Dry rot hidden behind an air brick

Dry Rot: The Home Invader

8 December 2015

Undetected, undisturbed, and unnoticed, the notorious dry rot is continuing to creep into our nation’s homes!  With almost fifty years experience within the property preservation industry, our team of surveyors have unearthed dry rot in all sorts of unimaginable areas. Below we have an example of how dry rot can lurk behind the scenes in areas of a property. Unseen, undetected and left untreated dry rot can cause vast amounts of damage to timbers.


Our Oxford based dry rot specialist, Jason Wakefield, was called out to a property in Oxford after the home-owner had noticed what they believed to be a form of wood decay growing on his kitchen units. From looking at the characteristics of the decay, it was clear to Jason that there was definitely a dry rot outbreak present.  But, it wasn’t until Jason asked the customers builder to remove an air brick that the full extent of the dry rot outbreak was revealed.

“The kitchen units appeared decayed, but the attack was far more involved than either the customer or the builder had first imagined!

Jason Wakefield, Surveyor

Behind the air brick, lay a large fruiting body otherwise known as a sporophore. These fruiting bodies can appear in an array of shapes and sizes dependent on the conditions present. Most of these round-shaped fruiting bodies are a rusty deep red colour (the spores) with the outer parts of this growth being a much lighter white colour. The spore dust from these fruiting bodies can be the first indication to a property owner that dry rot is present and a fruiting body is lurking somewhere nearby.

Before any treatments can be made to the affected area it is always important to identify the cause of the dry rot. In this case, it was apparent that the lack of ventilation caused by the use of hardwood to block the air brick was a major contributing factor to the growth of dry rot. This, combined with surrounding damp cavity wall insulation had caused moisture to linger providing an ideal environment for dry rot spores to germinate. Dry rot germinates from spores that have perfect living conditions for growth – such as damp, humid areas with a plentiful food source of cellulose or lignin within timber.

If you are concerned about the possibility of a dry rot outbreak in your property, do not hesitate to give Timberwise a call on 0800 288 8660, or alternatively request a dry rot survey online. Our experienced and certificated surveyors will locate your problem, judge its severity and produce a suitable and tailored solution to ensure your property is free from danger and protected for the future. The report will identify what risk your property is at, and what measures you can put in place to help prevent any future outbreaks from occurring.