Dry rot in Keighley

Case study: dry rot in Keighley

admin Wet rot & dry rot

We recently visited a beautiful but neglected property in Keighley with a serious case of dry rot. We were asked to survey the property as a local Buddhist group are considering purchasing it.

The building has had various uses since its heyday as a grand family home, and was most recently occupied by a firm of accountants.

The photos below show the extent to which dry rot has taken hold in the building.

The dry rot is clearly visible in the skirting boards and floor joists of the old building. Interestingly, we also found the honeycomb remains of a bee or wasps nest between the joists of a first floor former bedroom (seen in the final picture).

Without treatment, dry rot can quickly take hold in a building and cause serious structural damage. So what is dry rot and how does the problem occur?

Dry rot is a wood-destroying fungus, which originally affected dead trees in the forest, but now it is a common attacker of the timbers used in buildings. Only damp timber is affected by dry rot, typically with a moisture content in excess of 20%.

Dry rot spores are found in the air around us. When they come into contact with damp timber, they germinate and produce white strands of cobwebby fungal growth called hyphae. These strands of hyphae clump together to progress to the next stage of dry rot growth, which is called Mycelium. This is a cotton-wool-like mass which will grow into timber and even through plaster and bricks in its search for more damp timber.

The final stage is the appearance of the ‘fruiting body’, otherwise known as sporophore. This fungus is a rusty colour and resembles a large mushroom. This fruiting body will start the whole process again when it sends more dry rot spores into the atmosphere

At this stage, the property owner may have noticed the dry rot, either by the presence of the fruiting body or other symptoms, such as dried out and shrunken wood, made brittle and warped by the removal of moisture, or perhaps even just the presence of a damp, musty and fungal smell.

Timber in a domestic home or commercial premises can become damp for a number of reasons. Common causes are leaking washing machines, shower trays and baths, or condensation, which we wrote about in our last blog post. Damp can also come from outside, perhaps from a leaking roof, damaged guttering or a blocked down pipe. Whatever the source of the damp, if it is rectified and the timber allowed to properly dry out, the dry rot will eventually be controlled. Because of this, removing the source of moisture should form the basis of any dry rot eradication strategy.

Unfortunately, it is very common for dry rot to spread significantly before it is noticed. Dry rot likes to grow behind walls and under floors, and outbreaks are common in non-visible areas of your property like stairs, attics and flooring.

if you are concerned you may have a problem with dry rot in your commercial or domestic property, contact Multiskill for a survey and a quote for specialist treatment.