Timber is susceptible to attack by FUNGAL DECAY and / or INSECT INFESTATION.
When timber remains wet for some time, decay can occur as a result of attack by one of a number of wood-destroying fungi.
The most well known are Dry Rot (serpula lacrymans), Cellar Fungus (coniophora puteana) and Mine Fungus (Poria vaillantii) The fungi will only attack wet timber, so finding and eradicating the source of dampness is essential.
The decay process starts in similar ways:
When the fruiting bodies mature they produce millions of spores which are dispersed by air currents. If they fall on untreated, damp timber they will develop and eventually mycelium will form. The mycelium will feed on the inside of the wood, weakening the timber. This can obviously be dangerous in some instances.
Dry Rot is the most serious form of fungal decay, as it can spread through other materials and travels very quickly.
Wet Rot is much more common, but far less serious. Usually decay is limited to the area where the timber has become wet and cannot dry out. It does not spread as the mycelium does not travel into walls.
It is vital that the types and causes of fungal decay are correctly identified. Although they can appear very similar, the damage they cause is very different. Identification and treatment must be carried out by a specialist such as J & M Remedial Services, who will need to carry out an initial survey of the property.
Ignoring the decay of any timber will encourage insect infestation.
Common Insect Infestation
Common Furniture Beetle:
- Attacks hardwood and softwood.
- Signs of attack are short tunnels running along the grain of wood, with round exit holes. Bore dust gritty.
- Larva feeds on wood for 3 yrs+.
- Adults emerge between May and August.
Death Watch Beetle:
- Attacks partly decayed hardwood, eg oak.
- Tunnels towards the centre of the timber, therefore the damage is often more extensive that it initially appears.
- Round exit holes round with pellets visible in bore dust.
- Adults emerge between March and June.
Wood Boring Weevi:
- Attacks decaying wood, therefore the wood should be replaced as a priority to treatment.
- Tunnels run along the grain of the wood.
- Ragged exit holes, coarse bore dust.
- Both adults and larvae attack wood.