Imagine a fungus that could eat your home from the inside out and weaken the walls to the point of them needing to be rebuilt. From a structural aspect this type of fungi is more devastating for the building that black mold. A couple of homeowners had some unwanted house guests showing up as white pancakes and mushrooms in the corner and floorboards. Mr.& Mrs. Moore from Los Angeles are experiencing this first hand as this invasive mold slowly weakens the structure of their home.
The Moores face a huge repair bill, some estimates indicate $300-700,000. The fungi has literally eaten away at their home. The Huffington Post reports “The Moore’s insurance company, Safeco, offered to pay $18,000 even though the family’s policy is worth hundreds of thousands, the couple said. Walter Moore, a lawyer, is still battling Safeco after a court threw out the Moore’s lawsuit against the insurer. He filed an appeal. “[The home] is our life savings and half of it is now worthless,” he told CBS. “The other half is dubious.”
It sounds like science fiction but, Poria has been known to extend its reach to extract water from other sources and invade homes. Poria slowly decays the ligen bonds in the wood. ” Its as if the structural members (lumber) within your home begin to turn to mush”, stated Robert Santanastasio, Certified Mold Specialist who has seen damage created by water damage and this type of ravaging organism-fungi in homes.
The organism does require a fungi mold specialist to properly diagnose and eradicate completely. A local Los Angeles inspection firm operated by De La Cruz specializes in this type of inspection and assessments. “Poria is a monster that no one wants to hear about,” De La Cruz said. “We can look at a house during an inspection and everything’s
fine. Six months later, it has wreaked havoc. It’s scary.” http://www.poriafacts.com
“It’s… the most devastating wood-decaying fungus of houses that we know of,” UC Riverside plant pathology professor John Menge told the Times
Poria Incrassata Rot: Prevention and Control in Buildings
Poria Incrassata is one of the basidiomycetous fungus’ that is extremely harmful to houses and other buildings. Most homeowners tend to overlook this type of mold while cleaning their homes. Sometime they may wipe it away or remove it because they don’t know what it is. Eventually it eats the baseboards, walls, wooden components, paneling, and ultimately the wood framing within the house.
What is Poria Incrassata?
Poria Incrassata is unknown to many people. The formal name of this fungus is Meruliporia Incrassata. This type of wood destroying fungus can cause wood to rot. From a cellular level, the wood has a basic cellulose structure, which keeps it firm and secure and allows us to build structures. What Poria does to the wood is, it actually digests that cellular components and makes the wood look dark and brown. As this happens the wood becomes weaker and weaker. It can still be strong while having the initial attack of Poria Incrassata; however, when it becomes too late, you might miss the chance of saving your home.
Many people know Poria in another name called “water-conducting fungus.” As the wood gets attacked by Poria, there will be a development of structures called rhizomorphs. These are similar to the roots on a plant or tree and bring water from external sources.
There are some unique characteristics of Poria Incrassata that may not be the same as the typical wood destroying fungi. The main reasons that it is so destructive is because it has the ability to bring in the water to areas where it is eating your home. “Building materials moisture levels taken during a home inspection have reach 80-99.0% in wood framing, wood floors, and other materials” Robert S. Fun Guy Inspections.
Where Can You Find Poria Incrassata Mold in Your Home?
Basements and crawl spaces are the first and foremost places you should look out for Poria Incrassata. The close relationship with the soil or with moist bricks and concrete is the main reason poria may surface or appear. At first you may notice a whitish and yellow tinge on the surface of flooring or walls. This tinge can also be seen between the sub and finish floors and other isolated areas below the home such as joists and subfloors. The presence of water allows the mycelium to grow in distances up to 10 meters. It will begin to grow on sheathing, flooring, framing, paneling, and other materials to get destroyed.
The underneath of the flooring can be hiding poria rhizomorphs below the surface and branch to various areas of the room. According to professional mold removal services, the consequences of rhizomorphs may spread to canvas, carpets, cellulosic electrical conduits, oilcloth, linoleum, and insulation.
There are a few types of trees that can get attacked by Poria Incrassata such as Eastern White Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Virginia Pine, Southern Pine, Redwood, Austrian Pine, Western Red Cedar, White Fir, Douglas Fir, Cypress, Oak, Juniper, Red Gum, Maple, and Magnolia.
What Causes Poria Incrassata?
Buildings that are situated in coastal areas of North America, especially in the Southeastern United States, are the major victims of Poria Incrassata. Although that doesn’t mean that your home or the neighbors home is safe from this fungi. The optimal temperature that it needs for the exposure of Poria is from 24 to 30 °C. Poria can also develope rapidly in places where the humidity level tends to be high. Therefore, if the surfaces of your home tends to be moisture droplets and the humidity level is high, you should get consider changing the environment actively.
Poor construction methods are another major reason that your house may get infected by these fungi. Landscapers and gardners can overlook the grade and drainage of your yard causing dirt to build up against the structure and cause soil to come in contact with the wood of your home, stucco or the wood siding. In such occurrences, the conditions are optimal for Poria to grow on the wood in your home.
