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Wood Decay

Why does Austrapest report on Fungal Decay or Wood Decay in our comprehensive visual pest reports?
Fungal decay can do considerable damage to timbers in a building structure and is therefore important to report on, especially in Pre-Purchase pest inspection reports (refer to Code of practice for pre-purchase pest inspection and Australian Standard 4349.3- 2010).
Many problems in the area of pest control are moisture related. Wood decay, termites and borers thrive on high levels of moisture in their environment.
Dampness can be caused by plumbing leaks or poor ventilation.
Fungal decay happens when the spores of fungus can germinate on wood surfaces where moisture level is high.
*Brown rot fungi will leave wood darker in colour and cracked across the grain, producing large cubes of wood.
*White rot fungi leaves exposed surfaces looking fibrous. Hardwood is more susceptible to white rot fungi than softwood.
*Soft rot is a mixture of fungi and bacteria that live in the soil.
Some timbers are more durable in service (i.e. used as building timbers). When timbers are treated and in contact with the ground, they are still susceptible to white rot fungi. Decay of timbers in service will often be most pronounced when in contact with the ground (e.g. poles and fence posts). No untreated timbers can be regarded as completely immune to fungal decay.
Mould fungi are the cause of allergens in humans but their activity on timbers is only superficial and they do not decay wood – the significance of mould fungi is that it indicates a moisture problem.
Dry rot fungus is an incorrect term. It can be found in Melbourne but unlikely in Sydney (lower temperatures).
Prevention of Fungal decay:
Timber in service will not decay if moisture levels are kept below 20%. In order to encourage this Austrapest recommends the installation of fans and vents in areas such as the subfloor. For more information see our page on subfloor ventilation.

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