Homeowners warned over wet weather rot threat



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Homeowners have been warned to check for rot after recent wet weather.

The Property Care Association urged residents to ensure their homes were watertight saying warmer temperatures and high levels of rainfall in Sussex could provide a ‘perfect breeding ground’ for fungi to damage timber.

Stephen Hodgson, the national trade body’s chief executive, said: “The recent wet weather has tested the most weathertight of properties and meant that homes can be drawing in much more moisture than usual.

“Wet and dry rot can affect buildings of all ages and the tell-tale signs include a darkening of the wood and a cracked appearance.

“If fungal decay is discovered, remedial action should be taken without delay.”

Wet and dry rot is caused by excessive moisture coming into a property. This can happen due to damaged roof tiles, blocked gutters, leaking water pipes and poor ventialtion of the timber within.

Wet rot typically affects untreated wood which is exposed to the elements such as window frames.

“Less common but generally more problematic is dry rot,” said Mr Hodgson.

It is caused by a different fungus when moisture content reaches more than 20 per cent and spreads more than wet rot.

Mr Hodgson added: “It is very important that the two types of decay be distinguished since they require different treatment.

“Although wet and dry rot can cause worry for the owners of an affected property, treatments have evolved over the years to make the problem much easier to remedy.

“Modern techniques place emphasis on the preservation of existing timber and minimising the level of structural works.

“Timber treatment methods have evolved considerably and modern techniques now achieve pinpoint accuracy - ensuring minimal impact on a property and its occupants.

“If timber treatment is to be less intrusive, it is essential that any problems with rot are diagnosed accurately and any remedial treatment required is carried out through a member of the PCA. Careful assessment is needed to address the issue promptly and accurately.”

A spokesman said: “The PCA is a member of TrustMark, the scheme supported by government to help property owners find reliable and trustworthy tradespeople to make home improvements.”

More information on wet and dry rot can be found on the PCA website at www.property-care.org/Homeowners.Timber_Treatment.asp

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