Broadly speaking, there are two main types of fungal decay, dry rot and wet rot. While both types link similar conditions being damp and most, one is much more serious of a problem. There are a few key characteristics of these types of issues and some ways you can diagnose, and treat these issues.
These two organisms have developed over hundreds of years with wood as their main source of food. Over time the infection will cause any infected wood to start losing a lot of strength and cause major issues if it is part of a building or peice of a strcturually integral support.
While each fungi differ in their level of severity, they both have optimum temperatures for breeding, which is around 20-30 degrees celsiuis, with an moisture content of around 50-60%. This is a dangerous envrioemtn, as if the fungi is left for any length of time, it will spread very quickly and cuase substantial amounts of damage to any wood in the near by area.
For the purposes of simplicity, this will be split into two parts, the first part discussing wet rot and how to combat the fungi, and also how to prevent any build.
Wet rot is caused by a fungus called ‘Coniophora puteana’ – also known as the ‘cellar fungus’. While both types of rot are lovers of all things damp – this type of fungus is more common and is only attracted to very damp wood or plaster and will just be confined to the wet area, unlike dry rot. As such, wet rot is generally considered less destructive, but can still prove hazardous if left untreated.
How to spot it: Any infected timber will be damp to the touch, and often look a few shades darker than the surroudning wood. If your timber is painted, it may not be so easy to see, however there is usually bubbling, or air pockets within the pain layers which will be visible. If the rot has been around for a while, the wood will be soft and sponge like to the touch. You can use a sharp tool to poke the wood and see if there is any give, if there is, there is a high chance that some form of rot is present.
How to treat it: Eliminate the source of any water which has cuased the rot. Before any other steps are taken, removing the water source will stop it coming back and causing any more issues. Once the water source is eliminated, remove any of the infected timbers and a small area around the infected timbers and the problem should be sorted. Treating the timber with some kind of anti-fungal finish is also a good step to take, as it will inhibit the envriomental conditions the fungi needs to breed and spread.
How to prevent wet rot
The best way to prevent wet rot is to well ventilate the area of question. Keeping the ideal conditions for it to spread to a minimum is the number one way to tackle this issue. Proper maintainence is also vital, ensuring there are no leaks or water sources close by unprotected timber. There are a number of great anti-fungal treatments available to use in conjunction with good basics.
If you have any issues with timber degeneration in the southport or liverpool area, please don’t hesitate to contact Hopgood Joinery.
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