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

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.


woodworm

Woodworm Treatment

Woodworm treatment

The term woodworm might conjure up cartoon-type images, but it is, in fact, something of a misnomer since it tends to be a different type of creepy crawly - beetles - that inflict the damage.
And there is one main offender: Anobium punctatum aka the Common Furniture Beetle. Although it mainly thrives outdoors, infesting the likes of tree trunks, branches and the like, the Common Furniture Beetle can cause serious damage if ever it creeps and crawls its way to indoor timber.
So how might that happen? Spring and summer is the time of year when the reproductive process starts – the beetles emerging from the wood crevices that are normally their habitat before the females return to lay eggs, which usually number around 30.
The eggs will hatch about a month later and the grubs will then bury themselves even further into the timber. They will spend about two to four years there, eating the wood and slowly maturing into lavae.
The lava will then dig a chamber just beneath the surface of the wood and the pupation process will begin – culminating when the adult beetle cuts a hole in the surface of the wood. Thus the process repeats itself.
It’s the by-product of the reproductive cycle – the beetle’s emergence holes and the dust (known as frass) they create – that are the tell-tale signs of woodworm infestation.
The infestation can be highly significant because, depending upon the conditions, it can occur in a number of different timber types and products: from wooden ornaments, through furniture and building timbers.
It goes without saying that the latter can prove a particular problem: if left unchecked, an infestation of building timbers can compromise your building’s structural integrity, leading, in the most extreme cases, to total collapse.
In highlighting such an eventuality, it must be pointed out that there are other offenders besides the Common Furniture Beetle. There is, for example, the Death Watch Beetle, or Xestobium rufovillosum, which tends to be found in older buildings, particularly those with hardwoods that are either damp or have been affected by fungal decay.
And there is also the House Longhorn Beetle aka Hylotrupes bajulus. Larger than the other species, it can infest sapwood (the soft outer layers of recently formed wood between the heartwood and the bark) and is mainly associated with roofing timbers.
The good news, demographically-speaking for a North Yorkshire-based company like Danford, Brewer & Ives, however, is that the House Longhorn Beetle limits its habitat to just a small part of South East England. Even so, spare a thought for the owners of properties that suffer infestations: if left unchecked, they can lead to severe structural weakening in just a short period of time.
So how to go about treating such an infestation? When one is discovered, a particular course of action should always be recommended by a team of experts, who will assess the conditions and circumstances surrounding the case.
First of all, a surveyor will make a thorough inspection of the infested timber, noting the type of wood, its accessibility and assessing the various risks.
Then, the timbers will need to be cleaned thoroughly to remove excess debris, before preservatives are applied.
A common and cost-effective form of treatment involves either spraying or using a brush to apply water-based insecticides.
Treatment of smaller items such as furniture or even ornaments can, meanwhile, be undertaken using either heat or freezing treatment, as well as gas fumigation.
All such methods require both training and a high measure of competency and it goes without saying that DB&I’s team are more than capable of undertaking such specialist work. Moreover, we’re always keeping our eyes peeled for any new innovations and methodologies.
If you would like more information on woodworm - or any of the other building services Danford Brewer & Ives 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

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.


DBI North West

Damp Treatment Experts Expand into the North West

Damp Treatment Problem in Cheshire?

Here at Danford Brewer & Ives, we’re going from strength to strength. Business is, we’re proud to report, on the up, and a natural consequence of that is that we’re expanding our reach from North Yorkshire…up and over the Pennines and into the North-West of England. So, then: Are you a homeowner, builder, architect or property developer in the North-West who might be interested in contracting (or subcontracting) one of the best in the business in the fields of damp treatment (Damp Proofing), timber treatment, basement conversions, extensions, and building maintenance? If so, then there’s no time like the present to get in touch. Fast response times are a natural consequence of good customer service – which is particularly good news if you live in the Cheshire area since that’s where our new surveyor is based.
Therefore, if you are situated in or near one of the following:

• Macclesfield • Poynton • Bramhall • Prestbury • Alderley Edge • Knutsford • Wilmslow • Cheadle/Cheadle Hulme • Buxton • New Mills

… we can cover all your concerns regarding specialist property care and preservation needs. The need to, say, cure rising damp or penetrating damp, undertake the waterproofing of basements or sump pump installations, might suggest that all is not well with your property, our trusted help will ensure that the problem will not become an emergency. And even if the damp has risen just that bit too far for comfort, or you finally decide that either a wet rot or dry rot treatment really is the utmost priority, then our local team of highly skilled and professional tradesmen will be quickly on hand to offer the full breadth and depth of their experience. As damp, timber and structural repair specialists, for example, we are fully conversant in this particular field: from examining timber defects and woodworm, through the use of anti-condensation units for condensation control, to the creation of damp and timber reports, Danford Brewer & Ives have the wherewithal to both examine the cause and offer the remedy, which may include specialist treatment.
Our expert surveyor can produce reports and quotations for specialist works that might be needed. Damp and wood rot can seem inevitable in a climate like ours, yet it doesn’t have to be that way: simple measures can help keep them at bay. And, as has already been mentioned, our expertise is offered not just to homeowners: domestic and commercial contracts are both undertaken, with a good chunk of Danford Brewer & Ives’ business coming as a partner for builders, architects, and property developers. We provide a skillful and efficient sub-contracting service, allowing you to play to your own strengths and so giving the customer all the necessary guarantees - not to mention peace of mind.
Guarantees? We offer long term insurance-backed guarantees on all works undertaken, and, local Fully Certified Surveyors in Remedial Treatments (CSRT) with The Property Care Association (PCA). So regardless of whether you’re in the business or not – whether you can tell your lateral restraints from your replacement stainless steel wall tie systems, or masonry crack stitching from specialist re-plastering – we have it covered. It’s nothing less than the level of service you should expect from an established company such as ours: a Specialist Property Care and Preservation Company from Yorkshire…which is now in Cheshire.
So if you’re in the North-West and feel you have the need for one or more of the services offered, then please get in touch. Not only do we offer a quick, efficient survey and quote procedure, Danford Brewer & Ives are more than happy to offer relevant advice as part of our commitment to you the customer. Contact us now!