4 Potential Health and Safety Hazards Associated with Dry Rot
Dry rot can cause significant damage to your home or commercial building. The fungi that attack wood and cellulose can destabilize walls, joists, and other structural components. However, beyond the dangers of collapse and financial loss, it poses a health hazard to building inhabitants.
While spores themselves may not be harmful, they are signs of and contribute to conditions that can impact physical health. Therefore, it is important to make sure to enlist the help of a dry rot company to correct the source of the problem, remove the affected wood, and make sure it does not happen again.
Read on for four potential health hazards associated with dry rot.
1. Respiratory Issues
While the rotten wood itself will not cause respiratory problems, it is an indication that there is too much moisture in the air. It also indicates the possible growth of harmful fungi, such as black mold, in addition to the dry rot fungi.
In the damp conditions that lead to wood rot, mold spreads rapidly, releasing spores into the air. These spores, when inhaled, can lead to coughing, lung inflammation, and other breathing difficulties. Some people are allergic to mold, and others have underlying respiratory conditions that can become aggravated in these conditions. People with respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, COPD, and any others should be especially conscious of levels of dampness that can lead to wood rot and mold.
2. Allergic Reaction
While it is uncommon, some people may be hypersensitive or allergic to the fungi that causes dry rot. It does not produce toxic chemicals or compounds, but it can cause irritation and other symptoms.
Since the presence of rot can indicate the presence of other type of fungi and mold, it can easily be a sign of an unhealthy environment. The most common dry rot fungi is Serpula lacrymans. Research on these fungi suggests that “exposure to fungal spores or hyphal fragments has been associated with several types of human or animal health effects including chronic respiratory infections, dry cough, skin and eye irritation, asthmatic symptoms, allergy and various non–specific symptoms (i.e., fever, headache).
3. Structural Weakness
A building that is not structurally sound is not safe for inhabitants. The most pressing safety risk associated with dry rot is structural degradation. Wood that is properly maintained is durable and strong. However, when it begins to rot due to the presence of too much moisture, it can easily become weak, crack, and warp. Over time, if moisture and rot are not removed, it can cause the structure to collapse.
This clip shows the way spores enter wood and spread:
Critical building components, such as walls, joists, roofs, and flooring, can become damaged by rot. If you can penetrate the wood or it flakes easily when you touch it with a screwdriver, there is most likely rot present. More importantly, dry rot often occurs in areas that are not easily visible or accessible. It is important that you can recognize the signs, such as damp odor or standing water. Dry rot is a serious hazard for the people inside the building that must be addressed to maintain a safe environment.
4. Gaps and Open Spaces
Wood rot often causes gaps and cracks to form in the affected areas. Since the rot travels quickly, large sections of the building can rapidly become exposed to external hazards. Pests, rodents, insects, and other environmental issues can occur which make a building unfit for occupancy.
Many pests carry harmful diseases like HPS, Leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and more than 30 others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These diseases can spread to humans, so it is critical that your building is structured to keep pests out. Rot can easily cause cracks to form, so if you have noticed the signs, contact a dry rot service immediately.
If you have noticed any of the common signs of dry rot in your home or commercial property, it is important to act fast. Dry rot can spread quickly and affect multiple components of a building, rendering it unsafe. A room or section of a building that is damp enough to breed rot likely also contains mold and other toxins that can cause respiratory and other health issues.
Reach out to a local dry rot removal company as soon as possible. A professional can help identify the cause of the issue and prevent it from happening again.
If you are in need of dry rot removal in Marin County, California, contact Victor Construction and Engineering today. We offer comprehensive dry rot repair and removal services that find the source of the problem and fix it for the long term. Our technicians ensure all affected wood is taken out and replaced and strong, reliable wood is installed in its place. Our goal is to take all of the necessary steps to ensure the dry rot does not occur again.