Dry rot fungus is the most important timber decay fungus in buildings in Europe. The Himalayas and Eastern Europe is the areas where it is found in the wild (to date).
The name dry rot can be confusing as the timber has to be wet for it to occur (20% to 28%). The name has been around for at least 200 years and mostly describes the effect of the brown rots. In the early 1960’s the brown rots were re-assessed and Serpula Lacrymans was allocated the sole name dry rot to separate it from the other brown rots.
Despite a justified destructive reputation, Serpula Lacrymans has a high degree of sensitivity to its environment. The fungus requires an initial growth temperature of between 21 and 25°C preferred pH level in the acid to neutral range and limited air movement with a wood moisture content of above 20%. Extensive brown cuboid damage with thick strands would normally indicate that the decay has been going on for a long time.
The dry rot fruiting body normally occurs when the outbreak is distressed (It is the flower of the fungus).
Dry rot will not live in masonry (without a wood source), the strands bringing nutrients back to the main body to help balance its digestive system.
An inspection must be carried out with special attention to the structural sections which should be drill tested where possible to find the extent of any decay. A dry rot sensor can be helpful in mapping out the infestation or monitoring.
Dry rot in the UK Serpula Lacrymans
(previously known as Merulius Lacrymans)
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