Wet rot and weevils down by the wharf

Thinkstock91892488-oxford-canal-lower-heyfordSet in the peaceful Cherwell Valley, picturesque Heyford Wharf, sits on the Oxford Canal in Lower Heyford. The canal (built between 1769 – 1790) became a highway for goods travelling between Oxford and Coventry. This wharf (originally built to handle coal from the Midlands) continues to be a proper working boatyard to this day.

Lower Heyford itself remains a peaceful village, and nestled in the heart of Lower Heyford, stands Ivy Cottage (now House) a beautiful and substantial three storey stone home. The property was originally used to house the GWR railway inspector and his family in the 1880’s.

Recently the current owner Mr Davie, discovered some evidence that there might be timber decay in the cellar area. The wooden ground floor timbers had started to decay and a ‘musty’ damp smell was beginning to emanate from the cellar.


The property was surveyed by Rentokil Surveyor Bob Boulton CSRT CSSW who found that the floor and structural timbers had been badly decayed by wet rot, due to prolonged contact with damp masonry. This had also led to the timbers being attacked by woodboring weevils, whose larvae thrive in timber that has been softened through dampness. The larvae will consume the soft sections of the timber before moving on to the harder wood. The adult woodboring weevils and larvae produce numerous tunnels in the timber. These run in the direction of the wood grain and are called ‘striations’.

On further investigation it was confirmed that the problem had been caused due to the outside ground levels being above the internal floor level, which was compounded by a distinct lack of ventilation within the cellar.

Ivy-house-wet-rot-after-treatmentRentokil Property Care’s effective solution to treat wet rot, was to remove the floor and supporting timbers, isolate the remaining timbers from the damp masonry and replace the decayed timber lintels with new concrete lintels. A new wood floor was constructed using pre-treated timber. To offer protection against further rot problems to the remaining old timbers, a water based paste was carefully applied by brush to all accessible timber surfaces.

Rentokil’s treatment offered a long term 30 year guarantee giving Mr Davie the peace of mind that treated areas of his property were protected for some time to come.

If you’ve noticed a ‘musty’ damp smell or distortion, discoloration, softness or cracking in wood timbers in your property check our causes of rot information for more advice.

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