What Causes Timber Decay In Devon

If you are the owner of an older property, the following words “timber decay” are probably the last things you want to hear at any time. Discovering that your woodwork is being eaten away by rot or wood beetles is never good news, and many homeowners, in their panic, resort to drastic measures to restore their home’s health. And in truth, the many instances the heavy-duty chemical treatments, insecticides and preservatives aren’t the best solution.

They may be one option, but before you shell out handfuls of cash for a quick fix, it may be worth paying a small fee to have a specialist timber survey to accurately diagnose the problems in your building, and a prescribe a more reasonable solution.

Here are the top three causes of decaying woodwork.

What Is Wet Rot

The most common cause today of timber decay is wet rot, where the damp becomes embedded in the woodwork due to prolonged exposure to moisture. Lack of ventilation is a key accelerant of wet rot, and if there are any spots in your home suffering from standing water, you should check them out. Windowsills (both inside and out), floorboards embedded in damp walls, and window frames are particularly vulnerable to rot, so keep an eye on their condition during colder months.

How Serious Is Wet Rot

Most of the time the wet rot the woodwork is localised and will disappear if the moisture levels are brought back down. You can then treat the affected wood with a specialised resin to harden it back up. But in stubborn instances, the affected wood may need to be cut out and a new piece spliced in, but only in very severe cases is your building at risk from permanent structural damage.

What Is Dry Rot

Serpula lacrymans fungus, or dry rot as we know it, is a considerably more sinister problem in the home. Airborne spores of the fungus settle on damp timbers within a building and suck the moisture out until it’s dry and crumbling.

To catch dry rot in its early stages, look out for wood or paintwork cracking in square-shaped patterns, and grey, web-like roots spreading across a surface. Eventually, the fluffy webbing will turn into a flat fruiting body (resembling a pancake), emitting spores into the air and spreading the problem even further.

How Serious Is Dry Rot

If dry rot is spotted and treated quickly, it can be tackled without too much trouble. However, its ability to spread through buildings can quickly escalate the severity, and an accurate cost for remedial work will often require the full extent of the damage to be inspected beforehand.

Rectifying the source of the damp should prevent the fungus from germinating, ultimately drying it out and killing it off. Improve the ventilation in rooms affected by dry rot (a dehumidifier can help in extreme cases), and make sure to properly fix the root of the moisture. If the rot has already extensively spread, badly damaged timbers may have to be removed and remaining woodwork may require protective treatment.

What Is Wood Beetle Infestation

A wood beetle infestation can often be identified by the presence of bore holes in beams, floorboards, behind timber panelling and around loft hatches. You will likely notice a swathe of boreholes (rather than just one or two), approximately 1mm in diameter, which are created from wood beetles laying their eggs inside the wood and the larvae later tunnelling through to the surface.

How Serious Is Beetle Infestation

Wood beetles only pose a threat when the timber is suffering from a particularly high moisture content. Damp will allow the wood to become softer and more accommodating for a beetle infestation which will weaken the timber further. Addressing the source of damp will start to solve the problem and reducing the moisture content of the timber will make it gradually uninhabitable for the beetle colony.

Timber Treatment Specialists Devon

When you choose Orchard Preservations, you don’t have to deal with endless subcontractors and organise work schedules. We use only our own team to guarantee you a friendly and efficient service with great results. Our broad range of expertise means that whenever you need building works or damp specialists in the South West, you’ll know that we can help.

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