Timber Preservation


Dry rot and wet rot can affect buildings of all ages, if discovered it should be identified and remedial action taken without delay. Dry rot is a dangerous fungus and grows swiftly, the quicker remedial action is carried out the less likely additional works will be required.

Dry rot is a weakening of timber caused by one of several species of fungus. The fungus digests the parts of the wood that give the wood its strength. Weakened wood is typically somewhat dry, hence the name dry rot.

Ironically, dry rot usually results from too much moisture in contact with wood. The dry rot fungus has the unusual ability to transport water from wet areas to dry areas allowing the fungus to grow even in relatively dry wood. If not stopped the dry rot fungus can weaken wood to the point that it may eventually disintegrate.

Treatment will involve 3 main steps, removal of water source, re-placement of affected timber and treatment of remaining timbers and surrounding masonry.

It is important that a detailed diagnostic inspection is carried out by a competent specialist. This inspection should be followed by the submission of a report that details both the cause of the decay and the proposed remedial action.

Wet Rot

The main differences between dry rot and wet rot are the degree of development and the inability of wet rot fungus to spread into other timbers via adjacent masonry. It is important that the two types of decay be distinguished as they require different treatment.

The general cause of wet rot growth is high moisture content within timber. Typical causes are faulty rainwater goods, plumbing leaks, rising/penetrating damp and in some cases poorly ventilated properties experiencing condensation.

The source of moisture will need to be identified and remedied, together with the removal of affected timber.

Wood Boring Insect

Wood boring insects use wood as a food source or as a home, creating holes and tunnels in the timber, which over time can greatly reduce the strength of the infested wood.

Woodworm is the common name given to a variety of different wood boring beetle. The most common of which are The Common Furniture Beetle and Death Watch Beetle.

The Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum) is by far the most common wood boring insect found in British buildings. The small holes made by the beetles as they emerge from wood are typically seen in old furniture and in the structural timbers of buildings.

The Deathwatch Beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum) has a strong preference for hardwood timbers such as oak, ash and chestnut that have been attacked by wood- rotting fungi.

Its occurrence is therefore largely restricted to older buildings such as churches, stately homes and listed residential properties, principally in Southern and Central England.

The main problems encountered when treating woodworm are identifying the species involved, deciding whether the infestation is still active, and deciding which timbers have been structurally weakened and need replacing. All of these factors will influence the type of treatment carried out (if any). For this reason, an inspection by one of our experienced surveyors should be carried out whenever a woodworm infestation is suspected.

Contact us for information about inspections, reports and estimates.

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