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Dry rot - with an attitude?

For some time now there have been reports of significant failures in so called 'dry rot treatments' - by this we mean masonry irrigation/sterilisation. Following treatment dry rot has reported to have gone wild, popping out of the irrigation holes and growing furiously over and through supposedly treated material. There are many horror stories of comebacks and retreatments of supposedly sterilised areas; some have cost £1000's, and even expensive litigation. And, of course, this always happens on the most expensive prestigious jobs. Murphy's Law in action again!


 Microspraying preservatives -- myth or magic?

It's getting popular, it’s cheap, quick and easy. Yes, we are talking about misting, fogging, micro-spraying, ULV treatments - call it what you will. So what's it all about?

Basically, the process involves producing a mist of a timber preservative and blowing this into a space where there are timbers, e.g., subfloor areas, roof spaces. This process puts tiny droplets of preservative into the air, some of which land on the timber thereby theoretically providing a suitable protective coating. The advantage is clear - no basic disturbance; floorboards, carpets, etc, can be left and the operator can just sit and wait. And it appears to be quick, simple and clean. Great!


Timber preservatives in perspective 

Over the last decade timber preservatives applied in domestic premises have come under increasing attack for reportedly causing all kinds of ills. Occasionally, horror stories published in the tabloid press report on those who have allegedly become seriously ill following, for example, a simple spray treatment of their property (or even their neighbours property) for woodworm. When investigated fully and objectively, usually by the Health & Safety Executive, the basis for the case is almost always unfounded.


The Action of Surface Applied Preservatives against Common Furniture beetle

Common furniture beetle and damage:

Common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum) feeds on the sapwood of softwoods and European hardwoods; wood also provides a significant protected environment in which the beetle develops.


Woodwoorm - 'Post Treatment Emergence' or failed treatment?

wworm'Post treatment emergence' - does it exist or is it unknowingly a polite woodwormexcuse for a failed treatment?

First of all, what is meant by 'post treatment emergence'? By definition it is the cutting of exit holes and emergence of wood boring insects through a surface applied spray of a timber preservative having insecticidal properties. It is argued that this is expected following treatment but the surface spray will kill any eggs subsequently laid on the surface and any larvae hatching from those eggs that attempt to penetrate the outer treated surface of the wood. Thus over a period of time 'post treatment emergence' will decline and cease due to the absence of re-infestation: in the case of common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum) this could take up to five years before the population is eradicated.


Micro-spraying preservatives - myth or magic


The paper on this website 'Micro-spraying Preservatives - myth or magic', and also published elsewhere, relating to mists and fogs for use in eradicating wood boring insect infestations has drawn responses by the suppliers of such methods, and also materials. So perhaps it would now be suitable to provide a reply.


BBC's 'raising the roof'

Once again the BBC have produced one of their low budget, spy-on-the wall progarmmes, this time about the timber preservative industry, ie, those who actually treat timber.

Some of you may remember the last programme produced about a year ago (January 1999) where they 'investigated' the damp-proofing trade -- however, what they didn't show on that was the results of analytical work which conclusively showed there was active rising dampness in the building!! In fact the 3 consultants they used all gave different diagnoses, one reporting a flood, one reporting bridging of the dpc and the final one who produced the analytical work showing rising dampness saying nothing!


Know your Wood Rotting Fungi

(More will be added in time - incuding insects)

The following page (and also one concering insects) are based around my 'book-on-a-disk' (CD ROM), 'Concise Guide to the Identification of Insect attack and Fungal decay of Timbers'. You can download a couple of pages for perusal by clicking HERE with your RIGHT mouse button and following the instructions. Pages can be printed out on any colour printer. If you like what you see then you can purchase the disk.(Click HERE for further details).


Is Powder Post Beetle making a comeback?

Have you just had a new oak floor, or new oak furniture arrive and holes start appearing? Then so have a number of other people in the last few years. So read on.

Dry rot Guarantees - any practical value?

If you have a chemical damp-proof course installed and it proves not to be effective then it will be rectified under the terms of the guarantee.

If woodworm emerge following treatment then it will also be rectified under the terms of the guarantee.

So if dry rot returns after chemical treatment it will also be attended to under the guarantee. Right? Wrong - or it appears to be so.

Why use a Specialist Consultant?

There are many cases where a definitive diagnosis is required for dampness, rot or insect attack of timbers. Frequently, this will form part of legal proceedings were a dispute has developed.

Whatever the case the problem and its causes will need to be accurately-and most importantly - objectively assessed. This will involve the use of those with the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and expertise to undertake such an investigation, and objectively. It is therefore important to ascertain what experience and expertise the specialist has before employing their services.


Dry rot and its control

The dry rot fungus, Serpula lacrymans, is often regarded as the ‘cancer’ of a building. Many myths have built up concerning what this fungal decay is capable of doing, occasionally leading to the belief that the fungus is indestructible and that the whole of the building will have to be pulled down.

However, dry rot is vulnerable to certain environmental effects, and like all wood destroying fungi it has essential needs, and it is those needs that limit the extent of spread and damage that this organism can inflict. Unfortunately dry rot is a very secretive organism, favouring dark, damp stagnant conditions to develop. This is frequently why it is able to spread extensively before the damage is first noticed.


Boron Based Preservatives

Boron based preservatives are mostly supplied in 2 forms:


The BBC's 'Raising the Roof' - the truth about woodworm

The BBC's reporter, one Mr Kenyon, is about to present 'Raising the roof', an investigative series of programmes, one of which is dedicated to woodworm.

Some press releases have been already been made, together with letters informing companies who undertook secretly filmed surveys - the basis of the programme - telling them why they were wrong in their assessment.

Raising the Roof - The myth of woodworm?

The programme 'Raising the Roof' (BBC2 Thursday, 10th February) was, or appeared to be based around a 'fact' that woodworm was rare in buildings. Indeed, Paul Kenyon is quoted as saying, "Woodworm really only exists in timber in the forest. It's very rare in houses", notwithstanding the fact they found plenty of damage during the programme. David Pinniger, an entomologist, also appearing on the programme, clearly stated, "It is very rare in domestic housing now - because of the introduction of central heating means the conditions in ordinary houses are not suitable for woodworm."


'The Concise Guide to the Identification of Insect Attack and Fungal Decay of Timber'

by G.R.Coleman. B.Sc(Hons).,C.Biol.,M.I.Biol.,A.I.W.Sc.

A new book, especially written for those with an interest in the identification of wood and boring insects and wood rot damage.Example pages


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