How to Identify and Treat Rot in Timber

How to Identify and Treat Rot in Timber

Posted By: John Published: 12/06/2019 Times Read: 481 Comments: 0

Rot can affect timber at any time and can be either wet or dry. Wood rotting fungi thrive by breaking down wood cell walls, which can damage the timber, making it weaker and structurally unsafe. It is, therefore, very important to notice signs of decay in your timber and undertake protective and preventative measures to ensure that no damage occurs to your timber. 


Wood rotting fungi can only rot wood with over 20 percent water content, meaning that most cases of rot will be for exterior timber. However, if your building has a fault that leads to water entry, or a problem with condensation, then it is possible for rot to appear in internal timber too. If rot is occurring on internal timber, then as well as dealing with the damaged wood, it is essential to find the source of the damp problem and remedy this as soon as possible to prevent any future damage.


Wood rotting fungi can be found in two main types: dry rot and wet rot. It can be important to determine whether the rot in your building is dry or wet, as this can impact on the course of treatment required to remove it. 




Dry Rot 

Dry rot is typically found in softwoods and can cause major damage to buildings. Dry rot has the ability to grow and spread through masonry and other materials to reach timber. If an outbreak of dry rot does occur, then the treatment may be more extensive, for example, needing masonry sterilisation. 

There are a few signs to look out for when trying to spot dry rot, including the wood shrinking, darkening in colour and cracking along the gain. The wood may feel lighter and may start to crumble. In addition to this, white and fluffy mycelium may develop when humid, and an orange, fleshy, pancake-shaped fruiting body with wide pores may develop. Rust coloured spore dust may appear, and the rot will give off a musty and damp smell. 


How to Treat Dry Rot on Timber

The first step is to assess the damage done by dry rot. If structural timbers have been affected by the rot, then a full structural survey should be undertaken to ensure that the building is still safe. The source of the moisture that has caused the rot problem must then be found and eliminated to ensure that no further damage can be done. When the affected timber has been replaced, it should be treated with a boron wood treatment such as Boracol 10, to prevent any future outbreaks. 

Boracol 10 works to preserve wood and protect it from organic growth such as rot, mould and algae, as well as prevent attacks from wood-boring insects such as woodworm. Even if your wood is not suffering from dry rot, coating timber with Boracol is always a good idea as a preventative measure. While dry rot won’t damage your masonry, if infected wood has come into contact with your brickwork, it could have spread, and may cause problems for other timber nearby. As such, if you think that the masonry of your building may have been affected, then using a masonry treatment is also essential. Luckily, Boracol 10 can also be used to treat the masonry. 




Wet Rot

There are several species of fungus which can cause wet rot; however, the treatment of all of these is the same, so knowing the difference between different varieties of wet rot is not always required. Wet rot can cause timber to either become much darker (brown rot), or appear bleached (white rot). As the name suggests, wet rot tends to occur in timber that is exposed to high moisture levels. 

How to Treat Wet Rot on Timber

Like with dry rot, all structural timbers must be inspected, and any rotted wood needs to be removed and replaced. As wet rot is caused by moisture, if your internal timber is damaged, then the source of the problem will need to be located as it could mean there is a leak in your home. Of course, stopping exterior timbers from getting wet can be a little challenging, although using a water-resistant coating on newly replaced wood will help to stop any future damage. 

As with dry rot, a Boron treatment will work best for preventing further outbreaks of wet rot, and a coating should be applied to healthy timber and any replacement timber. 

If you require Boracol 10 to help treat a rot problem in timber, then please get in touch by contacting 01935 414012 or email info@acslimited.co.uk to order. Boracol 10 can only be purchased as a professional or trade product, so a professional will be required to help treat any rot problems in the home. 

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