What is the difference between dry rot and wet rot?
1. Wet rot requires more moisture to develop than dry rot
Wet rot requires a moisture content of 50% or more in order to grow on your timbers and is therefore most commonly the result of faulty plumbing or leaky pipes and guttering. Fixing the source of the high moisture levels on your timbers is usually enough to stop it in its tracks, alongside the necessary repair work.
On the other hand, dry rot only requires an air moisture level of around 28% to take hold and 20% to stay active. Dry rot also tends to develop in hard to spot places, such as in underfloor cavities and attics, giving it plenty of time to cause damage before it is noticed.
2. Wet rot cannot spread easily, whilst dry rot can
Wet rot is unable to spread through masonry and can only spread to nearby damp timbers. This keeps the area affected and damage caused by wet rot relatively localised.
The spores generated by the fungus associated with dry rot are able to move through plaster and masonry, which means that it can spread throughout your property with ease. What’s more, these spores are already lying dormant within most properties, just waiting for the right conditions to grow. This means that dry rot can affect several areas of your property at once, making it much more dangerous.
Peeling and flaking paint can be a sign of wet rot
Example of hyphae growth in dry rot
3. Dry rot and wet rot have different symptoms
Whilst damp experts with years of experience dealing with timber rot, such as ourselves, can easily distinguish between the two, dry rot and wet rot also share some similar symptoms, which can make it difficult for untrained individuals to tell them apart:
- Dry and brittle timber appearance
- There may be orange spore dust
- White strands on timbers (known as hyphae)
- White or grey cloud-like structures on timbers (known as mycelium)
- Rusty brown fruiting bodies
- Wet and spongy to the touch
- Affected timbers will appear darker
- Localised fungal growth
- Affected timber is vulnerable to shrinkage
- More likely to be accompanied by a damp, musty smell
If you suspect that you may have a case of either wet rot or dry rot in your property, it is important that you get a professional to survey the situation as quickly as possible. Especially in the case of dry rot, dealing with the source of the damp problem and handling repairs can be a challenge without the assistance of a trained professional.
Our team of damp specialists are on hand to help you with all your problems with dry rot and wet rot in the Dorset and Hampshire area and can carry out a property survey in order to provide you with a lasting solution. Contact us today on 01202 737739 today to discuss your problem with timber decay.