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Know the Signs of Dry Rot

27th September 2017

Categories  Dry Rot

Dry rot is a serious issue, which can wreak havoc in a property if left undetected and untreated. It’s very nature means it’s prone to originating in damp and dark places that are out of sight and where leaks, one of the most common causes of a dry rot problem, can easily go unseen.  This and the fact it can spread quickly means it can be difficult to spot and so is often at an advanced stage when it is discovered. The cost and disruption of repair can be extensive.

So how can you tell if you have dry rot in your home and stop it in its tracks? The bottom line is, you need to be property aware, looking out for leaks and damp patches that could indicate a more sinister problem and keeping your eyes (and nose) peeled for the tell-tale signs that dry rot is present.

Here’s some handy advice from damp and timber treatment specialists, ProTen Services on what to look out for.

Damp and musty mushroom type smell

One of the most obvious signs of a dry rot problem is a damp, musty, mushroomy smell in the air. This smell is a significant sign that there is dry rot somewhere in the property, that it is active and likely to be spreading.

Changes to the wood

Another common indicator is a change to the feel and appearance to timbers in the property such as door frames, skirting boards and flooring. As well as being noticeably dry and crumbly to the touch, you will also be able to spot key visual clues such as a warped and shrunken appearance and cuboidal shaped cracks thanks to the lack of moisture. Flooring can feel spongy which can indicate floor boards are starting to soften and rot.

Grey threads similar in appearance to cobwebs

Another giveaway for dry rot is the presence of distinctive grey strands on timber. These don’t look too dissimilar to cobwebs at first glance and are how dry rot spreads from one area to another in their search for moisture. They are another clear indication that a dry rot problem has started to take hold and spread.


White mycelium is the penultimate stage in the dry rot life cycle. It looks like balls of cotton wall and so although easily recognisable it can be hard to spot as it will often be located under floor voids where the atmosphere is damp and humid and there is little ventilation.

Mushroom, pancake like fruiting bodies

The fruiting body of dry rot is the last stage in the dry rot lifespan. It has a very distinctive mushroom, fungus type appearance resembling fleshy pancake-like growths with an orange-ochre surface and distinctive wide pores.

Red spore dust

The spore dust from the fruiting body is indicative of a dry rot problem. It means that dry rot is at an advanced stage as the dry rot fruiting body has exploded spreading spores into the air ready to find another source of moisture. This dust is easy to identify thanks to its reddish-brown rusty colour.


It’s essential to tackle a dry rot problem as soon as you notice any of the signs as, once present, it can spread rapidly.  Treatment for dry rot is a delicate operation, involving not only treating the affected area but also repairing or replacing damaged timbers and most importantly of all stopping the source of water or damp that lead to the dry rot problem in the first place.

Contact your local damp and dry rot treatment specialists to seek advice and arrange for a damp and timber survey. They will have the resources, skills and experience to assess and deal with your dry rot problem quickly, safely and effectively so you can get back to normal as soon as possible, safe in the knowledge that your property is damp and dry rot free.

For further information and advice, or to book a damp or timber survey, please contact us here.

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