Recurrent dry rot outbreak, Grade II Listed, Victorian private residence, Royal Leamington Spa
Investigating a reoccurrence of a dry rot outbreak, identifying the causation which was previously misdiagnosed, providing recommendations to minimise the risk of further damage, and instructions to monitor the repairs.
Five years ago we had an outbreak of dry rot in the cellar beneath the dining room in our Victorian home. This was ‘fixed’ at great expense, mainly due to complete replacement of half the flooring timbers and a lot of plasterwork, plus chemical spraying to the cellar walls and all areas affected, by a specialist subcontractor. The rot recently returned – in the same place and with renewed vigour – and we discovered that the ’20 Year Guarantee’ given by the chemical treatment company was not what we thought it be in terms of re-work and compensation (nil), due to careful drafting. Research on the internet revealed that disputes over such guarantees is not uncommon, i.e. where companies offer chemical treatment of dry rot (and clients taking this to mean ‘eradicate’, unsurprisingly!), and giving guarantees they know could be problematic in terms of what clients believe them to be. Our research also revealed to us the complexity, resilience and alarming tenacity of dry rot and how extremely difficult it is to eradicate it since the various conditions for its appearance, growth and reproduction are many, and chemical treatment alone is totally ineffective unless these other conditions are thoroughly addressed.
We felt bereft of unbiased, comprehensive advice. Our builders are excellent but we now know this to be a highly specialised and complex problem needing corresponding levels of expertise. The chemical treatment company were uninterested in offering any detailed help or advice, merely offering to re-spray the affected areas, which again, can only be a single component of any planned eradication.
So we decided to appoint Lee Harper to carry out a full examination of the areas. The service they provided was excellent both in terms of the comprehensive analysis carried out and the resulting recommendations which focused on changing the environment in the area concerned in terms of dampness, air circulation, etc. in order to render it hostile to the life cycle of the dry rot organism. We believe we are now on the way to seeing the problem finally resolved. Lee Harper’s knowledge, service and support is excellent and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him.
John, Leamington Spa