Dry Rot? Mistaken Identity – Part 2


We received a call last Friday from a family in Kent requesting urgent assistance as their builder had discovered “dry rot” and as he was unfamiliar with this and it was not his area of expertise, he had advised they should get an expert in. On doing a search through google on dry rot, they discovered the PCA website, the governing body for contractors in the damp proofing and timber treatment industry – on searching for a Property Care Association member in Kent, they found our details.

On arrival at the property, there were no other trades on site; the working contractors had advised that they would return after the outbreak had been dealt with as they were unaware of the possible “health implications” of Dry Rot.

The outbreak was shown to us and, in fact, upon closer inspection, was found to be “Peziza spp” or elf cup fungus as it is sometimes known. Investigations in the bathroom above found two sources of moisture. Firstly, a very poor seal around the shower tray directly above and secondly, the shower control unit, which rebated into the solid brickwork, was leaking and externally, there was a 600mm x 600mm wet patch in the solid brickwork, exactly where the rebated unit was.

See below pictures of True Dry Rot and of Peziza spp – you can see how the two may be confused by the untrained eye.

Unlike True Dry Rot (Serpula Lacrymans) – Peiziza is non-destructive, and the drying out of the affected area will prevent further outbreaks, and no remedial chemical works are necessary.

Correct identification is so important, and there was no need for the contractors on site to have stopped work due to “unknown health effects”!

Inspection by a qualified CSRT remedial treatment surveyor quickly identified the type of fungus along with the source of moisture. No remedial works are required by us, and the client will ensure the leaks are dealt with by their plumber to ensure the fungus does not return.

We would strongly recommend that if you have any timber issues, such as wet rot, dry rot or an unknown decay that you ensure you obtain advice from a qualified CSRT surveyor to ensure it is not misdiagnosed and expensive treatments are not specified when actually the only action that is required is to stop the moisture ingress!

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