Selling a house with a dry rot problem
What is dry rot?
Simply speaking, dry rot is a type of fungus. Wood destroying fungus. Its scientific Latin name is Serpula Lacrymas which can be translated as crying or weeping snake.
Even though biologically it has nothing to do with snakes it can sneak up on you and cause a deterioration of structural integrity.
How does dry rot compare to wet rot?
Dry rot and wet rot are both types of wood rot. Wet rot is usually white or brown in colour and can cause the darkening of the wood. Wet rot wood-destroying fungus is not as aggressive as dry rot but when untreated can affect the structural integrity of a building.
Wet rot softens the wood but when it comes to dry rot affected timbers stay hard. It is important to identify what kind of timber decay you’re dealing with so correct rot treatment can be applied.
Can dry rot spread through concrete?
Yes, it can. In opposition to wet rot, which cannot. In the mycelium stage (part of the fungus life cycle when it produces fine strands, it can travel quite far through concrete and other types of material in order to find food, mature, turn into a fruiting body and release more spores.
What are the first signs of dry rot?
It may be hard to spot the first signs of dry rot. Despite the name, it requires a minimum of 20% humidity, which the UK is not uncommon. UK climate favours damp and humid conditions which are perfect for further growth of fungi. The first signs will include cuboidal cracking, timber decay that causes a dry and brittle state of the wood. A significant fungal, damp, musky dry rot smell may also give away that you’re dealing with infected timbers. Dry rot occurs usually in dark, poorly ventilated conditions so look in lofts, behind plaster, under floorboards.
What is the treatment?
If you’re dealing with a rot outbreak is most beneficial to ask for the help of professionals because you’re dealing with a live microorganism. The first step is to identify what is causing dry rot so check for what can cause excess moisture. Look for any leaks, blocked gutters, loose roof tiles, check if vents are not obstructed. Anything that can increase moisture content needs to be identified and fixed. Timber with fungal decay should be removed and new pre-treated timber put in place. The whole area should be treated with a fungicide to kill dry rot spores.
How quickly can dry rot spread?
Very quickly. In good conditions, dry rot can grow even up to 8 cm in a day. That’s why it is so important to look out for any dry rot signs, identify them and seek assistance.
Can I sell a house with dry rot?
Yes, you can but… in this situation, where dry rot has been identified it may be a lengthy process. Let’s start with that the dry rot outbreaks need to be contained before putting the property on the market. That kind of repair will have to be declared as it may impact the structural integrity of the house. Not to mention that buyers may have problems with obtaining a mortgage on the property with previous dry rot problems. Don’t get discouraged, just be prepared that it will take more time than selling a property without the property. Another way to sell a property with dry rot history is to sell it to a professional property buyer. You don’t have to then worry about the repairs and lengthy wait. Quick sale companies like House Buy Fast can give you a cash offer within 24 hours. Chat to our friendly team and see if we can take your problematic property off your hands.