What Causes Wet Rot

Getting to the bottom of what causes Wet Rot is the start of solving the problem, and with the weather as it is right now in Britain, it’s not hard to work out.

Given that this country is experiencing a typically mixed British summer, the warm weather and ongoing rain make the perfect conditions for Wet Rot to flourish.

What causes Wet Rot

So, what does cause Wet Rot? According to the PCA, Wet Rot is the result of timber’s prolonged exposure to damp conditions that provide the perfect conditions for Wet Rot fungi to flourish.

There are several Wet Rot fungi (check them out here), and to survive, they need two crucial ingredients.

First, the fungi require the cellulose from the wood to grow, which leaves your timber weakened and vulnerable. It is eating away at the fabric of the timber, and when the wood is critical to the structure of your property, as it very often is, that is a problem.

Secondly, Wet Rot needs moisture. This moisture can come from many factors, including broken rainwater goods, poor damp proofing or rising dampness exposing the wood to sustained exposure to water through the masonry it is aligned to.

These two elements help maintain the fungi for as long as both components are in plentiful supply.

The warm, damp conditions we have been experiencing are perfect for Wet Rot. According to the Head of Technical at the PCA, James Berry, “The weather pattern in the last few months is providing favourable conditions for rot to take hold.”

Once it’s in full flow, the fungi will release spores that search for the next damp patch on which to blossom, and the problem grows.

What causes Wet Rot

Is Wet Rot dangerous to health?

Generally, exposure to Wet Rot is not considered seriously dangerous to health.

However, according to the NHS damp conditions can lead to health problems and exacerbate respiratory issues such as asthma or other allergies. Breathing in the spores emanating from the Wet Rot fungi for a prolonged period could antagonise the situation.

So the best solution to any potential Wet Rot infestation is to get it assessed and fixed immediately.

Does Wet Rot Spread

Wet Rot doesn’t spread but can find its way to another patch of moisture. As mentioned, Wet Rot produces spores, which can travel on the wind or clothing, and when they find the right damp conditions on timber where they can feast on the cellulose, the fungi will set up camp.

However, Wet Rot does not spread like Dry Rot. It generally will stay where it knows the conditions are right until they are cut off.

Does my insurance cover Wet Rot?

We are not insurance brokers and would never claim to second guess the insurance companies, but in our experience, Wet Rot is not something that features in an insurance policy.

There are exceptions, such as a fault that appears in a policy resulting in the moisture that creates the Wet Rot, but generally, this problem remains outside most insurance policies’ scope.

What causes Wet Rot

Does Wet Rot smell?

The challenge in identifying Wet Rot is that it often hides in plain sight. Wet Rot can be behind decoration or paintwork, perhaps under the floorboards or in the rafters. It is not always obvious. However, there will be a musty, damp smell, and the decor could suffer from flaking paint.

The wood, if you can find it, will also be damp to the touch and will crumble in your hand. There will also, quite obviously, be fungi growing out of it. (Check out the different fungi you might see here)

Does Wet Rot get worse in bad weather?

The only way that Wet Rot will get any worse is if the problem is not resolved. If either source is cut off, Wet Rot will die off too. Wet Rot does not result from poor weather but will contribute to the problem.

The rain will continue to affect the broken drainpipe maintaining the flow of moisture to fuel the fungi. Alternatively, it will keep replenishing the water seeping through the masonry via rising damp if there is ongoing rain.

So it is vitally important you find the cause of Wet Rot and enlist the help and support of our professional team at South East Timber and Damp.

We will get to the root cause to stop the problem and replace the timber if required.

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