Damp and Timber Specialists for 50 years

If you suspect something’s not right with your property, there’s one thing you really need to be wary of: dry rot. Dry rot can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to your home if left unchecked, so being aware of the early warning signs can really make a difference in catching it in time. 

With over 50 years of experience in the industry, Prokil are the South’s leading damp and rot specialists. Below, we’ve outlined the 4 early warning signs of dry rot, the difference between wet rot and dry rot, and what to do if you suspect your property has this form of decay. 

What exactly is dry rot? 

Dry rot is a type of fungal decay caused by the fungus Serpula lacrymans, also known as cellar fungus. This fungus feeds on the cellulose and lignin in wood (the components that give wood its strength), which can weaken and destroy the wood given enough time. 

Dry rot is a serious problem because it can spread quickly and cause significant structural damage. It can also be difficult to detect in its early stages, as it can grow behind walls and under floors. 

What are the telltale signs of dry rot? 

While scheduling a professional survey is the best way to confirm dry rot, there are some telltale signs you can look for yourself. This will help you decide if it’s worth calling in an expert. Here are some common signs to watch out for:

Mycelium growth 

Prokil 002

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus. It’s the root-like structure that the fungus uses to spread and absorb nutrients from wood. 

Mycelium is composed of thin, thread-like filaments called hyphae. These hyphae branch out and grow through the wood, breaking down the cellulose and hemicellulose, which are the main components of wood cell walls. As the fungus feeds, it weakens the wood and can eventually cause it to crumble. 

Mycelium looks like a grey or white, fluffy cotton wool and is often the first sign of dry rot infection. 

Fruiting bodies (Sporophore) 

Serpula Lacyrmans Fruiting Bodies
Sporophores, or fruiting bodies, are another telltale sign of dry rot. They come in various sizes and shapes, depending on the conditions within your property. You’ll quickly recognise fruiting bodies by their resemblance to small pizzas. The outer portion of this growth appears white, while the round, mushroom-like bodies have a rusty-red hue. Another noticeable indication of dry rot is the presence of spore dust from these fruiting bodies. 

Wood deterioration 

Damp Timber

Looking at the wood itself can give you an idea of whether dry rot is in your property. Here are some key warning signs to look for: 

  • Cuboidal cracking: This is a distinctive pattern of cracks that appear in cubes or squares on the wood’s surface. It’s a telltale sign of dry rot’s breakdown of the wood’s structure. 
  • Wood shrinkage and hollowness: Dry rot consumes the wood’s interior, causing it to shrink and lose its solidity. You might notice a hollowness when tapping on affected areas. 
  • Brittle and crumbly texture: Healthy wood feels strong. Dry rot weakens the wood significantly, making it crumble or break easily when you apply pressure. 
  • Warped appearance: As the wood dries out unevenly due to dry rot, it can twist and warp noticeably. 


Musty Smell 

Strong musty or earthy odours can be a telltale sign of dry rot in your home – however, this smell isn’t exclusive to dry rot. Mustiness often indicates general dampness, which, if left unchecked, can create the perfect environment for dry rot to take hold. 

What’s the difference between dry rot and wet rot? 

Dry rot is easy to mix up with wet rot, but there’s a few majors differences between the two: 

  • Wet rot needs a much higher moisture content to grow (around 50% or more). Dry rot, on the other hand, can germinate at a much lower moisture level (around 20-30%). This means dry rot can become established in seemingly dry areas. 
  • Wet rot is more localised. It’ll grow in the damp area where it started and won’t spread further unless there’s additional moisture. Dry rot, however, is much more aggressive. It can spread through masonry and brickwork to find new sources of wood to consume. 
  • Dry rot is the more serious type of rot. It can cause significant structural damage if left unchecked. Wet rot, while still damaging, is usually easier to address because it’s contained to the damp spot. 

The very destructive nature of dry rot makes it all the more important to act fast. 

How can you treat dry rot?

Dry rot spreads quickly and poses a serious threat to your property’s structural integrity. If you spot any of the telltale signs listed above, your best bet is to call on the help of a professional surveyor.

Surveyors have the expertise and specialised equipment to thoroughly inspect your property and identify the root cause of the moisture issue. They’ll then create a detailed report outlining the extent of the damage and recommend a customised treatment plan to effectively eliminate the dry rot and prevent its return. 

Turn to Prokil for expert dry rot treatment 

Protect your home’s health from the threat of dry rot by choosing Prokil! With over 50 years of experience, we’ve become the go-to experts for dry rot elimination throughout the South of England. Our dedication to excellence has made us the top choice for numerous estate agents and homeowners alike.  

Here’s what makes us stand out: 

  • We’re not interested in creating unnecessary work. Our experts will thoroughly assess the situation and recommend the best course of action for your home, only looking at treating what actually needs treating.
  • We know that having your home worked on can be a hassle, which is why we work around your schedule and aim to offer the most competitive rates in the South.
  • Our attention to detail has earned us glowing reviews from hundreds of our customers, such as this one from Hannah Rogan: “The guys who carried out the work did a great job, and they were incredibly helpful, quiet, and polite. Despite having to do a very messy job, they left things immaculately clean and tidy, and it was a pleasure to have them working in my home.” 

Don’t let dry rot put your home at risk – book a survey with our expert team today!

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