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What is Wet Rot?

10th October 2023

Categories  Latest News/Timber Treatment

What is Wet Rot? Unveiling the Damp Menace That Threatens Your Timber

Wet rot is a term that might send shivers down the spine of any homeowner or property manager. It’s a destructive force that can silently undermine the structural integrity of your building by causing timber to decay. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of wet rot, answering key questions such as “what is wet rot,” “what does wet rot look like,” “how to treat wet rot,” “what causes wet rot,” “does wet rot spread,” “what is wet rot in timber,” “how to stop wet rot in wood,” and “will wet rot dry out?” Let’s dive in.

What is Wet Rot?

What is Wet Rot?

Wet rot, also known as brown rot, is a type of wood decay that occurs when timber is exposed to prolonged moisture. Unlike dry rot, which can develop in relatively dry conditions, wet rot specifically requires high moisture levels to thrive. When timber becomes damp for an extended period, it provides the ideal environment for wet rot to take hold.

What Does Wet Rot Look Like?

Identifying wet rot can be crucial in addressing the issue promptly. Wet rot often appears as follows:

Darkened Wood: Infected timber usually becomes darker and discoloured, often taking on a brown or grey hue.

Shrinkage and Cracking: Wet rot can cause timber to shrink and crack, resulting in a crumbly or fibrous texture.

Cuboidal Cracking: One distinctive feature of wet rot is the formation of cuboidal cracks in the affected wood, which can resemble a cube-like pattern.


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How to Treat Wet Rot?

Treating wet rot typically involves the following steps:

Identify the Source: Locate and eliminate the source of moisture that is causing the wet rot.

Remove Affected Timber: Remove and replace any timber that is extensively damaged by wet rot.

Treat with Fungicides: Apply fungicides to the remaining timber to kill the wet rot and prevent it from spreading further.

Address Structural Damage: If the wet rot has caused structural damage, repairs may be necessary.

Improve Ventilation: Enhance ventilation in the affected area to prevent future moisture build up.

What is Wet Rot?

What Causes Wet Rot?

Wet rot is primarily caused by prolonged exposure to moisture. Common sources of moisture that can lead to wet rot include:

  • Leaking roofs or pipes
  • Poorly maintained gutters and downpipes
  • Condensation build up
  • High humidity levels
  • Lack of adequate ventilation


Does Wet Rot Spread?

It can spread through timber if the conditions remain favourable. However, it typically doesn’t spread as aggressively as dry rot. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to address promptly to prevent further damage.

What is Wet Rot in Timber?

This refers to the decay and deterioration of wooden structures due to prolonged exposure to moisture. It can affect various types of timber, including structural beams, floorboards, and window frames.


How to Stop Wet Rot in Wood?

Preventing decay in wood involves taking steps to eliminate or manage moisture sources and maintain a dry environment. Here are some measures to consider:

Fix Leaks: Repair any leaks in your roof, plumbing, or gutters promptly to prevent water from entering your property.

Improve Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation to reduce moisture build up, especially in areas like bathrooms and kitchens.

Treat Timber: Consider treating timber with preservatives to make it more resistant to moisture and decay.

Regular Inspections: Conduct regular inspections to identify and address moisture issues early.

Will Wet Rot Dry Out?

Timbers may dry out if the moisture source is eliminated and the timber is adequately ventilated. However, the damaged wood may not regain its original strength or structural integrity. In most cases, it is advisable to replace extensively affected timber rather than relying on it to dry out.


Wet rot is a formidable adversary that can jeopardise the stability of your property’s timber structures. Understanding what type of decay has occurred, what it looks like, its causes, and the methods for treating and preventing it is essential for homeowners and property managers. By promptly addressing and taking preventive measures, you can safeguard your property and ensure the longevity of your timber structures.
Of course there is no substitute for experience or expertise so please  Contact us if you need assistance.


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