One of the misconceptions concerning timber began in 1815 with Ralph Dodd when he published a book he titled Practical Observations on Dry Rot in Timber in order to advertise and peddle a product he concocted called Dry Rot Preventative.
Dodds took great pains emphasizing how extremely difficult it was to get rid of dry rot and made exaggerated statements to the effect that dry rot was almost impossible to stop and that you might as well “spread flames on a wall of pitch than to stop it once this destructive Dry Rot takes place”.
For dry rot to occur, there have to be the right atmospheric conditions which are moisture. So, there is no such thing as literal “dry rot.”
It was common practice in that day to cover floor timbers of dark, dank ships with oiled floor cloth, creating an atmosphere more conducive to dry rot spores. In this one example, Dodd’s inticing hysteria to promote his sales did have partial merit. Unfortunately, the hysteria of this kind and misinformation has continued to stay with us.
Dry rot is wood caused by a specific species of fungi that requires “water traps” or moist conditions. Maintaining adequate ventilation and responsible building practices with today’s building codes, Dodd’s supposition about dry rot is not relevant.