Types Of Flooring Rot And The Danger Of Rotten Floorboards

Nigel Allen
Aug 20, 2021
Types Of Flooring Rot And The Danger Of Rotten Floorboards

One of the common problems tenants face is flooring rot, usually caused by the poor construction of plumbing, gutters and roofing. 

Since in rental buildings these are the responsibility of the landlord, rotting floors and the problems caused, automatically become the landlord's problem. 

At Tenant Rescue, we help you identify flooring rot and the dangers of rotten floorboards. We believe this helps you to understand why the landlord is obligated to provide better living conditions and how they could be liable for any personal injury if you're hurt by accidents caused by rotten floorboards. 

Rotten wood floor problems are considered housing disrepair for which you can claim.

Types Of Flooring Rot

Wood floors are mainly affected by two types of decay. These are;

Wet rot

Common flooring rot is caused by fungi that thrive if there's moisture in wood, especially unprotected wood components. 

By feeding on nutrients from timber and moisture the fungi eat away wood causing flooring rot. Wet rot produces spores and can spread to other wet, wooden surfaces.

Wet rot is further categorised to:

      White rot - which looks white and feels spongy when touched

      Brown rot - which is darker than white, giving the wood floor a brown appearance

To understand more why your landlord is responsible for treating or replacing rotten floorboards, here are causes of wet rot:

• Plumbing leaks

• Penetrating damp through walls

• Leaking or blocked gutters dripping water on the floor

• Roof defects

• Condensation

Dry rot

This other type of flooring rot is considered more severe than wet rot. 

The fungus responsible for dry rot can generate moisture through the digestion of timber, if the conditions allow it. In fact, dry rot spores exist in the atmosphere but only germinate when they find conditions with a moisture content of around 20% freely accessible.

The moisture in timber for floorboards doesn't allow dry rot to develop, which is why it is determined that for it to occur,  there must be some sort of building fault. Some causes of dry rot include:

• Leaking gutters and downpipes

• Penetrating damp through walls

• Poor ventilation

• Rising damp

You can identify dry rot through the following symptoms;

• Fine and fluffy white mycelium across wood, that may turn into brittle strands gradually

• Soft, fleshy mushroom-like fruiting body that looks like a pancake, orange in colour with a rusty appearance in the centre and has pores

• Musty and damp, mushroom-like or Earthy smell.

Dry rot decay leads to:

• Splitting and cracking of the timber floor into small cubes

• Shrinking of the timber

• Dry, brittle and crumbly timber

Danger Of Rotten Floorboards


A wood floor damaged by wet or dry rot can give way, or 'see-saw', making a tenant's foot or other occupants go through. At times, there is a chance an individual might fall through the floor to a room downstairs. This can cause a number of injuries including:

• Tendon, ligament, and muscle damage to the foot

• Cuts on ankles, thighs, legs, or back

• Broken bones

Extreme cases of floors may collapse causing injury to occupants or damage to property.

All these are types of accidents cause personal injury, which you may be entitled to claim compensation for.

There is action you could take before rotting floorboards cause accidents. Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), the local council's environmental health department enforces health and safety standards for rented homes.

If you're concerned about the safety of floorboards, especially when you identify decay, you can request an inspection from the local council. Should the local council fail to take action and you end up injured, you can still make a personal injury claim.

Tenant Rescue helps you make a disrepair claim. It should be clear to you now that rotting floorboards is housing disrepair that demands attention from the landlord. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that the landlord is obligated to provide safe and conducive housing to the tenant.

We have solicitors who can guide you from the start to help you understand flooring rots and the dangers of rotting floorboards. Our experts will help you understand how and why your landlord should compensate you. We will assist you in gathering the evidence that shows negligence by the landlord and why it led to personal injury.

Feel free to contact us if you're concerned about rotting floorboards in your rented apartment or house. We'd be delighted to take you through all the processes in simple understandable language and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Please take a look at the testimonials on our webpage. You too could be a satisfied tenant saved from rotten floorboards negligence.