Dry Rot (Serpula Lacryman’s)
There are three key factors which prevail for an outbreak of Dry Rot.
- Supply of food which is the cellulose contained in timber.
- Lack of ventilation.
Given varying degrees of the above conditions, the prevalent spore dust which is in the air will land and germinate on timber. Once the outbreak is established, the Fungus can quickly spread to dry areas and the Fungus has the capability to grow across inorganic materials in the constant search for more food. The tiny ‘cotton wool’ type Fungal growth which can penetrate behind minute gaps, behind plaster, through mortar joints and between masonry gaps. Once the Mycelium has become established, further strands will grow from the Mycelium to search for more fresh timber. Eventually and if left unchecked, the Fungal Decay growth can affect all the timbers in a building and in Terraces or Flats can spread from one property into another. In ideal conditions, the Dry Rot Fungus can grow up to 3 metres per year.
Dry Rot has to therefore be taken seriously.
It is fundamentally important to expose the entire outbreak of the Fungus. The Mycelium and Strands have to be chased wherever they go and only when one is satisfied that the start and finish of the outbreak has been established can any meaningful assessment be made or any effective treatment begin. Treatment of Dry Rot can therefor be both extensive and expensive. Internal plaster needs to be removed back to the masonry of the wall and the strength of structural timbers assessed. Exposed areas need to be sanitised in order to kill off all active spores. Structural works may be required where there is a need to replace timber lintels.
It is also very important to identify the source of moisture and lack of ventilation and to rectify any deficiencies as part of the recommended work and treatments. Failure to do so could render the remedial attention and treatments ineffective.