads and grows in the moist areas within the wood. Windows and doors are at high risk of wood rot. Therefore, you would have to keep an eye on every change in your windows and doors.

Dry rot is more dangerous than wet rot. The sooner you will detect dry rot in your windows and doors; more are the chances that you will be able to fix the problem without spending a ton of money. However, if you delay the wood rot inspection and detect it when it is too late, then you would be left with no other choice but to replace the wood. In the worst case, the dry wood rot can cause structural damage to your home.

To stay on the safe side, inspecting dry wood rot should be on your to-do list regularly; especially for the parts of the house that are exposed to water or receives the most rainfall. Older homes are at a higher risk of dry wood rot as compared to homes built within two years. If you detect dry wood rot, fixing it should be on top of your to-do list because you should never delay its treatment on your windows and doors.

There are a few signs that might help you detect wood rot:

Wood Feels Soft to Touch:

The wood should never feel soft! If your wood feels soft or spongy, you should immediately check for dry rot.

Discolouration:

If you see that colour of your window or door is changing, then it might be an indicator of dry rot. If your wood is painted, you might see signs like paint chipping or crackers before wood discolouration is apparent.

Wood Starts To Pucker Or Crack:

Cracks or splitting can occur due to several reasons; however, if your window or door has started to pucker or bump, then it is a clear sign of dry rot.

Dry Rot Smell:

If your windows and/or doors have dry rot, it might emit a musty, fungal and damp smell. The smell does not indicate the intensity/level of dry rot; however, it plays a crucial role in detecting dry rot at an early stage.

If you inspect any of these signs, you should contact a professional to investigate the damage and get help to resolve the problem. However, you can start the inspection yourself by poking the wood with a knife or a screwdriver. If the wood has dry rot, you will be able to poke a hole in wood easily. Damp rot signs are usually more visible; thus, it is possible to take care of it and fix it on time. Whereas, dry rot acts more like a silent killer for wood.


rotten old wooden window frame

Your Essential Guide To Dry Rot Prevention

Essential Guide To Preventing Dry Rot

Almost everyone has heard of the saying “Prevention is better than cure,”. However, in the case of dry rot, which is one of the top destroyers of wood, this saying fits well.

Wise homeowners are proactive about their approach towards dry rot infestation, and you should be too! Unfortunately, dry rot can set in from very little damp in wood. However, if you are vigilant, you can prevent dry rot in your home in the first place.

What Is Dry Rot?

Dry rot is a menace that destroys the wood from the inside out. In essence, dry rot is a fungus that causes the wood to lose its stiffness and structural integrity, leaving it weak and rotted. Despite its name, dry rot needs moisture to start.

According to the experts, houses with poor ventilation and high humidity or moisture are often affected by it. Once the dry rot fungus infests wood, it requires little to no water or moisture to spread, and then, it spreads quickly throughout wooden structures. Unfortunately, most people are unable to identify the signs of dry rot infestation. However, you can take measures to prevent it from getting a foothold.

How To Prevent Dry Rot?

As explained earlier, homes with high levels of humidity and poor airflow are prone to dry rot. Therefore, to prevent dry rot from setting in, here are a few guidelines:

Inspect Your Roof for Leaks and Repair Them

Look at your roof from the inside and the outside. If you wish to be thorough, look for leaks and repair them immediately because moisture and water can get in from even the smallest of leaks, which can then end encouraging dry rot.

Inspect the Ventilation

Proper ventilation is essential to keep wood dry and prevent air from getting too damp. Thus, you can check the ventilation in your home to make sure all areas are adequately ventilated. Crawl spaces and the attic are usually the poorly ventilated areas in a property. Therefore, pay attention to them and make adjustments where necessary.

Inspect the Insulation

Poor insulation, as well as the incorrect installation of insulation,  can lead to conditions that cause dry rot. Make sure that your home is adequately insulated, especially the attic floor and walls.

Inspect The Plumbing

A leaking pipe from poor plumbing can result in water exposure where you don’t want it. Make sure that all the plumbing work in your home is done properly and there are no hidden leaks causing trouble. Moreover, repair all leaks immediately

Dry Out Damp Wood

If for some reason, the wood structures of your house get wet, then make sure you dry out the area thoroughly.

How To Prevent Dry Rot From Spreading?

If you have identified that dry rot has started they you have to be quick to stop it in its tracks to prevent it from spreading and wreaking havoc.

Applying a fungicide with borate to kill fungus is one of the best ways to prevent dry rot. However, this solution will only prove to be useful if the dry rot issue is not in an advanced stage; otherwise, you will have to replace wood to stop dry rot from spreading. You can call in a professional who can give expert advice on how you can treat the dry rot properly.


wet-rot

What Is Dry Rot?

