DRY AND WET ROT
Rot is an age old enemy of wood, which comes in a variety of compositions.
Dry rot is a fungus that destroys wood and which exists in many parts of the world. Despite the name, dry rot requires moisture, very often the source being from leaks such as downpipes, gutters and plumbing etc., which result in the timbers being in contact with moisture for prolonged periods.
In homes and buildings that are affected with dampness, dry rot is most likely to occur within the woodwork of the building, often becoming apparent on skirting boards and other joinery.
Wet rot attacks wood in damp conditions and where timber is in contact with damp masonry. Wet rot decay is often found in suspended timber floors and skirting boards in contact with damp masonry. Timber lintels supporting masonry over windows and door openings can also be affected where penetrating damp has occurred.
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.
Woodworm is a generic description given to the infestation of a wooden item (normally part of a dwelling or the furniture in it) by the wood-eating larvae/grubs of one of many species of beetle.
Signs of woodworm usually consist of holes in the wooden item, live infestations showing powder (faeces) around the holes. The size of the hole varies.
Adult beetles which emerged from the wood may also be found in the summer months. Typically the adult beetles lay eggs on, or just under the surface of, a wooden item. The resulting grubs then feed on the wooden item causing both structural and cosmetic damage, before pupating and hatching as beetles which then breed, lay eggs, and repeat the process causing further damage. As the beetles evolved consuming dead wood in various forest habitats, most grubs, if not all, typically require that the wooden item contain a higher moisture content than is normally found in wooden items in a typical home.
A building with a woodworm problem in the structure or furniture probably/possibly also has a problem with excess damp. The issue could be lack of ventilation in a roof space, cellar or other enclosed space within an otherwise dry building. Whilst damp is a leading factor resulting in woodworm some species of woodboring insect, such as the Woodboring Weevil, are only found in instances where fungal rot has already begun to occur.