The main culprit behind timber damage in Melbourne homes is none other than fungus with a capital F. Fungal decay can wreak havoc on your home, leading to a myriad of problems. The two most common types of timber rot are dry and wet.

How to Identify Dry Rot

Dry rot is the most serious form of fungal decay you can encounter in your home. It requires a moisture content of 20% in order to thrive. Lack of ventilation combined with moisture are a recipe for disaster, adding fuel to the fire and inviting this fungus to eat away at door frames, wood flooring and structural timber.

Signs of Dry Rot

Dry rot is a stealthy fungus, often causing most of its destruction in the shadows, hidden from view. However, there are a few telltale signs that can put you on the right track when it comes to identifying dry rot.

  • Damaged Timber- when timber is ruined by dry rot, it becomes brown in color and may crumble like a fragile cookie.
  • Spore Dust- a dry rot outbreak is usually identified by large concentrated specks of fine orange-brown dust.
  • Grey Strands- spores are behind the appearance of these web-like strands. They signal the beginning of a stage where dry rot spreads and grows by drawing out moisture from damp areas and feeding on timber.
  • White Mycelium- dry rot generates these cotton wool-like cushions when it needs to reach nearby timber. The color of these fluffy clouds ranges from grey to snow white.
  • Fruiting Bodies: these mushroom like bodies announce the final stage in the life cycle of this menacing dry rot where it injects spores into the air to begin a brand new cycle. The bad news here is that structural decay is well in progress.
  • Odor: dry rot has a distinctive musty, damp smell, so keep your senses on the lookout for this unpleasant odor.


It is always best to hire a professional building inspector to take a look at your Melbourne property in case any of the above signs were present. A dilapidation report filled out by a building inspector goes hand in hand with your future renovation plans.

Treatment of Dry Rot

Dry rot is attracted to moisture, so removing this from the equation is the first step in preventing it from thriving in the first place. Using environmental controls such as ventilation and isolation are also modern methods to deal with this kind of timber rot.

  • Replacing rotting timber with brand new treated timber.
  • Applying protective chemical barriers such as fungicides.


How to identify Wet Rot

Wet rot also needs a regular source of moisture in order to grow. A high moisture content of around 50% is ideal for this kind of rot. This moisture usually originates from either defective plumbing, damaged gutters or downpipes. A leaky roof, bathtub or even a washing machine can contribute to moisture around your Melbourne home. Any timber exposed to moisture provides a breeding ground for wet rot spores.

Signs of Wet Rot

Damage caused by this rot is usually confined to the timber itself. Telltale signs of timber rot include the following:

  • Timber will become soft and spongy and appear darker as well. This can even happen under layers of paint.
  • Bleached wood is another sign of wet rot. Doors and window frames are common places where this bleaching can be found.
  • When dry, the timber will crack and disintegrate into fine particles. It can also be at risk of shrinkage.
  • Search for flaky or ruined paint. Damaged paint can also invite wet rot to take hold. If the paint is not damaged, yet you suspect the presence of wet rot, then press a knife with a thin blade straight into the painted timber. If the timber easily swallows the blade, then rot is definitely waiting for you behind that coat of paint.

A professional building inspector with an eye for detail can help you identify wet rot as well. Asking for a dilapidation report will help you keep a recent record of the issues encountered in and around your property. This dilapidation report will help you determine the treatment methods needed to repair the damage caused by this destructive timber rot.

Treatment of Wet Rot

  • Repairing any leaks is the first step in cutting off the moisture supply of wet timber.
  • Rotten timber must be removed and replaced.
  • If structural timber was the victim of wet rot, then it is best to contact an expert on the matter in order to save your precious home from the clutches of decay.
  • For more information contact our expert at Juro Building Inspections.

Prevention is key. Therefore, all external timber frames must be painted to preserve it.
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