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What exactly is wet rot?

Wet rot is the common term used to describe a number of common wood destroying fungi. The term refers more to the appearance of the rotting wood (i.e. looking wet) than it does to the amount of moisture needed to support the growth of the fungi.

Some of the 'actual names' that relate to specific rots associated to wet rot are mine fungus Coniophora puteana and cellar fungus Fibroporia vaillantii. There are however, other species of wood destroying fungi are often bundled up in the use of the term wet rot too.

Very common to find wet rots 

Wet rots are very common and will affect almost any wooden object that is allowed to become excessively wet for a reasonable period of time. The spread of the fungi is usually limited to the areas of timber that are in contact with excessive levels of water.

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Wet rot - affecting the skirting - PCA

Spotting the signs of wet rot

Typical indications of wet rot include:

  • Discoloured timber - bleaching or darkening of the wood
  • Cracking and softening of timber
  • Timber that's distorted and losing its strength
  • You may notice some fungal growth

Spotting the signs of wet rot

Common places you may find wet rot

Wet rots are often associated with joist or beam ends and wooden posts that rot where they meet wet walls or the ground. 

In a home/building, wet rots are generally more often encountered than other forms of wood destroying fungi such as dry rot. Leaking pipes, rising damp and penetrating dampness as well as poor ventilation and poor weather protection will all lead to the wet rot damage.

In some situations where there is a lot of water held in the air, for example in voids such as roofs and sub floor spaces wet rots can occur. Wood in moist air will take up this atmospheric moisture and this allows wet rots to become widespread where they can cause extensive damage.

Wet rot - affecting roof timbers - PCA

What does wet rot look like?

Trying to identify if they have a wet rot issue in their property? Check out this page for images, help and guidance.

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Wet rot treatment

Guidance for homeowners on how to treat and repair wet rot issues and where you can find qualified and local help.

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Thinking you would like a professional to take a look?

If you are unsure if you have a wet rot issue and you simply want to check to someone, experienced professionals will be able to undertake a property-level survey, which will involve a physical survey to assess areas affected and as their investigation, should provide a report with their findings and recommendations to fix the wet rot issue.

For those looking to find a qualified local rot specialist local to you, simply click on the button below and run a search.

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Professional Wet Rot Guidance

For professional advice regarding wet rot and timber preservation, visit our professional section by clicking the button below.

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