Have you noticed the following signs in your crawl space or basement?
- A damp musty smell
- Cracks or signs of shrinkage in joinery
- Spores or dust that is rust red in color on various surfaces around fruiting bodies
- Growths that are white and fluffy
- Your floors becoming more springy
These are all signs that you may have a dry rot problem on your hands. You will need to call an expert as soon as possible to deal with the problem.
What is this all about?
Dry rot is a fungus that is scientifically known as Serpula lacrymans. It feeds on cellulose that is part of the structure of wood. It digests the cellulose and therefore weakens the wood. This results in a compromise of the integrity of the wood. The wood is left looking brown and is brittle to the touch.
Unlike black mold, the spores of this mold are not harmful to our health. However, they may cause allergic reactions in some people. Their effects on wood however are reason enough to ensure that the mold is treated as soon as possible.
Dry rot spores are in the air at any given time. However, infestation is only possible when conditions are right. For an infestation to occur, there must be:
- Wood on which the fungus can feed
An infestation can only occur when moisture levels are above 20%. Since you cannot get rid of or even control the levels of oxygen or the presence of the wood, which is part of your structure, you will do well to control the levels of moisture.
Eradicating moisture may involve waterproofing the space and introducing a dehumidifier that will control the levels of moisture in the air circulating in the space. This will go a long way in preventing an infestation. Controlling moisture levels in the space is also the first step to eradicating the presence of the mold in the space.
Repairing the damage
Once you have the moisture levels under control, you can proceed to deal with the damage that the mold has caused. In many cases, this means replacing damaged timber. It also means treating the timber in the space to kill spores and mycelium that may have penetrated it.
Do not attempt to repair ry rot damage on your own. It is best to call in an expert to ensure that you get the job done right.