Dry rot question...

I’m brand new to world of HI’s and I was watching a Flip this house show last night and this poor kid bought a house without a inspection “first mistake among many” and the house had major dry rot damage. If he did hire a inspector would it be possible for a inspector to catch such a problem? According to the host who is a vetern flipper she states a inspector would of caught the dry rot problem and the plumbing problem as well. What’s your two cents on this?


First, there is no such thing as “dry rot”. All rot needs moisture (it"s a fungus). Without pictures to see what was found it would be impossible to guess if it would have been seen. There can always be unseen damage.

**Here’s a thread and excerpt definition from the California State Structural Pest Control Board:


FUNGUS/DRY ROT **Moisture-induced infection
in wood which causes rot and reduces the
strength of the wood.

Evidently in the area where the show was filmed, it is required to replace the old plumbing pipes when major work is done.

A good inspector in that area would have made his client aware of the type of original plumbing pipes and the investor should know the requirements for remodeling houses in his area.

[size=2]Mr. Helm,[/size]

Please don’t take this wrong I just want to make sure I learn right and we are all on the same page. According to what I posted below dry rot does exist in homes and they even called it Dry rot during the show. The Dry rot problem became very expensive for the young man trying to flip the house plus the city inspector wouldn’t pass the construction inspection until the dry rot and the plumbing was fixed.

Dry rot

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Dry rot is a disease of trees, often caused by the fungal species Merulius lacrymans, Poria incrassata, and/or Serpula lacrymans. The fungus invades and deteriorates the cellulose in the woody parts of the tree.
It is probably better known as an architectural](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Architecture) problem, as it can continue destroying wood after a tree has been processed into **lumber](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumber), causing instability and collapse in houses, ships’ hulls, and other wooden structures.**
It is known as ‘dry rot’ due to its abililty to affect wood with a very low moisture content (typically 20-30%). It forms large orange/brown fruiting body at the point of moisture and will send out white tendrils into adjoining brick work as it seeks more wood to infest.
Dry rot can also refer to anything that “rots” without the presence of moisture, such as when rubber tires crack and begin to disintegrate. In addition, the term can be used as a metaphor for grave underlying problems within a large organization (such as political corruption in government or low morale in the armed forces) that show no symptoms until a sudden, catastrophic failure.

As for the dry rot being seen the lumber was hidden behind sheet rock inside the house so no you could not see it. I was just wondering if there was a way to decect it at all maybe with a special sensor tool. I do believe if the kid would of hired a inspector the inspector might of caught it in the crawl space. Any thoughts?

An inspector should have been able to detect it by probing any suspect areas. I’m unaware of any device that would detect hidden “dryrot”. Well maybe a crystal ball.:wink:


Yes sir Mr. Duffy that pretty much covers the topic. :slight_smile:

Mr. Larson,

That’s what I thought. Just wanted to make sure though. So my question is since the dry rot was hidden could a inspector be held liable for not detecting it? Is an inspector required to probe walls for dry rot? From what I saw on the show there was no evidence on the sheetrock. They only found it once they stripped the bathroom to do the remodel.


I don’t know about other inspectors but I loaned my x-ray glasses to my grand daughter and haven’t been able to see through walls since…so if there’s nothing visible, what is there to probe?

:slight_smile: as usuall you always seem to come up with some good back up for the related subject. Good information for the subject.

Marcel :slight_smile:

I would put it to you that a moisture content of 20 to 30 percent is WET when it comes to house construction. Generally, a stable moisture content in a home is (equilibrium) 7 to 12 percent. Fungal rot happens at a moisture content of above 20% at a temperature of approximately 60 to 90 degrees fahrenheit. Many WDO insects, Anobiidae for example infest wood at 13 to18 percent. Wikipedia is not always a good source for accurate information as input comes from anybody.

Generally, rot that occurs in the home is not that which started in the tree (commonly known as brown pocket rot). The fungal rot that occurs in homes is most commonly caused by local conditions (moisture infiltration) and can be avoided by good building practices (moisture control, proper ventilation, etc.).

Great read now in my favories thanks Dale…Roy Cooke

This is also a good read,and web site of Forintek Canada corp. has more info.The article I wanted to post was to large for message board.

Re: question of dry rot behind wall board. That would be a latent defect if it was not visible or no other compelling clues.