The below article details the causes of wet rot, how to identify wet rot, and what are the available wet rot treatments
What is Wet Rot?
Wet rot is basically the natural process by which wood decays in the presence of high levels of moisture, and if left untreated can cause structural house problems. It relies on a high moisture content within the wood to survive, typically above 40%. Like dry rot it thrives in dark, stagnant, moisture rich areas, so weather conditions are ideal for wet rot to grow in Ireland and other Counties with high rates of precipitation.
There are certain types of wet rot, known as white rot, which attacks the cellulose and lingin in wood turning it a light colour, hence its name. The timber becomes fibrous internally and externally, depending on the species.
The presence of wet rot will usually indicate a fault somewhere else in the building, like a burst pipe, leaking roof, or adjacent walls may be suffering from dampness. Wet rot is usually not as harmful as dry rot as it cannot grow outside the damp area.
The two most common types of wet rot are Coniophora Puteana or “Cellar Fungus” and Fibroporia Vaillantii or “Mine Fungus”
Cellar Fungus – attacks softwood and hardwood. In the early stages, the timber may turn a slightly yellowish colour, and cuboidal cracks may be seen. In cases where drying has taken place, the surface layer of the timber could appear sound, but the internal structure may be severely affected.
Cellar Fungus Appearance – dark brown to black fungus with fine brown strands coming from the affected wood.
Mine fungus – attacks softwood, like with Cellar fungus, affected wood turns dark brown in colour and cuboidal cracks are present.
Mine Fungus Appearance – The main body of this fungus is white with patches of orange, its strands are flexible and quite thick.
Treating Wet Rot in Ireland
With all cases of wet rot, the moisture source must firstly be identified and removed. Affected wood, must either be removed or treated – special techniques are employed to determine whether the wood can simply be treated or if it needs to be removed. It is very important that a professional wet rot specialist / damp proof specialist is employed to determine the correct course of action. It takes a keen eye and years of experience to know exactly which type of wood rot you are dealing with. Protum Services have been in business for 30 years, if you suspect your property has been affected by wet rot get a professional Irish damp rot treatment company to inspect.
Wet Rot in London’s Oldest Brick Built House
Bromley Hall is London’s oldest brick built house, completed by the Holy Trinity priory in the 1490’s. It was later confiscated by the crown, and king Henry VIII used it in a personal capacity. The building fell into disrepair and was placed onto the ‘English Heritage Buildings At Risk’ register.
A UK wet rot specialist was called in to survey the property for wood rot. They identified wet rot in the attic area, affected timber was assessed, and where appropriate, treated or removed.
Water Management – An historic river entrance was also discovered under the floorboards in the front room of the house. The area regularly flooded due to heavy rainfall, but the owner wanted to keep the feature, so a special underground sump for water management, was installed.
It is always advisable to get older brick built houses surveyed by a trusted wet rot specialist / damp proof specialist, with expertise in damp proofing, wet rot and dry rot treatment, as older building techniques are more susceptible to these problems.