Types of timber fungus

Written by megan richardson
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Types of timber fungus
Moisture can cause healthy timber to decay. (trees image by Marta Reimpell from Fotolia.com)

Fungi that effect timber are made up of microscopic strands that grow together to produce a mass. When timber is moist, fungi can cause a great deal of damage. Monitoring moisture is the best way to prevent fungi from attacking and decaying timber.

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White Rot

White rot fungus creates blisters on the wood it infests. White rot lives in warm temperatures. Weather that is 30 degrees Celsius is the optimum temperature for white rot to live. The blisters look scaly and papery on the timber's surface. However, inside the wood, they are slimy and brown. Drought, along with the wear and tear of harsh winter weather, can increase the spread of white rot blisters.

Wet Rot

Wet rot is also known at the cellar fungus. There has to be 50 to 60 per cent moisture content for wet rot to exist. The bottom of frames are most likely to be effected by wet rot. A lack of ventilation can also make timber vulnerable to wet rot. Damaged paint jobs increase the chances of wet rot.

Timber that is spongy or darker than the surrounding timber is usually a sign of wet rot. Wet rot is usually an indication that there is a structural problem. It is pointless to repair timber effected by wet rot, unless the structure defects are changed, too. The damage can sometimes be repaired by filling in damaged parts with an epoxy-based repair kit.

Dry Rot

Dry rot is a much more serious problem than wet rot. The fungus is malignant, and it's able to spread through thick walls. Only 20 per cent moisture content is needed for dry rot to survive. When this fungus attacks timber, the wood becomes dry and brittle. It can crumble in a person's hand.

Dry rot is known as the building cancer, because it can cause extensive damage before ever being discovered. It is able to cause so much damage by transporting moisture to dry wood. It is usually treated by removing the damaged timber and treating the area with chemical fungicide. Door frames are replaced with frames that have a strip of damp-proof membrane around the frame. The membrane keeps the timber from getting moist enough to be destroyed.

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