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"Preserving the past for our future"


Dry rot is a brown rot fungus that affects timber that has been subject to moisture exposure. Dry rot is very secretive and favours dark stagnant conditions in which to develop. Because of this it is able to spread extensively before any damage may become apparent. Thus, the first signs of a major attack may often be the collapse of the section of an apparently sound piece of timber. The fungus is capable of penetrating through brickwork, masonry and plaster in search of other areas of timber to attack.

We received a telephone inquiry from a client requesting a survey be undertaken. The property was located in North London and was a three bedroom mid terrace Victorian building. The client described that there was severe cracking to the timber of a serving hatch in the wall dividing the kitchen from the front room. Also there was a fleshy mushroom-type growth apparent and an amount of red dust covering the surrounding area. The client had already done some research on the internet and coupled with looking at our website, suspected that this problem was an outbreak of Dry Rot. Given this information we arranged for a surveyor to call at the property the following day.

Initial works underway to discover the extent of the outbreak A large fruiting body and the associated red spore dust that covered the entire oversite

Dry Rot Exposure Works

Dry Rot Fruiting Body

Upon inspection it was ascertained that the problem was indeed a dry rot outbreak and as the inspection proceeded it became apparent that the problem was far more substantial and widespread than the visible surface signs had indicated. Our surveyor requested permission to lift a few floorboards to check whether the outbreak had affected the timber floor, it was immediately obvious that there were dry rot fruiting bodies on the undersides of some of the floorboards inspected and red spore dust was covering the earthen oversite underneath. At this point our surveyor informed the client that he would produce a report setting out what he was able to see on this limited inspection and that if the client was in agreement we would send round an operative to undertake an exposure of the area to verify the total extent to which the outbreak had travelled, this work involved the lifting of floorboards, the removal of skirting boards and removing some test areas of plasterwork. Once this was complete we would then be able to produce a more comprehensive report and submit more accurate costings for the works that would be required. The apparent cause of the outbreak was a leaking water pipe under the lounge floor, which the client informed us had been leaking for quite a long period of time and had only recently been repaired. Our exposure works revealed that the dry rot had infected not only the timber serving hatch, but also the adjacent timber window, the entire timber floor of the through lounge, as well as travelling through areas of plasterwork, concrete floor and into the timber window of the adjoining kitchen. Upon completion of these exposure works our operative cleaned up and made the work area safe.

Upon receipt of our survey report the client phoned our office to ask a few questions, and then to arrange a date for the works to commence and to arrange to meet us on site to run through the general schedule.

A Major Dry Rot Outbreak

More evidence of Dry Rot is located at the far end of the propertyThe scale of the Dry Rot outbreak becomes evident upon opening up of the floor

Laying a New Floor and Skirting

Laying new wallplates, joists and floorboards.The newly installed floor and skirting detail

The works required to eradicate the dry rot problem involved the following:

Once all the above works to eradicate the outbreak were completed then the reinstatement works could then commence. A new suspended timber floor comprising new joists and floorboards was installed to the lounge, the affected walls were replastered and finished with a skim coat ready for redecoration, the removed section of concrete floor was relayed, new skirtings were fitted, the radiators were re-instated and new double glazed windows were installed. All the works were undertaken to our standards as laid down in the technical specifications on our website.

The completed job just awaiting redecoration

The Finished Job

Dry rot is sometimes called the cancer of a building due to its ability to inexorably work its way through a building in search of timber to infect and destroy. If left unchecked dry rot is capable of causing considerable damage. Having said that, once the source of the moisture ingress responsible for the outbreak is repaired and the works to eradicate the dry rot completed, then the client armed with our guarantee can rest assured that this particular problem will not rear its ugly head again.

Case Study - a Dry Rot Outbreak

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