Post-job exterior view of mill conversion construction site in Leeds

What to Do If You Discover Dry Rot in a Listed Building

31 October 2023

Dry rot is one of the most common problems when it comes to property care in the UK, and it will come as no surprise that we deal with all manner of different cases of dry rot throughout the year, in all different kinds of properties and premises.

This of course includes listed buildings.

If you live in a historically protected building, then you know that it can be complicated when it comes to repairs or refurbishment, and if you are forced into a situation where this is necessary (on the discovery of dry rot, for example), you might well be confused on where to start, and who to turn to.

Hopefully, this article will give you some idea on the steps that you need to take as the owner of a listed building after discovering dry rot, and help you understand that the situation is manageable!

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Listed Buildings and Property Care

The UK is a country with no shortage of historic properties, and thanks to the Listed Buildings Regulations Act (1990), any works taken to change a listed building must be in keeping with the character of the building that makes it historically significant.

It also means that in certain circumstances, permission must be sought to make changes to the property before any action happens.

In any instance, changes to a listed building have to be approached carefully, with respect to the property in question and the historical significance of their features.

Hundreds of people in Edinburgh for example are in possession of listed buildings, both commercial and domestic, and they will have to follow the law accordingly if they want to make the kinds of repairs needed on discovery of a property care issue like this.

However, these are just regulations rather than barriers. As far as property care is concerned, plenty of issues can lead to structurally compromising problems, dry rot weakening timber for example. This means that permission will often be easily granted when required, as the repair works will be essential for the continued health of the building.

So, how can you start the dry rot treatment process.

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Learn more about how Timberwise works with listed buildings here:

Arranging a Timber & Damp Survey in a Listed Building

Closeup of dry rot fruiting body

So, the first step in keeping your listed building rot free would be the arrangement of a timber and damp survey.

Initially, this is nothing at all to be wary of, provided you do a little homework and take a few small provisions.

The first thing you will need to do is make certain that the property care organisation you are contacting is reputable, and fully accredited with a recognised trade body. For example, Timberwise is a registered member of the Property Care Association (The PCA), the leading trade body for property care in the UK.

This means that our surveyors and technicians all have to undertake various qualifications as part of their training, and we work to PCA specifications and guidelines on every single job that we do.

Then, you will want to make sure that the surveyor you contact is fully aware that the property you need surveyed is listed, just so that this can be taken into consideration during the visit. This might mean certain concessions are made in the survey so that different techniques are used in place of more invasive methods designed for modern properties.

As long as the surveyor visiting your property is aware they are visiting a listed building, you should experience nothing that would cause any undue or unwarranted disturbance to listed features.

A Timberwise surveyor, for example, will then be able to examine your properties timber in depth, and mark their findings in a report. This report will detail the presence, extent, and threat of any dry rot in the property, as well as any other form of damp, rot, or property care issue.

Not only that, but the report will also outline the next suggested steps to take in order to mediate and remove the dry rot from the property. If the surveyor visiting is aware that the property is listed, they will make accommodations for this in the report, with the proposed action to be taken in line with the law regulating the treatment of listed buildings.

You will of course be able to go through the report, speak to our team about any concerns, and have the final say before any work is done, but rest assured that a damp and timber survey from Timberwise to help you establish the presence of dry rot is absolutely possible and recommended, even within a listed building.

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Put a stop to the spread of rot. Call 0800 288 8660 or

Treating Dry Rot in a Listed Building

Damaged plaster as a result of dry rot

Dry rot is a nasty problem, one that stems from an abundance of moisture in your property – usually caused by a type of damp.

Basically, when the timber in your property reaches an internal moisture level of about 20%, it becomes the perfect breeding ground for dry rot, allowing the fungus to feed, grow, and continue its spread.

So, if you do discover dry rot in your listed property, the chances are high that you will have some form of damp problem to go along with it, as well as the chance that the dry rot could spread further, and effect more timber as well as other surfaces throughout the property.

So, the aforementioned survey will be important because it will highlight the extent of the dry rot, as well as exactly what caused it. Once all this has been established, you can rely on our team of technicians to visit and carry out the required works to restore your property to a safe and healthy state.

Normally the treatment for dry rot would follow a set course of action. The source of the damp allowing the dry rot fungus to grow will be treated, and then the timber affected by the dry rot either repaired where it can be, or replaced when it is beyond repair.

This can be slightly different in a listed building.

Firstly, the damp may be treated differently to adhere to the law regarding the repair of listed buildings. We might not use a chemical injection, for example, but rather apply an external mesh, or use electro-osmosis to deter the damp.

In any case, the timber will have to be treated with the same reverence. This means that any repairs we carry out will be done with the same type of timber as the buildings original, to keep the property in line with its original construction.

We may use applications such as fungicidal paste and fluids on timber that can be saved from the initial dry rot infestation, and where nothing more can be done, or the timber is a risk to the properties structural integrity, our technicians will look to fit a replacement.

The replacement of timber in a listed building will take place only with our skilled technicians when no other course of action is available. We will always do our best to retain as much and as many of the original features as possible, using the same timber in keeping with the properties original character and history.

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Can Timberwise Treat Dry Rot in a Listed Building?

Yes. If you have discovered, or have reason to suspect that your listed building is hosting dry rot, then Timberwise can help you with treatment.

Every single case of dry rot is different, and depending on your property the treatment and repair process could be entirely different to other cases of dry rot in listed buildings that we have treated. Until our surveyors have visited and come up with a proper plan of action bespoke to your situation.

The whole process starts with a survey. If you are concerned with dry rot in your property, give our team a call on 0880 288 8660, or fill in the form below, and we can book a survey to suit your timeline and needs.