Damp and Timber Specialists for 50 years

What is fungal timber decay?

Fungal timber decay occurs as a result of damp timbers creating the perfect environment for rot spores to germinate and grow. As the rot grows it produces mycelium inside the timber, which breaks down the wood and turns it into food.

The level of damage eventually caused by both wet rot and dry rot will vary depending on the type of rot, how long it has been growing for and the conditions it is growing in. If specialist rot treatment is not carried out then rot will to continue to grow, spread further and cause more severe timber decay.

The Life Cycle of Timber Rot

Spores, like tiny seeds, get carried around by air currents all the time. When they land on damp timbers they germinate by creating a hypha, which continue to grow to form a collection of hyphal threads more commonly known as mycelium. As the mycelium grows it feeds on the cellulose, hemicelluloses and sometime the lignum proportion of the wood.

As the rot develops and grows, strands form across the timber and can sometimes spread over masonry. The job of the strands is to find more moisture and other timbers which can feed the rot.

The final stage of rot is when it develops fruiting bodies. At this point the rot has usually matured and as it does it looks to spread to new timbers further away. Within the pores of the fruiting bodies, millions of rot spores are created which eventually spread to start the process all over. As this process continues to develop, this places a much higher risk on the formation of fungal timber decay in buildings and houses.

Timber Decay

As timbers decay, they break down and become increasingly fragile. Eventually a weak piece of timber will get to the point where it can no longer support its own weight and will collapse or crumble apart. Most properties have been built with timbers integrated in their structure in one way or another. If fungal timber decay becomes severe enough, this can lead to floors collapsing, roof structures being unsafe and in some cases an entire building being left uninhabitable.

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