Dry rot mould formed on skirting board

The Life Cycle of Dry Rot

Most people don’t understand that dry rot has a life cycle and fights for its own life in extraordinary ways. Dry rot needs food to live and to grow and goes to extreme lengths to make sure it continues to do so.

We’ve briefly explained the life cycle of dry rot to give you an overview of the complexity we are faced with when carrying out the treatment for dry rot. There are four main stages in the dry rot lifecycle.

Accredited to



Spores are omnipresent, meaning they exist everywhere. Individually they are invisible to the human eye however when in large numbers they appear as orange and brown dust, this is one of the simplest ways of identifying dry rot. The lifecycle of dry rot begins when spores come in contact with timber in a favourable environment. Once on the timber the spore will germinate and produce Hyphae growth.

Fungal Growth


Hyphae act as the root of the rot, stringing fine strands to grow through the wood and timber. The hyphae will then feed on the sugars within the timber known as cellulose, hemi¬cellulose and lignin. The dry rot fungi / fungus produces enzymes to split the sugars, reversing the formation of the wood. These enzymes, however, are unable to break down lignin. The subtraction of these sugars results in cross grain cuboidal cracking, reducing the timber to an unsound structural state. Hyphae then multiply and colonise together, generating mycelium growth, a fluffy cotton-wool like substance.

dry rot affecting timber


Mycelium can travel great distances to find new sources of food, and it is this ability to spread through various building materials (it can even go through bricks and mortar!) that allows a dry rot outbreak to progressively feed on timbers throughout an entire property. Following the structure of a property drying out, it can lay dormant for anything up to ten years, and has the ability to come back to life should the environment be right.

How to Identify Dry Rot


Like any life form, dry rot can be stopped by a lack of air, food or water. But what makes dry rot annoyingly unique is that when short of such vital elements, the dry rot produces a self¬-reproduction organ known as a sporophore. This allows the spore¬ bearing surface of the sporophore to shed orange coloured spores into the atmosphere in the hope that that the spores can land once again in the right environment to carry on germinating and extending the growth period of the dry rot.

If you feel you have an outbreak of dry rot in your property or need advice about how to treat dry rot, you can give our team a call and one of our team members will do their best to help you diagnose the issue and explain how Timberwise can help. Alternatively, you can book a dry rot survey online and one of our experts will contact directly.

Request a survey online

Dry Rot Problem? Call 0800 288 8660 or