Dry rot is a fungus that attacks timber in buildings. It is the most serious form of timber decay, and can spread rapidly if not treated. The first evidence of a dry rot outbreak may be a mushroom-like fruiting body or fine grey-white hyphae strands spreading over the wood, which can appear overnight. Other dry rot symptoms include cracking or shrinking of the timber; it becomes dry and brittle, may darken in colour and will crumble at your touch. Characteristic dry rot smells like mushrooms can often be detected through this odour.
Causes of dry rot (serpula lacrymans)
Dry rot fungus requires fast specialist action to avoid extensive damage. It is malignant and grows best in the dark, able to grow under floors or behind panelling, and will spread even through thick walls in search of timber to attack. Affected timber is brown, dry and brittle with and can be crumbled by hand. dry rot prospers in badly ventilated damp areas or where timber is in contact with damp masonry. It requires over 20% moisture level
for spore germination, which spreads the fungus.
Timber can be treated with a specialist treatment to prevent infection and damage to adjacent masonry. Infected timbers need to be removed and the full extent of the attack exposed before the preventative treatment is put in place. Dry rot is a serious concern that requires experienced and professional technical assistance to achieve an effective long-term solution.