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Any type of timber and woodwork rot in a property can be extremely dangerous if not treated quickly and correctly. The rot damages the structure of the wood, causing it to weaken as well as reducing the quality of the affected environment with smells, odours and mould spores. Davidson's DPR are able to identify, treat and prevent all types of timber rot, and the information below should help you identify what may be affecting your property though it is always worth speaking to an expert to ensure the correct treatment is chosen as the causes wet and dry rot are different and therefore need different treatments and preventative measures.
Dry rot is the term used to describe 'brown rot decay' which is caused by fungi that attack and damage the timber in buildings and other wooden structures.
Whilst the name suggests this rot does not require moisture (damp), this is incorrect. To ensure the type of rot is correctly identified, the type of fungus causing the problem needs to be confirmed to ensure it is not one linked to wet rot.
Typical symptoms of dry rot include:
- Wood shrinks and darkens, cracking in a square/cube shaped manner
- A grey skin, similar colour to a mushroom, may be seen, and this skin can often be peeled off, again similar to peeling a mushroom
- Fluffy cotton-wool type growths may develop under certain levels of humidity, often wish visible tear drops
- Strands develop in the fungal growth which are brittle and easily broken
- Larger fruiting growths may be seen, resembling a soft and fleshy pancake with an orangey colour surface with large pores
- Rusty red coloured spore dust is often seen around the fruiting growths
- The decaying wood may produce a musty, damp smell
Treating and preventing dry rot
Dry rot only affects woodwork that is damp, usually with a moisture content above 20%. It is critical that the source of moisture is removed alongside other treatments which will stop and remove the potential for future growth and property damage.
The most common causes of damp include leaking appliances (e.g. washing machines), shower trays, baths, and condensation build-up. Once the source of damp has been identified and removed, the affected timber is often removed and replaced with pre-treated wood to prevent re-infection. Other timbers in the area which are not replaced may also be treated with an appropriate fungicide. If the dry rot has passed through masonry, this should be isolated using physical barriers and/or sterilisation procedures.
Wet rot requires a higher level of moisture and damp than dry rot but is not usually as difficult to remove and prevent compared with dry rot. Wet rot requires a regular source of moisture which can often come from damaged plumbing, drain pipes, gutters or brick pointing. As wet rot spreads, it weakens timbers and woodwork and can leave a bad smell.
Symptoms of wet rot
- Musty damp smell in the affected area
- Softening of affected timber which may be discoloured and losing strength
- Visible fungal growth
Treating wet rot
The first step is to identify and remove the source of damp. Once this has been done, the affected timber is usually replaced and this and other timber in the area may be treated with an appropriate fungicide to prevent the issue re-occurring in the future. Sometimes it is possible to cut away the affected section of timber and replace it with new, though in severe cases it is essential to replace the entire piece of woodwork to ensure structural rigidity is maintained.
Woodworm is a term used to describe the infestation of a wooden item or timber by the wood eating larvae of a number of different beetle species. The grubs do not come from a specific species of beetle however the effect on the timber is the same. Woodworm can cause serious structural concern if present in a property so once identified it is critical to remove and prevent the issue as soon as possible to reduce the costs associated with treating a larger outbreak in the future.
Identifying woodworm problems
Woodworm is often easy to spot as the infestation results in holes within the affected item or timber. The holes may vary in size but are typically 1mm to 1.5mm in diameter for most common household beetle species. During the summer months it may also be possible to spot the adult beetles which have emerged from the wood.
The beetles lay their eggs on or just under the surface of the wood and the larvae feed on the wood itself causing structural and cosmetic damage. These larvae then turn into beetles themselves and repeat the cycle, causing further damage. Because the larvae need moisture to live successfully, woodworm is more common in properties where there is a problem with excess damp, perhaps from poor ventilation or condensation build up. Some woodworm is only found where fungal rot has already started to occur so they may be an indication of more severe damp problems within your property.
Woodworm is nearly always controlled using chemical insecticides. It is also advisable to investigate and remove any potential damp issues in the vicinity of the woodworm problem since dry wood is rarely affected by woodworm and wood that remains damp may result in further woodworm or rot problems in the future.
To ensure appropriate treatment and prevention of future woodworm outbreaks in your property, Davidson's DPR will undertake a full survey of your property before recommending the appropriate course of action to remedy and address the problem and the cause of your outbreak.
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After failed attempts from 2 other companies to resolve the numerous damp issues (rising and penetrating) in my house the DPR team have fully resolved the issues
The final results are fantastic and now looks better than when I moved in!
Cheers Guys, top professional job, credit where credit's due. Postscript: Just had DPR back to do my bathroom as a wet room Amazing finish and quality of work, exemplary attitude - A big thanks again Adam.