Identifying Wet Rot

What does wet rot look like and what can you do as a property owner to identify the problem? What makes the identification of wet rot problematic for property owners is that wet rot often progresses in non-visible areas of your property such as behind stairs, in the loft or attic and underneath flooring. Due to the difficulty in seeing such areas, it is not uncommon that what started as a minor wet rot issue has progressed into a larger problem. Therefore, it is important to treat the wet rot problem as soon as possible when it has been discovered.

Wet rot fungi found in buildings can be divided into two types, brown rots and white rots. With the exclusion of one brown rot, (Serpula Lacrymans otherwise known as Dry Rot) all brown rots are collectively referred to as wet rots.

Michael Horton Timberwise

Accredited to

Michael Horton

Remedial Surveyor and Waterproofing Specialist CSRT CSSW
South East

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Symptoms of Wet Rot

Fortunately, wet rot is easily identifiable if you look in the correct places. There are a few common signs of wet rot which will allow you to identify and eradicate the problem in its earliest form:

Darkened Wood Rot

Timber will have a brittle texture

Due to the high levels of moisture, timber will begin to breakdown causing a weakened structure and a sponge¬-like texture. As well as this, the wood and timber will appear to have a deeper colour to its original shade.

Wet Rot Treatment

Weakened Floorboards

One of the most difficult things for property owners trying to identify wet rot is that many wet rot issues occur in places we cannot see or cannot reach. In many cases the issues happen right under our feet, it’s knowing the signs of wet rot that could help identify the problem as early as possible. Whilst your floors may look unaffected on the surface, there is always potential that there could be a wet rot issue beneath your floorboards, so keep your eye out and try to notice any springy feeling when you’re walking across your floors as this may indicate a breakdown of the structure of the wood.

Wet Rot Under Floor Board

Cracking of the timber

If you have come across what you think is a wet rot issue there are a few telltale signs that will enable you to identify the matter. One of the most common signs of wood rot is the cracking of the wood, this may appear cuboidal or linear depending on the type of wet rot.

Wet Rot Smell

Presence of a damp smell

Luckily, for those situations where wet rot cannot be seen or felt, it is possible that a damp smell may give an indication of a problem. Water ingress can lead to damp within a property and it is the smell of damp that can lead us to a wet rot issue. The smell of damp and wet rot is often described as a ‘musty’ smell and the air can sometimes feel damp too. If it’s something you recognise, there's definitely some further digging to do.

Fungal Growth

Fungal growth

Similar to dry rot, the spread of mycelium growth may appear over adjacent masonry. The spread of mycelium with wet rot, however, will be somewhat limited in comparison to that of dry rot. This is due to the ability of dry rot to spread onto other building materials where wet rot cannot. Telltale signs of mycelium growth include the presence of thin web-¬like strands spreading across the surface of the wood. The strands grow to search for new sources of food to allow the spread to continue.

Speak to a Wet Rot Specialist today

If you want to speak to someone regarding a possible wet rot issue, call Timberwise today or simply request a survey below.

Request a survey

Got Wet Rot? Call 0800 288 8660 to arrange a survey or