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How to treat dry rot

Controlling and eradicating dry rot (like any timber decay) is less about treatment and more about understanding and eliminating the causes or the moisture/water. This is a skilled job and it is recommended that you should speak to a specialist who has a detailed understanding of the causes, characteristics and risk factors associated with dry rot. 

For those however, that would like to learn more about what is involved when treating a dry rot issue, keep reading on to find out more. 

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Eliminating the Cause

Before any work begins to tackle the damage caused by dry rot, it is absolutely essential that the specialist explores all the possible causes of water that allowed the fungi to become established are investigated. Until these are discovered, any measures to eradicate the dry rot will almost certainly be futile. 

What are the possible causes of my dry rot?

Possible causes of decay include 

  • Pumping defects
  • Rainwater penetration through the building fabric
  • Flooding

Dryrot  - Homeowner Help & Information - PCA

Remember, it’s important to find ALL the causes 

It is also common with larger outbreaks of dry rot to find multiple causes or water ingress and wetting of the structure. Once decay becomes well established, the failure of important structural timbers and joinery timbers such as window frames, can result in the acceleration of water ingress. This in turn speeds the development and spread of the fungi. 

Tackling the dry rot outbreak

After tackling the causes of water ingress, it may be prudent to remove areas of decayed wood and eny elements of the building that are unsafe or beyond repair or salvage. With dry rot this may require work that becomes quite extensive. 

Areas of walls, and floor, that are wet as a result of water ingress and are close to the area of rot must be allowed to dry for as long as possible. In some circumstances, the use of timber protection products that facilitate reinstatement and repair can be useful where drying time is restricted or residual moisture is a problem. 

Important to discover the full extent of dry rot damage

Care must always be taken to uncover the full extent of dry rot damage. It is not uncommon to find decay within otherwise sound looking wood or multiple outbreaks of dry rot within a building. 

Controlling dry rot

To reduce the chances of future dry rot outbreaks, the methods used in the repair may need to vary from the original construction. Eliminating timber contact with damp maisonry and the use of water/moisture resistance barriers to prevent wetting and prevent the decay of new timbers should be considered. 

Chemical preservatives may be useful in preventing the spread of the fungi or rapidly arresting decay in affected timbers. It may also have a limited effect on preventing new outbreaks of dry rot and creating a barrier to regrowth during the drying period. Chemical preservatives should not be relied upon as the primary, long term control measure for dry rot.

Aftercare - reducing the risk of dry rot returning 

Dry rot will not return to do serious damage if the timber it feeds upon remains dry. The building must be kept free of leaks, rising and penetrating moisture and voids and inaccessible spaces must remain properly ventilated. In such areas the circulation of fresh air must be permanently maintained.

In circumstances where buildings are susceptible to damp problems and timbers could become wet and so at risk of dry rot, permanent monitoring or periodic inspection should be a consideration.  

There are specialists that can help...

As we mentioned at the beginning, treating dry rot is a skilled job. 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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