It is a requirement that five elements need to be met for fungal decay of timber to occur and four of these are constantly available:
- Source of food = Wood
- Source of infection = Fungal spores
- Temperature = Temperate climate.
The fifth element is moisture and without this the normal moisture content of timber will not support the germination of fungal spores.
In a favourable environment the germination of fungal spores will result in the development of hyphae and these strands derive their nourishment from the cellulose that is the adhesive that bonds wooden cells together. Subsequently colonised timber loses its strength and is unable to fulfil its design function.
Dry rot mycelium develop to form fruiting bodies, (sporophores), and these generate moisture from the ‘teardrops’ (lacrymans); dry rot is a virulent decay mechanism that can cause widespread decay over a short period of time.
It can be seen therefore that the control of dampness within a building is paramount to maintaining structural timbers from the deleterious, moreover, costly consequences of fungal decay and it is essential, in dealing with such events that one accurately identifies , and controls, all sources of moisture that have enabled the outbreak of fungal decay.
Infestation by woodboring insects is a more common issue with some species also requiring raised moisture content in the timbers.
The accurate identification of fungal / woodboring insect species is essential if one is to provide appropriate remedial treatments and this is often overlooked by property preservation specialists who, often, suggest carte blanche treatments to cover all possibilities; clearly this is likely to incur more costs if the treatment regime is inappropriate; there is also an onus on treatment contractors to minimise the use of chemical treatment products in accordance with C.O.S.H.H. Regulations and such treatments can be avoided where control measures, to reduce the moisture content levels within the timbers, can be introduced.
My Surveying service will provide accurate identification between wet / dry rot and appropriate control measures; the service can include monitoring and advising your chosen contractors during the process of dry rot eradication works although it is important to understand that the full extent of the required repairs and treatments of such is, more often than not, unknown without destructive exposure works.
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