Timber is an excellent building material as it is easy to work with, a natural insulator and offers a quick build time, along with a whole other long list of advantageous features. However, timber is susceptible to a few defects that brick & block or concrete construction isn’t.
Wet rot is caused by the presence of high moisture levels, and is quite simply described as the natural decay of timber. Wet rot is a variety of brown fungal species, the most common being ‘Cellar Fungus’ (Coniophora Puteana).
Wet rot can be caused by anything that increases the moisture content levels to a high level, such as a leaking roof or burst pipe. Wet rot makes timbers appear darker than surrounding timber and is important that it is treated, because when it dries out it cracks and crumbles timber, dangerously affecting the structure of the building.
Dry rot is perhaps more dangerous than wet rot, due to the damage it can do whilst remaining completely hidden from view. This is because it can often grow where people do not look, such as under floorboards, in lofts or behind plasterboard.
Dry rot can be commonly diagnosed by it’s cotton-like fruiting fungal spores than conglomerate on the surface of the affected timber. It is important that it is diagnosed quickly and treated effectively as it can quickly spread throughout the property.
Pest Infestation – Woodworm
Woodworm is the generic term used to commonly describe the larvae stage of wood boring beetles that are typically seen emerging between April to October in any house where there is exposed timber. Woodworm can commonly be diagnosed by the presence of small exit holes on the surface of the timber, a fine powder on the surface of the timber or crumbling timbers.
Death Watch Beetle – The most infamous and feared type of woodworm, as they have the longest lifespan and normally attack timbers that are hidden from view. This makes it extremely difficult to identify and diagnose.
Wood-Boring Weevil – Found within timbers of a high moisture content.
Powder Post Beetle – Eats through the inside of the timber, often leaving the surface unmarked, making it also very hard to identify without cutting into the timber.