The following is a brief insight to the type of Remedial problems found in buildings due to poor maintenance, bad building practice, neglect and age of the property, to name but a few. In almost all cases it advisable to seek a Specialist in the preservation industry to carry out the necessary repairs and treatments.

Damp proofing   Woodworm

Rising damp

Moisture from the ground rising by capillary action through bricks, masonry and mortars etc.. The problems arising from dampness in buildings are; deteriorating decorations from the damp the wall plaster. Wall plaster breaks down due to hygroscopic salt deposits. These hygroscopic salts are carried for the ground and are, in their essence moisture absorbing, this means the salts can absorb moisture from the surrounding atmosphere. Therefore even after the introduction of a damp course in almost all cases the surface of the walls are still damp. To remedy this the affected plaster to well past the last signs of dampness must be removed and an acceptable re-plastering specification used.

 

Wood Boring Insects

There are many types of wood boring insects, generally in the UK the  most common of these is Anobium puctatum (common furniture beetle). This beetle has a life cycle between 4 and 5 years and lives and feeds on soft woods such as the floor and roof timbers of our every day buildings. Another fairly common beetle is the Xestobium rufovillosum (death watch beetle). This beetle has a life cycle of up to 15 years and lives and feeds on hard wood timbers more commonly found in older buildings like churches, cottages, stately homes and the like, with oak  / elm beams etc.

 

Dampness is also a health hazard and the gateway for the germination of wood rotting fungi

Wood Rotting Fungi

Wood decay in buildings can be initiated by the germination of spores or by the vegetative development of hyphae. Spores are always present in the atmosphere, hyphal invasion from an adjoining affected area can introduce decay . Decay can regenerate from fungal hyphae (strands) left in wood or in walls so long as the conditions are right for growth. Moisture is a key requirement and is necessary for both spore germination and hyphal colonization.

Dry Rot   Wet Rot
The term dry rot is a misnomer in that it implies that there is decay without moisture. This is not true and it should be clarified that all wood decay requires a source of moisture.

Serpula lacrymans (True Dry Rot) is the fungus probably found causing the most extensive damage in buildings. A brown rot which particularly occurs on wood embedded in or in contact with wet brick work / stone work. The hyphae of dry rot is able to grow through brick work and mortar, though can not feed on these. Strands from the Dry Rot then transport moisture from damp areas, this allowing a spread of the fungus to dry wood in unventilated conditions.

  There are many fungal species causing wet rot and the same remedial measure are required for them all. They may cause a darkening of the timber (brown rot) or bleaching (white rot) the most common know as the cellar rot Coniophora puteana (Wet rot). At risk from decay are aeras where poor ventilation allows the timbers to absorb moisture from the damp areas, where joists may bear into masonry that is damp through rising or penetrating dampness, wet rot does not however, have the ability to spread its attack in the way that dry rot will, and therefore will be limited to the areas that contain a sufficiently high moisture content to support fungal growth.
 

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