Wet Rot

Wet rot is an umbrella term used to describe a number of species of fungi that has a detrimental effect on timber. Although it is a less serious form of decay than ‘Dry rot’, if left untreated the damage may still be irreparable.

Wet rot affects timbers that have been exposed to damp conditions. It thrives from the nutrients in the wood which causes the timbers to lose their structural integrity, which in turn can be damaging to the structure of a property. Similar to that of dry rot, with the exception that wet rot does not have the ability to spread through masonary.

Wet Rot fungi requires higher moisture content than dry rot in order for it to grow and spread, at least 30% which is the fibre saturation point. Optimum growth rate is between 45% and 60% moisture.


Identifying Wet Rot

It is not always easy to identify wet rot as it is commonly found in dark, poorly ventilated areas as this is provides the ideal environemnt for which it can thrive. However you can look out for the following features:

One of the first people commonly notice is a musty, 'damp' smell.

Wood maybe soft and spongey to touch.

Dark brown staining will appear on the timbers, or the timbers will be darker in colour along with localised growth of fungus.

White staining or a 'bleached effect' will appear around the affected areas.

A blunt implement such as a screwdriver will insert easily into the affected timber.

Grey veining will appear through the timber once the fungus has reached the Mycelium phase of its life cycle.

Loss of structural intergirty of timbers alonsige discolouration and distortion of the wood.


Treatment of Wet Rot

Replacing the timbers may be necessary in extreme cases or where the fungus has damaged the wood beyond repair. However, if caught in it's earlier phases, wet rot can be treated with fungicide whilst in the process of 'drying out'.