Timber preservation is extremely important, even though timber has been used as a building material for millennia and is strong, beautiful and sustainable – wood-rotting fungi and certain insects (woodworm) break down wood cells and ultimately destroy the integrity of timber in your home. This damage can lead to substantial costs and even potential danger for inhabitants due to the weakening of the structural integrity if left unchecked. Common timber problems include woodworm, dry rot and wet rot. Dry rot refers to damage caused by a particular species of fungi, whereas wet rot is a more general term, encompassing a range of different fungi. Dry rot causes timber to become dry and powdery, the cause is a fungi called Serpula lacrymans which digests timber and discharges fungal spores.
Dry rot can be detected by a cheap sensor and only involves drilling a small hole in the timber. Wet rot is more easily identified than dry rot, as the affected timber actually feels damp to the touch, though it can be slightly harder to detect with painted timber. The best simple test is to try pushing a knife into the timber, if timber is solid you should feel resistance after just a few millimetres, if the timber is affected by wet rot it will feel spongy and looks darker than normal.
Rot will only affect timber that is physically damp, both wet and dry rot require a moisture content of at least 20%, there are three DIY steps it's worth trying before calling in a professional timber preservation company. First of all try removing the source of moisture, this could be a leaking roof ormeven leaking appliances or poorly sealed sinks, baths or showers. Allow timber to dry out properly with good ventilation and an external dry heating source. Finally, you could try and replace affected timber and replace with new timber, or if only small sections are affected you could replace sections of rotten timber with epoxy resin. This is often enough for less severe cases of rot. For more serious problems, you need to call in a timber preservation specialist or company.
Even with professional treatment, sometimes initial treatments may be insufficient. Further measures including isolating wood by physical containment using joinery lining or masonry and the application of fungicidal renderings and paints to form a chemical barrier between the timber and the surrounding environment may be required using substances such as zinc oxychloride. In-situ chemical treatments can include surface spraying, application of fungicidal pastes, fluid injection of fungicides using plastic valves and the insertion of water-soluble borate rods into the timber.
The costs for timber treatments obviously depend on the size of your house, the type of treatment and the extent of the problem, but as a rough guide you can expect to pay around £600 to £1000 for rot removal, pesticide or woodworm treatment. These prices may seem quite expensive, but is in fact much cheaper than the alternative, which is replacing the timbers! To get a free quote for timber treatment please click the "post your job" button and leave brief details of your timber problems, along with you contact information. Local timber specialists will then get in touch to arrange a survey.