One of the worst things that can happen to your home is to have dry rot. Dry rot destroys wood and makes it extremely brittle. As such, if any part of your home is affected by dry rot, this part can become highly unstable and dangerous.
What Is Dry Rot?
To better understand dry rot, it is important to know what it is and how it occurs. Dry rot is a wood destroying fungus (Serpula lacryman). The fungus eats and digests the cellulose component of the wood and leaves it in a dry, weak and brittle state.
Dry rot is caused by dampness occurring simultaneously with the absence of ventilation. These are the ideal conditions for the fungus to grow and eventually result in a fungal attack.
While it is called dry rot, the fungus requires moisture to thrive. However, it demands much less moisture as compared to a wet rot.
Why Is Dry Rot Harmful?
Dry rot is quite dangerous as it can spread quickly and affect multiple parts of a structure or a house. The most common target of dry rot is wood. It is one of the primary causes of severe wood decay.
This does not mean though that dry rot only grows on wooden structures or surfaces. Given the ideal conditions where this fungus thrives, it can also exist on brickwork and masonry. Hence, dry rot can cause structural damage to the parts of the house with brickwork and masonry. In addition, it may also affect other materials like fabric and carpet if they are in the area affected by dampness.
While dry rot itself doesn’t cause health problems, the conditions that make dry rot possible like the dampness of the structure means that there is most likely the presence of mould as well. Mould growth is definitely a health hazard.
Perhaps, the structural decay caused by dry rot is its most harmful effect. This is because it poses as a huge safety risk to everyone living or occupying the affected structure.
Simply put, dry rot issues must be addressed immediately to avoid health problems and costly damages to your property.
How Do You Detect Dry Rot?
To know if your house has this type of fungus, you need to seek the help of people specialising in dry rot treatment. Often, properties which are old have high probability of having dry rot.
Determining if dry rot is present can be difficult if you are not an expert. For one, distinguishing which part of the house is affected can be impossible to do if you have no training or prior experience in this kind of task. This is because a part with dry rot may sometimes look the same as unaffected wood. In this case, some experts may recommend lab testing of the suspected affected material to detect the presence of dry rot. In its more advanced state, the fungus is easy to spot because you would see brown spore dust on the affected wood.
How to Treat, Control and Solve Dry Rot
Effectively treating dry rot entails getting rid of the damp problem. Currently, a plethora of products is available in the market for treating damp and all the issues that come with it including dry rot. Furthermore, there are multiple techniques employed to address the problem like waterproofing, re-plastering or increasing ventilation. Meanwhile, affected wooden structures in the house may need to be replaced to prevent dry rot from spreading and causing further damage to the house.
It is important to note that this task should only be done by experts to ensure that the root cause of the problem is eliminated. Furthermore, addressing the issue on your own can make the situation worse and further weaken the structural integrity of the affected building or house.
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