What To Do About Termite Damage

In many cases, by the time you notice signs of a termite infestation, your home has already been damaged and will need to be repaired. Termites damage and destroy the strength of the wood and weaken it. The more severe the damages are to your home, the greater the likelihood that the support structures will fail, even after termite control services come in to remediate the termites.

As the weight of the home presses down on damaged wood, it will place added stress and eventually result in the failure of the support. Initially, the problem could present itself as bowing sidewalls, a sagging ceiling, or even a sagging roof.

Furthermore, before you can start making repairs you will need to address the infestation problem and get rid of the termites. If you simply make repairs but fail to address the infestation problem with the proper termite treatment, the termites will continue to cause future damage.

What Signs of Termite Activity Should You Be on the Lookout for?

Unfortunately for homeowners, termites do not confine their activity to a single spot. They can cover an entire house and cause considerable damage if not detected in time. That’s why it is so important to be aware of signs of termite activity. Here are some to look out for:

  • Peeling paint that looks like water damage though no water is present
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped and did not sound this way previously
  • Drooping or discolored drywall
  • Laminate or wooden floorboards that unexplainably start to buckle
  • Tiny, pinpoint holes in the walls
  • Loose tiles due to added moisture that termites bring to your floor
  • Wood that starts to crumble or looks damaged
  • Doors or windows that get stuck
  • Floorboards that turn excessively squeaky for no apparent reason
  • Mounds of drywood termite pellets that look like small piles of salt or pepper
  • Miniscule wings that may resemble fish scales
  • Flying termite swarms

Because of their ability to go through flooring and even wallpaper unnoticed, termites are known as quiet destroyers. Subterranean termites are by far the most dangerous termite species because they will eat 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Millions of termite workers can be found in termite colonies.

Termite damage can be repaired either by replacing the damaged wood with new wood or by strengthening the damaged wood with extra support. The level of termite damage to the wood determines the method of repair. More severe damage will very definitely necessitate tear out and replacement.

Extensive termite damage can take anywhere from 1 to 5 years to appear, depending on the size of the colony.

In ideal conditions, a swarm of around 2 million termites might inflict major damage in the first several months. A house can be completely demolished in a year or two.

Most standard homeowner’s policies do not cover termite damage because they typically cover damages that are accidental or sudden. The fact that regular inspections should reveal termite activity is enough to place liability on homeowners rather than insurance companies.

Preparing for Termite Damage Repairs

Identify and Kill the Termites

The first thing you need to do is contact a termite exterminator with experience in infestations. In order to kill termites, the right treatment has to be applied based on the species of termites.

Two of the most common species are subterranean and drywood termites. Subterranean termites live underground and will build mud tubes in different areas of the home to access the wood and avoid exposure to the outdoors. On the other hand, drywood termites will establish their colonies directly in the home because they can survive above ground.

Treating the subterranean termites involves treating the ground underneath and around the home. Your exterminator can recommend different types of treatments to eradicate these unwanted guests from your home.

With drywood termites, normally treating the infestation in the home will resolve the problems, although experienced exterminators know they also need to determine the source that led to the termites moving into your home. Often people will have stacks of firewood or other dry dead wood next to or near the home which is typically the first point of infestation.

How to Repair Termite Damage

There are two main ways to repair termite damage to wood:

  • Replace damaged sections of wood entirely or
  • Add a wood support adjacent to damaged wood

In most cases, the repair will be simpler and less expensive if you add a wood support to damaged wood. This type of repair works for many structural and non-structural repairs.

Repairs that involve replacing structural supports are the most complicated. It is crucial that adequate temporary support be provided to maintain the home’s integrity during repairs.

Contacting several local contractors is a good idea before repairing termite damage. Using a contractor that has extensive experience in termite damage repair is a must. Your average general contractor, who might be great for putting on an addition or remodeling a bathroom, may not be familiar with the steps necessary for termite damage repairs.

Can You DIY Termite Wood Damage

Termite infestations usually leave a lot of extensive damage that can be difficult to fix without professional help. Areas like a crawl space often suffer extensive structural damage especially if it also has issues like dry rot or water damage. If you want to get the most out of your termite repair services, it’s best to hire professionals skilled in repairing termite damage.

When Should You Fix Termite Damage?

Repairs should not begin until a professional pest specialist determines that termites are no longer present and that the risk of a new infestation has been eradicated. The termite inspector will be able to provide services for active infestations as well as prevention measures.

Where to Find Termite Activity

Knowing where to look for termite activity is also critical to identifying early signs of damage that may be in need of repairs. Termite damage can be pervasive throughout a home and can be found just about anywhere there is wood for them to feed on. Be sure to check:

  • Foundations: The foundation is generally one of the first access points that subterranean termites will use to get to the wooden structure of your home.
  • Patios & Fences: Termite swarms will often find a food source outside that connects to your home.
  • Garages & Workshops: If there is building going on, then there is lumber that is usually laying around which can draw in termites if the lumber is untreated
  • Hardwood Flooring: Once subterranean termites access your home, they will feed on the floor first before moving upwards
  • Trees: Swarms will sometimes make their home in trees that have branches that touch your home.
  • Piles of Firewood: Swarms can colonize piles of firewood, so it is recommended that it be stored away from the home.
  • Attics Crawl Spaces: Termite swarms can find open access to attic space where they will find plenty of food in the wooden rafters that support your roof.

Protect Your Home From Re-Infestation

Some people mistakenly assume that once the termites causing the infestation have been killed and their home is repaired, that they do not have to worry about future infestations. Sadly, this is one myth that may result in reinfestation.

The only way to protect against another infestation is with diligence. Even though your termite technician got rid of the infestation and treated around and under your home, that does not mean termites will not be attracted to your home again. It is essential to develop an ongoing treatment and prevention program with your exterminator company.

Aside from having your home treated on a regular basis for termites, you will want to implement other preventative measures to avoid attracting termites close to your home. Consider these.

  • Never store or stack firewood against or near the home. The pile should be a few hundred feet or more away.
  • Never stack firewood directly onto the ground. Instead you want to build an elevated structure, like one that is made from cement blocks or bricks, and stack the firewood on top of this.
  • Have all exterior wooden structures and exposed wood coated in a sealant. You should have your gazebo, storage structures, detached garage, etc. painted or sealed in some form, if they are not they could become infested.
  • Make Sure wooden fences are property protected and consider termite treatments. Most lumber used to build fences is treated wood. However, over time, it can lose effectiveness and get infested with termites unless it is re-treated.
  • Promptly remove any dead trees and shrubbery from the property. When a tree or shrub dies, the wood dries out and will attract termites. After all, a termite’s primary function in nature is to break down dead wood.
  • Never use mulch near the home. Sure, wood mulch can look great in flower beds and under shrubs around the house. However, the wood does dry out and it will attract termites. Best to use mulch on more outlying parts of your property.

Our Home Repair Experts Can Fix Termite Damage to Your Home!

Termites are a homeowner’s worst nightmare. They eat wood and will eat away at your home’s foundation over time. Termites often target your wall studs and the rafters in your roof. If you recently discovered that termites have invaded your home, you need to know what you can do to repair the damage. At Roberts Construction Company our repair specialists have decades of experience in repairing termite damage on Hilton Head Island and in the surrounding area.

Call us today and gain the peace of mind that your termite damage will be repaired quickly, effectively, and with the utmost care.

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