Dry Rot is caused by a fungus called Serpula lacrymans (S.
lacrymans) and is unquestionably the most insidious of all troubles
that beset buildings - the first sign of its presence may be the structural
collapse of a section of apparently sound timber.
S. lacrymans is constructed of hyphae and mycelium and such
structures are able to conduct moisture throughout a piece of timber
and they are also able to penetrate and spread over relatively dry brickwork
and masonry. This moisture-conducting ability allows S. lacrymans
to spread from one area of timber to another area, which one may have
supposed might have been too dry to become infested. In addition, as
the wood cellulose - the food source for S. lacrymans - is broken
down, the carbon dioxide and water which are formed as breakdown products
further assist the spread of S. lacrymans.
Wet rot is caused by a fungus called Coniophora puteana (C.
puteana). Timber attacked by C. puteana appears dark coloured, and
logitudinal cracking will be evident. The fungus is localised, so unlike
Dry Rot it cannot penetrate brickwork, and its requirement for high moisture levels usually prevents it from forming a fruiting body in buildings. However, though a
less advanced fungus than Dry Rot, the national cost (in the UK) of repairs due to
Wet Rot is far higher than for repairs due to Dry Rot...
The Mine Fungus, Poria vaillantii tends also to be included under the
heading of Wet Rot.
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