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Dry Rot vs Wet Rot

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Dry Rot vs Wet Rot

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

Having wood rot in a home isnt a good thing for homeowners, but it is important to understand the differences between the two.


Dry Rot Vs Wet Rot

Dry Rot

Is only caused by serpula lacrymans and is the most serious form of fungal decay in a building. It can spread onto and destroy much of the timber. Signs for dry rot:

  • Distinct mushroom smell

  • White fungal growth with yellow and lilac tinges

  • Deep cracks appear within the wood

  • Both soft and hardwoods can be damaged

Wet Rot

Occurs more frequently; decay is typically confined to the area where timber has become and remains wet. Signs of wet rot :

  • Distortion, discolouration, softness and cracking

  • Loss of strength to the timber

  • Visible fungal growth – this may sometimes occur

  • Smell – there may be a damp musty smell

Outbreaks of dry and wet rot start in similar ways. The mature fruiting bodies of wood-destroying fungi that develop during an attack produce millions of microscopic spores and these are widely dispersed by air currents. If they fall on untreated damp wood they will germinate by pushing out a hollow tube called a hypha which grows and branches to form a mass of hyphal threads called mycelium.

This develops inside the timber and breaks down the wood for food. The timber may darken in color and develop a characteristic cracked appearance. Some wet rots may result in bleaching of the wood; these are more common in doors and window frames. Eventually, the wood loses its strength and in some situations may become dangerously unsafe.

What Is The Difference?

The main differences between dry rot and wet rot are the degree of development of mycelium on the wood surface and the ability of the fungus to spread into other timbers via adjacent masonry. It is important that the two types of decay be distinguished since they require different treatment.

Best way to help prevent wood rot

Wood rot-- also called wood destroying fungi- need water, air and food. Since wood is their food, and it is not possible to eliminate air, the only control mechanism is to eliminate the water and moisture in the wood components. WoodProTech formulations encapsulate and impregnate the wood fibers which helps control the moisture content and absorption over time.


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