Damp and Timber Specialists for 50 years

Rot is never a word you want to hear being used in your home. It will likely fill you with dread, so much so that you stop listening to any expert about the type of rot causing problems.

If you are being told that your home has a form of rot, the likelihood is that the specialist is also diagnosing the type – whether it is dry or wet rot. This is important because it will impact the treatment and the potentially growing signs of the problem.

But which is worse? Dry rot? Or wet rot?

Prokil are experts in property care and over the last 50 years have dealt with a range of situations, which have built our knowledge base that allows us to help you today. In this blog, we explain that dry rot is worse and share why.

Understanding Wet Rot

Floor with Wet Rot

Before we explain why dry rot is worse, it is helpful to understand what wet rot is.

There are many causes of wet rot, which means that there are technically several types of it. The term ‘wet rot’ is a generic term used to cover all types of rot that aren’t dry rot.

Excess moisture in an area will cause wet rot to form when this moisture comes into contact with timber over time. The moisture creates a sufficient environment for fungus spores to develop.

There are several causes of excess moisture:

  • Leaking pipework
  • Blocked gutters
  • Poor pointing
  • Raised ground levels

Signs of wet rot include:

  • Presence of mycelium, strands or fruiting bodies on timbers
  • Cuboid cracking of timbers
  • Fibrous appearance of timbers
  • Musty odour; mushroom/ mouldy smell
  • The appearance of shrinking sections of skirting boards
  • Springy sections of floors
  • Timbers which easily break or crumble

The biggest issue with wet rot is when left untreated, it can impact the structural integrity of the timber. This could cause floorboards to collapse or even roofing timbers to give way when someone puts pressure on them.

Understanding Dry Rot

Serpula Lacyrmans Fruiting Bodies

While wet rot is caused by a number of fungi, dry rot is only caused by one; the Serpula Lacyrmans.

Dry rot occurs when airborne spores come into contact with wet timbers. The spores germinate on the timber, eating into the material. This is usually caused by a lack of ventilation, commonly blocked subfloor vents, or because the timber comes into contact with wet masonry.

Dry rot is known for the speed at which it can spread, as the maturing spores produce even more spores that travel through the air.

Thankfully, dry rot can be quite easy to spot, as signs include:

  • Sheet-like growth of mycelium, strands or fruiting bodies.
  • Large cuboid cracking of timbers
  • Musty odour; mushroom/ mouldy smell
  • The appearance of shrinking sections of skirting boards
  • Springy sections of floors
  • Timbers which easily break or crumble

Dry rot is problematic because of the destruction it can cause and the speed at which it can cause it. It won’t take long for the rot to spread from one room to another.

When left untreated, the rot will decay the timber until it becomes structurally unsound. This could cause entire floor sections to collapse.

Key Differences Between Wet Rot and Dry Rot

The impact and signs of these two types of rot are similar. However, there are some key differences.

  • Moisture Requirements – wet rot will thrive where moisture content is more than 30%. Meanwhile, dry rot will thrive where it is in excess of 35 – 45%.
  • Spread – dry rot will spread faster, and the spores are airborne. However, wet rot usually remains in a concentrated area where moisture is present.
  • Impact – Wet rot will have localised damage and is slow to spread. It will impact the texture of the area affected, making it spongey and soft, impacting the structural integrity. In some cases, it will cause superficial damage. On the other hand, dry rot will spread quickly as it travels through masonry, plaster and behind finishes. It will significantly weaken all areas impacted, which could cause large parts of timber frames to collapse.

Which Is Worse?

You might have gathered why dry rot is worse than wet rot while reading this so far.

The basic answer is because of how fast this type of rot can spread it can cause extensive structural damage very quickly.

If left untreated, the cost of repairs is likely to be high, as there will be a large amount of damage.

Where wet rot remains mostly localised, it is easier to treat, whereas dry rot will likely require treatment across a wider area.

Finally, the long-term consequences are more serious because of the extent of the damage. Where the spores travel so fast and far, the consequences will be more widespread when compared to wet rot.

The Importance of Professional Help

At Prokil, we have a specialist team of experts who can identify and rapidly treat both types of rot.

With over 50 years of experience, we understand the importance of quick action, so you can trust us to respond quickly to your enquiry and work efficiently to diagnose and implement wet rot treatments and dry rot treatments.

Our services go beyond the repairs as we work with you to implement damp proofing solutions to prevent excess moisture from forming again and causing further damp and rot issues.

Get in touch with our team today if you suspect rot in your home. Call us on 0800 048 9488 or complete our online contact form to request a call back from our experts.

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