Dry rot treatment and timber repairs in Lancaster church

Although best known for damp proofing and waterproofing, Timberwise, as the name suggests, are specialists in the field of fungal decay identification (e.g. dry rot) and the repairing and replacing of damaged timbers. Here we look at an example of our timber repair skills following an outbreak of dry rot at a church in Lancaster.

Timberwise was called upon to provide a survey following the sighting of what was believed to be fungal decay within the church. Sections of the arch beam trusses were affected by True Dry Rot Fungus – or to give it it’s correct name Serpula Lacrymans. The dry rot had caused the breakdown of the wooden trusses which were key in supporting the south aisle roof of the church along with other timbers.


 The Cause of the Dry Rot

Before any treatments can be made to the area affected by dry rot it is important to identify the cause of the dry rot – dry rot  germinates from spores that need perfect living conditions for growth – such as damp, humid areas with a plentiful food source of cellulose or lignin within timber. In the case of this church, slates had slipped from the roof, rainwater pipes had corroded and there was a defective lead splitter – all of which contributed to water ingress into the building allowing the perfect conditions for dry rot to thrive. The photos above show the defective splitter and corroded rain water pipes.

It is always a shame to see beautiful architecture destroyed by such a preventable issue, thankfully myself and my team were able to bring back the church to its former glory.

Graham Malpass, Surveyor


The treatment for the dry rot problem

The areas where water had gained entry into the church were repaired removing one of the major contributing factors of the dry rot outbreak. Timberwise treated the area by removing the damaged timbers (trusses and bearing ends). Timber resin splices were used to replace the damaged timbers and fungicidal treatments applied to other timbers in the vicinity. Further information about timber resin repairs can be found on our timber resin repairs advice page. The pictures below show the damaged roof trusses, dry rot fruiting bodies in situ, and the final repaired timber trusses.

Further information about dry rot

Dry rot spores are ubiquitous and there is no environment free from them. Dry rot spores will germinate and grow in timber where there is a  moisture content of between 20 and 30 percent. The fine fungal threads, or hyphae, digest the cellulose within the wood. Active dry rot has a fresh white or greyish appearance. Some hyphae group together to form conducting strands – the main function of these been to conduct nutrients through inert non-nutrient materials (for example brickwork) to allow the growth of dry rot and the eventual colonisation of other timbers.

 “Help! I suspect I might have dry rot – what should I do?”

If you believe that you have an outbreak of fungal decay in your property don’t panic! Timberwise have been caring for properties for over 4 decades and in this time have treated many dry rot problems making us specialists in dry rot treatments. To speak to one of our property care team or to arrange a dry rot survey call 0800 288 8660 or complete the online dry rot survey request form.

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