Poria Incrassata: A Powerful and Nasty Wood-Eating Fungus
A fungus with a fancy name is inviting itself into homes and wreaking all kinds of havoc. Called “poria incrassata,” or just “poria” for short, has earned itself the sinister nickname of “house-eating fungus” for its quick and rather impressive ability to cause wood to rot.
Technically, poria is a fungus that causes wood to decay. Its unusual look—many have compared it to orange cake batter—definitely causes homeowners to take notice. The problem is that poria will typically do the majority of its damage before its presence is noticed. Poria works by getting into the interior of a home’s walls through openings that may be hard to see with the naked eye.
In nature, poria hangs out in the soil, and helps to turn wood into dust, which in turn provides needed nutrients for the soil. In forests, this is a great skill for a fungus to have, and poria helps to keep old wood from just piling up. The problem is that many homes are constructed with “dead” wood that has been cut down, and if there is poria in the nearby soil, it may end up in the construction of the home, where it will get to work destroying the wood.
Unfortunately, poria seems perfectly willing to travel in the soil, so it tends to spread fairly easily. Although most news accounts of poria infestations center on Southern California, poria has been found in other parts of the country, including in one home in New Hampshire. Some experts believe that the dirt used by landscapers comes from forests that may be infested with poria, which helps the wood-eating fungus to spread to urban neighborhoods.
While other members of the “brown rot family” are capable of causing extensive damage to wood, this is different in that it can actually provide its own source of moisture. So instead of having to rely on rainwater or a homeowner inadvertently spraying a hose on it to do its dirty work, this mold is self-contained wood eating powerhouse. In fact, when this type of mold is present in a home, it’s not unheard of for an entire deck or balcony to give way.
Needless to say, people whose homes have been invaded by this pesky and destructive fungus need to take action right away. A proactive approach is also warranted; for example, making sure that a home is as poria-unfriendly as possible is a great idea, and will help prevent this mold from taking hold in the first place. In the case of an infestation, it’s vital to determine where the fungus is getting into the wood from the soil. At New England Remediation Services, we can help to locate and completely renovate and repair any areas of the home that are allowing poria to get in.
To help prevent this from becoming a problem, we can check porches, decks and other parts of the home that may have begun to form cracks over time. Once it’s been determined that poria rhizomorphs are getting into a structure, we can help to remove them, get rid of soil to wood contacts, and complete any needed renovations.