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Early signs of dry rot

Early identification of a dry rot outbreak can have a significant impact on both the potential damage caused and the cost of remedial repairs. In the right conditions, dry rot can spread rapidly and it will continue to destroy timbers to sustain itself.

To help homeowners recognise dry rot, we have pulled together some indication signs and supported guidance.  If you do however, recognise any of the signs below, we would suggest you contact a specialist to investigate it further.

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Is there an unusual smell?

A damp, mushroom like smell can be a sign that your home has dry rot. If you notice this odour within your property you should look out for the following common signs:

 

Dry rot early signs - unusual smell - PCA

Is there damaged timber?

Timber which easily crumbles or breaks to the touch can be a clear sign of dry rot. 

The timber will be visibly dry, warped and have shrunk back.

Dryrot  - Homeowner Help & Information - PCA

Can you see dry rot Spore Dust?

Spotting large patches of fine brown/orange dust would typically indicate a dry rot problem.

Most properties have dry rot spores which are generally harmless, but bigger patches of this spore dust needs addressing.

Dry rot early signs - spore dust - PCA

Do you see cobweb like strands growing over timber?

Fine grey strands develop, similar to cobwebs, which enables the dry rot to spread from the infected timber onto the surface of the wall.

 

Dryrot  - Homeowner Help & Information - PCA

Mycelium (cotton wool-like)

If spores of dust fall on untreated damp wood they will germinate to form a mass of hyphal threads called Mycelium.

Mycelium is cotton wool-like and develops inside the timber, breaking down the wood for food. The timber may darken in colour and develop a characteristic cracked appearance.

Dry Rot Mycelium - Property Care Association

The appearance of mushroom-like fruiting bodies

The appearance of mushroom-like fruiting bodies is very distinctive, which can appear in many shapes and sizes. These fruiting bodies will be red/organce in colour within the centre, usually pancake/bracket shaped with white/lighter edges

This stage occurs when dry rot can no longer feed on the timber; it is a clear sign to the homeowner that dry rot is present in the building.

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Find dry rot specialists near you

If you recognise or think you have a dry rot issue, then as mentioned at the start, we would strongly suggested you organise  a detailed diagnostic inspection by a specialist.  

Our specialist PCA damp & timber members can help. Most will be happy to offer some advice over the phone, and if you take some pictures (or potentially a short video), many will likely be happy to help confirm if you have an issue. You can (of course) simply arrange a survey too.

To find a registered PCA specialist near you, simply use the search tool below. 

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Dry rot & timber preservation guidance for construction & property specialists

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