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Date posted: 10/11/2013

Building defects – Dry rot – serpula lacrymans

During a recent pre-purchase survey the surveyors at Delaney Marling Partnership came across an extensive infestation of dry rot.  The property in question had been empty a long time and over the years a number of had been effected by a number of water leaks due to the lack of maintenance.

These small water leaks led to the building becoming wet and with the lack of air movement the condition became ideal for the growth of this fungus which thrives in wet and still environment.  The mycelium could be seen in the gaps beneath the timber close boarded wall finishes and fruiting bodies were present in various locations.

dry rot dry rot
Dry rot has eaten away timber behind the paint finish to timber panelling. Fruiting bodies growing from the base of the panels spread across the carpet.

Identification of the rot enabled our client to make a decision not to purchase this property.

Remedial works to infected areas.

However, for an owner of the property with such an infestation there is some works to di to remove the infestation.  Works start with the removal of all infected timber showing decay, presence of white mycelium, etc. and all apparently sound timber within a radius of one metre of the nearest visibly decayed timber. Burn all such material.

The next step is to hack off all plaster/render and remove any skirtings, panelling, linings and ceilings necessary to trace the fullest extent of the growth over or through adjacent masonry, concrete or timber surfaces.  Following the removal of all materials that can support this fungus next is to clean off with a wire brush all surfaces and any steel and pipe work within the area up to a radius of 1.5 metres from the furthest extent of suspected infection. Remove from the building all dust and debris ensuing from the work.  The application of a fungicide to all such masonry, concrete and earth surfaces at the specified rate. Apply two generous coats of fungicide to all timber surfaces to a distance of 1.5 metres from the cutting away.

Once treatment has taken place some thought will have to be given to details of any refurbishment.  Any plasterwork should look be done using products resistance to fungal growth such as zinc oxychloride (ZOC) plaster or, for areas not to be replastered ZOC paint.

Dry rot or any other infestation such as wet rot or beetle attack can be identified using a Chartered Building surveyor who can assist with the specification of remedial works.

For more information on residential sprinklers or any other services DMP can provide contact them on 01482 623955.