What Is Dry Rot?
If you ask most people what rot is, chances are they’ll conjure up a vision of wood left exposed to damp. So if it’s not old window frames trying, and increasingly failing, to fend off the elements, then it’s beams exposed to a leaky roof, or flooring and plasterwork lying prone near dodgy pipework.
Rot is caused by damp, so it follows that rot is wet – ergo there’s a thing called wet rot. But there’s also dry rot as well.
What’s the difference? Both have the same root cause: fungi, which breed and attack wood that’s exposed to damp. Timber with 20 percent moisture content or higher is most prone.
Wet rot is the more common type but is less serious and usually confined to timber that stays…wet. Door and window frames commonly fall prey.  Both wet and dry rot starts in the same way: when fungi produce millions of microscopic spores into the air.  If they fall on untreated damp wood they will germinate, via tubes known as hypha. These then spread to form a mass of threads called mycelium.  The mycelium eats into the wood, spreading through it using the hyphal threads which supply water and nutrients.
The difference between wet and dry rot centres on the type of fungi that infects the wood. There are several common types, but the one that causes dry rot is known as Serpula lacrymans.
And make no mistake: this is, as far as a property’s structural integrity is concerned, the enemy. It can destroy wood and, if left unchecked, can wreak havoc.  Moreover, unlike other fungi, it can spread from infected timber onto the surface of nearby stone or brick walls.  The hyphal threads penetrate mortar and plaster, meaning that large areas of the wall can become infected. The problem is compounded, well and truly.
How to spot dry rot? Its appearance might be given away by the affected timber appearing darker and also cracking. Wet rots, by contrast, tend to produce a bleaching effect.
Knowing how to tell dry and wet rot apart is hugely important, because each requires a different form of treatment. This is precisely where you need an experienced, professional service, such as that offered by Danford Brewer & Ives.
A detailed inspection should be carried out by a specialist, who will then submit a report detailing both the cause of the rot and the proposed action.
As a rule of thumb, the following areas will be investigated:
• The roof: are there blocked gutters, for example, or missing/broken/displaced tiles/slates?
• The walls: has the mortar/plaster deteriorated; is there faulty/missing damp proof course, blocked air bricks, cracked or broken pipes, or perhaps an overflow from the cistern/water tank?
• Internally: is there excessive condensation in, say, the bathroom and kitchen; moisture close to external faults, solid floors, trapped flood water, or defective plumbing?
Keeping on top of rot can prove difficult; even being aware of it is not easy. That said, a little time and effort in this regard can go an awfully long way.
Fortunately, though, strides are always being made in terms of greater understanding, improved solutions and best practice, meaning that not only is help readily at hand, but that it draws from a greater depth of knowledge. The upshot, therefore, is a better chance to combat and resolve the problem.
Danford Brewer & Ives have a team of experts who can produce reports and quotations for any necessary specialist dry rot work. Moreover, we keep abreast of all the latest innovations, methods and technologies.
If you would like more information on and detail about dry rot - or any of the other building services we offer, such as timber treatment, basement conversions, extensions or building maintenance – then please contact us. As always, we’re more than happy to help.


Wet rot treatment

Wet rot treatment & why a timber survey is needed

If there’s ever a time to treat damp and wood rot, it’s springtime. But, then, if there’s ever a time for rot to sink its clutches into your property, it’s during winter.

After all, your property has born the brunt of the elements. But at what cost? The snow, wind, and rain might have gone but all can leave behind moisture, which finds its way in through various nooks and crannies.

Timber is where damp takes hold, and if it’s left untreated then rot can develop.

There are two types - dry and wet rot – and it’s the latter we shall focus on here…
…which is good news, in a sense. Why? Because wet rot is not as pervasive as dry rot. It tends not to spread as far, and its consequences tend to be less damaging. The latter can eat its way through a property, affecting wood as well as plaster and brickwork. In terms of structural integrity, it has the potential to be catastrophic.

Wet rot tends only to cause damage in areas that are – and remain – wet.

Poor ventilation below floors may be a cause of wet rot, as might rising or penetrating damp, water leaks and the like.
It’s caused by fungi which multiply in the right conditions and attack wood. Roughly speaking, timber with 20 per cent moisture content or higher is susceptible.

The process starts when the fungi breed by showering millions of microscopic spores into the air.

If they fall on untreated wood they will germinate – via tubes called hypha which spread to form threads called mycelium.
The mycelium eats at the wood and uses the threads (which supply water and nutrients) to propagate.

Again, however, when comparing how dry rot and wet rot can take hold, the latter is not quite so malignant. It will not, for example, spread onto the surface of adjacent stone or brick walls.

That’s because there is fewer mycelium – meaning that wet rot is typically confined to the area of dampness.
Even so, timber exposed to the damp will still lose its structural integrity if left untreated.

Tell-tale signs of wet rot might include a whitening, or bleaching, effect - which does not refer to the colour of the mould, but the shade that the timber turns when affected.

By contrast, brown rot will darken the wood, which will disintegrate in small cracks.
While different strains of fungi have different features, broadly speaking they are all similar in appearance and the treatments are also similar.
Regarding identification and treatment, it’s crucial that the type of wood rot – whether it’s dry or wet, in other words - is identified before any course of action is considered. Each requires a different form of treatment.

A detailed inspection should be carried out by a specialist, who will then submit a report detailing both the cause of the decay and the proposed action.

As a rule of thumb, the following (and most likely more besides) will be investigated:

  • The Roof. Are the gutters blocked? Perhaps tiles are missing, broken or displaced?
  • The Walls. Has the mortar deteriorated? Is the damp-proof course either faulty or missing? Are the air bricks blocked? Maybe pipes are cracked or broken, or a water tank is overflowing?
  • Perhaps there is condensation in, say, the bathroom and kitchen? Or maybe there’s moisture close to external gaps or cracks, floors, trapped floodwater, or defective plumbing?

Keeping on top of – or even being aware of – rot can be difficult, but innovations are constantly being made so better help and advice are readily at hand.
If there is doubt, a timber survey is probably your best bet to identify both the cause and remedy, which may include specialist treatment.
Danford Brewer & Ives have a team of expert surveyors who can produce reports and quotations for any necessary specialist works. Moreover, we keep abreast of all the latest innovations, methods and technologies.
If you would like more information on and detail about wet rot - or any of the other building services we offer, such as timber treatment, basement conversions, extensions or building maintenance – then please contact us. As always, we’re more than happy to help.