It is vital to ventilate the crawl spaces of your house adequately. When the crawl spaces have poor earth to wood clearance and not ventilated properly, it will cause Poria Incrassata. Make sure that you have no cracks in the perimeter foundation of your house because it leads the rhizomorphs to get to the wood. As a result, it leaves the chances for the Poria Incrassata to invade into your house. Also, you need to have an eye on the land around your house. Make sure that it is properly graded. Poria Incrassata loves the houses that remain saturated with water after raining.
Some homeowners complain about Poria Incrassata, but they are not much of a fan of clearing the wooden structures of their house. If you are one of them, you have to maintain the clearance between landscaping and wooden structures so that your house does not get exposed to soil contaminated with Poria.
Currently, there has been no valid information that could reveal the health effects, allergenicity, or toxicity about Poria Incrassata. However, it is never good to have Poria in your home as it is a water-conducting fungus. It makes the structure damp, which can lead to other molds such as Alternaria, Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Stachybotrys and many others that are dangerous to your health.
Generally, molds can be harmful to human health. Having mold exposure at home may cause various health issues such as skin rashes, sore throat, runny nose, and watery eyes. Be careful if you have a poor immune system because mold-related diseases can turn into a severe problem for you when you are already not doing well with yourself.
Your pets are just as susceptible as you to mold-related health issues. There are some specific health issues for the animals that live in a mold-infested home, such as breathing problems, nasal discharge and bleeding, mouth bleeding, etc. If your pet digests moldy foods, it may make him fall victim to frequent defecation, loss of appetite, vomiting, etc. They may also get attacked by gastrointestinal disease, seizures, liver damage, tremors, and pulmonary hemorrhage. If you don’t get your pet to the veterinarian on time, it may cost his or her life. So, be very careful about it.
How to Identify Poria Incrassata?
You will typically notice a little yellow bulb or mushroom (fruiting body) or more scientifically known as, rhizomorphs. These are the first and foremost thing that you will notice when Poria Incrassata infects your home. Rhizomorph is a kind of fungal plant root that comes with the smell of mushrooms when you cut it. The color of this rootlike fungi is dirty white. It may sometimes appear in yellow tinge and turn into dark and brown over time. The average thickness of rhizomorphs is one to two centimeters. However, the width can reach up to five centimeters.
You may notice fruiting bodies on the surfaces that appear brand new. Yet, understand that these are ultimately infected by Poria Incrassata. These fruiting bodies can be as thick as one centimeter, coming in a succulent and flat characteristic. When they are young, the color can be pale, olive-gray with a dirty white and pale yellow margin. When they grow up and become mature, they turn into dry and brown to black. The surface of these fungi may get covered with fine spores.
The swelling of baseboards, lifting of floors, or trouble closing doors could also indicate the infestation of Poria Incrassata in your home.
How to Get Rid of Poria Incrassata?
Following these instructions will help you to remove and stop the infestation of Poria Incrassata. Poria Incrassata is very sensitive to drying and eventually dies without moisture. But ultimately the root must be found and severed to prevent regrowth.
The first thing you should do is to determine the place where the water is coming from. Once you know the water source, you can then cut off the water supply. Generally, the water comes from a leaky pipe or moist soil around the house.
Some people may indicate that a metal brush maybe used to scrape the rhizopores and other fungal growth from the walls and surfaces, but this doesn’t always work. Deconstruction of the wall surfaces and inspection of the underlying lumber is necessary to dry out the areas that are infected, and when it comes to wood, you should replace it. One important note; eliminate any wood to soil contact.
Removing Poria infestation is not as easy as it sounds. Though it is not as dangerous as other molds or the problem is not much of a severe one, it can lead you to a significant loss. Because the infestation can even ruin the foundation and support of the house. To ensure adequate removal we would recommend the attention of a poria professional.
Professional services like FunGuy Inspection and Consulting can offer project management and building-related services to help mitigate the presence of Poria Incrassata. We can create reports detailing areas of concern and include recommendations for mold removal.
How to prevent Poria Incrassata?
According to FunGuy, preventing Poria development deals actively with the construction phase of a building. There are some practices that you can apply to avoid infestations. Those may include the
- use of dry and uninfected lumber
- controlling the soil moisture by adequate grading of building sites
- determining water leakage in the basement of the building, etc.
- Do not keep any forms and grade stakes along with wood debris and stumps under your building.
- Do not let the basement and crawl spaces stay damp.
- You should also avoid the dirt-filled porches and terraces as well.
Some other practices that you should keep in mind to avoid are:
- Building flower beds, because it touches the siding of the building
- Making the wooden walls wet while sprinkling lawns
- Keeping the plumbing leaked for years after years
- Stacking wood and materials inside the crawl spaces, etc.
The damage caused by Poria Incrassata can be severe at times. It is a fungus that homeowners overlook. As they leave this fungus unnoticed, it makes the structural integrity of the building weaker. The wood components come to an end of their life duration. Usually, people notice the existence of Poria after several years of development when it’s too late. If you leave the infestation for quite a long time, the damage will turn into a severe issue, and you will need substantial repairs afterward.
Therefore, be very cautious about not only Poria Incrassata, but also other mold-related problems as well. The earlier you find out the problem, the better. Call a professional to check out your entire building. A professional mold removal company knows the nuts and bolts better than anyone. Now, the choice is yours.